The sun creates an interplay of light and shadows while motorists cross a train underpass in Andheri West on Monday.
Anxiety surrounding the pandemic continues to be a huge concern and now, Lucknow-based mental health firm Manoshakti has decided to step in with their recently launched Free Crisis Counselling initiative. Here, a team of 16 counsellors offer free phone therapy sessions from 10 am to 10 pm every day. "As psychologists, we've observed the widespread panic surrounding the pandemic. Both caretakers and patients suffer from anxiety with nobody to voice their distress to. Talking to a friend or a family member isn't the same as talking to a professional. We're trained to handle high levels of peoples' distress. Since it's not a time to tell people to shell out money for therapy, we started this free-of-cost initiative," its co-founder Nivedita Dogra, who is also a counselling psychologist, told us. Call 8707828615 to avail of the service.
Jarina Bagwan (left) and Sujata Patil share an iftaar meal. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
The accompanying photo shows what the idea of a secular India is truly about. It depicts Assistant Commissioner of Police Sujata Patil sharing an iftaar meal with sub-inspector Jarina Bagwan after completing a round of patrolling in Jogeshwari East. Patil, despite being a practising Hindu, has, for the past 33 years, been maintaining a fast during the month of Ramzan after she became interested in the custom, while questioning the reasons why there are so many growing cases of Hindu-Muslim conflict. Patil told this diarist, "I started reading the Quran and studying about Islam. There is nothing that bars a Hindu person from keeping roza, and I start my day around 4 am with some hot water and a cup of tea. I find it to be really peaceful and it gives me a lot of happiness." She added, "We had completed our round in Jogeshwari with Jarina, when she said that there were 10 minutes left for iftaar. So, we went to the police chowki, grabbed a table, and had a meal with watermelon, snacks and juice."
The Company Theatre (TCT) is a group that is known for pushing the boundaries of the art form, and its new performance is characteristically edgy. It's an interactive online piece titled Parables of Sinister Misdeeds Committed in this House, which talks about various forms of oppression that take place in the world. TCT founder Atul Kumar worked with around 30 different actors, directors, photographers and other artistes to create it. The play is a conceptual piece where audience members enter a virtual museum with various rooms, where they are required to constantly interact through activities like filling up forms. "The play is in its final stages and we are now looking for a coder who can develop a code to launch it. But for that, we need financial partners who can hold our hand in the last phase," Kumar said. Get in touch with him on Facebook if you are a coder, or know one who can fix things for him.
While the Valley of Words literary festival in Dehradun can't take place on the ground as of yet, the organisers have announced the long list for the book awards that are associated with it. The event honours writers across four different categories - English fiction, English non-fiction, Hindi non-fiction and English translations of regional literature. The nominees include Karuna Ezara Parikh (in pic) for The Heart Asks Pleasure First and Nabaneeta Dev Sen for Chandrabati's Ramayan. But who will eventually win? Wait till November this year to find out.