Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
The doggy in the window
A pet enjoys some fresh air on a ride with its parent while out on a grocery run, in Matunga on Thursday. Pic/Ashish Raje
Every drop counts
A new initiative, Rhubarb Refill, in Bandra and Khar is urging residents to fill up bottles of water and place them at their doorstep. They will be collected and distributed to migrant workers and those in need within the neighbourhood. "When we went around and asked what was it was that migrant workers and the homeless needed, they said it was drinking water," Georgia Sagolsem, co-founder, Rhubarb Refill, told this diarist. The collection and distribution drive through their social media pages began on Wednesday. "We were to open a sustainable boutique. So, we thought why not begin with doing something for the community?" she said.
A funny move
Although the past few weeks have been tough, people around the world are constantly innovating to not just entertain, but help each other navigate these times. One such initiative by comedian Samay Raina will bring together chess, comedy and charity on his YouTube channel today. The participants of Chess for Charity constitute an eclectic batch; there are comedians Biswa Kalyan Rath, Abhishek Upmanyu, Aakash Mehta and Raina and chess players Vidit Gujrathi, Tania Sachdev, Nihal Sarin, Agadmator (a channel by Croatian player Antonio RadiÄÂÂ) and grandmaster Viswanathan Anand.
The proceeds for the event will go towards Delhi group PAIGAM's relief measures for waste pickers. "Chess is a game that everyone has played at some point. Although it's widely considered boring, that's not the case. I have been playing chess on my YouTube channel with a bunch of people and they seemed to enjoy it so I thought we could do this. There's something for both chess and comedy fans. You'll see fun tie-ups between grandmasters and comedians," Raina told this diarist adding that viewers can contribute via a UPI ID that will be shared on the channel or a QR code that will pop up on their screens.
Now kids can dial a story
In view of the lockdown, not-for-profit book publishers Pratham Books have joined hands with United Way India to relaunch Missed Call Do, Kahaani Suno, a campaign that allows children to listen to audio stories in several languages over the phone. Talking about it, Himanshu Giri, CEO, Pratham Books, told this diarist, "In our ongoing efforts to spread the joy of reading to every child in India, we launched the first edition in 2017 to reach children who don't have Internet access or a smartphone. In its second edition, the campaign is even more relevant at this time when schools are closed. We hope to spread a little bit of joy and light to children everywhere."
Artistes find sanctuary in a resource centre
Popular Facebook group Arts and Culture Opportunities in India (ACRI) has created, on its website, a COVID resource centre for artistes, freelance cultural professionals and arts organisations as a means to collate information, funding and activities in the field. "When the pandemic hit, we knew that the arts and culture sectors were going to be impacted. We have no grievance cell and nothing will come from the government. There is fundraising is on and grants are coming in through individuals and organisations. We wanted to pool in resources in one place — from how you deal with mental health at this time, work from home challenges to larger issues in the sector," Rashmi Dhanwani, founder, ACRI, told this diarist, adding that they have also started a section on interviews with cultural organisations.
Strum with the best
Is this lockdown giving you new goals to achieve, like learning to play the guitar? Indian Ocean guitarist Nikhil Rao could now be your teacher. In a social media post, the artiste announced that he is inviting students for one-on-one video classes for learning the instrument. "Over the years, people have been asking if I teach and I never found the time for it. But with the lockdown, the live music industry is shut, and things could take a while before they return to normal. Revenues for musicians come mainly through live shows and this felt like the perfect opportunity to come
up with a back-up plan," Rao told this diarist. He revealed that he has received several responses and has already taken on a few students. "There are some beginners and those who have been playing the instrument for a few years, so the classes will be customised to their needs. I also prefer individual classes since Internet connectivity and lags on video calls always cause repetition and confusion. Besides, everyone has their own learning pace," he added.
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