Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce.
Sky's the limit
A stunning burst of colour at Mahim Beach as monsoon clouds paint a pretty picture against the Bandra Worli Sea Link in the backdrop. Pic/ Shadab Khan
How to COVID-proof your restaurant?
National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) has launched an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) and safety guidelines to COVID-proof restaurants in order to help them prep for service when they are given the green signal to resume service. Designed by Releski, a Bengaluru-based skill-tech company, it also offers training using short video lessons with guidelines for all departments. Topics include building procedures, issues with social distancing, reducing touch points, receiving and handling of goods and general health sanctity of employees. Pravesh Pandey, founder of Releski and director-partner of Byg Brewski Brewing Co, said, "Nearly 65 per cent of the industry is unorganised, and so, my intent is to help them get organised through training support.
The course will be available in six regional languages from expert instructors," he shared. This SOP, combined with visual training aids, is an important tool to win back customers, according to Anurag Katriar, president of NRAI. "Hygiene and safety will be key differentiators during post-pandemic restaurant operations," said Katriar. The course is available for download on the Releski App on Google Play Store and on the NRAI website.
View from the top
The lockdown has led us to do many things we've never done before — even if it's observing the mundane or pondering in silence. For Rajan Jayakar, veteran High Court solicitor and convenor of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage's (INTACH) Mumbai Chapter, that means capturing the gorgeous silhouette of Victorian Gothic buildings against the rising sun every day from his terrace that overlooks Oval Maidan.
"This is a habit that started during the lockdown on my morning walk as earlier I would walk at Marine Drive from 6 am to 7 am. I also stare at the cloud formations and come up with different interpretations — they could sometimes resemble dragons — and share them on social media. People love to see it," Jayakar told this diarist.
The vow factor
Extra-marital affairs are less of a no-no in India than they were in the past, according to a recent survey that a dating site has carried out. It was conducted among 1,000 respondents from major metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi. Interestingly, 68.2 per cent said that when they enter a relationship outside of marriage, they are looking for a long-term union than just a flashy fling.
Nearly 37 per cent are willing to forgive their partners without condition for cheating. "In India, family comes first; the connection that one has with the spouse, as well as the willingness to preserve it, is often stronger than love or intimacy. Those can be found elsewhere," Soléne Paillet, marketing director, Gleeden said.
The young and driven
An eight-year-old resident of Carmichael Road and student of Aditya Birla World Academy, Arsh Kagzi, has been raising funds for COVID-relief since March. "He has been compassionate about raising funds for daily wagers who have been facing difficulty during the pandemic. First, it was housie on WhatsApp where he encouraged his friends to buy tickets and contribute, now it is paintings that he wishes to sell," Prachi Kagzi (Arsh's mother), told this diarist.
"The proceeds from the sale will go to city-based Annam Foundation that works in the space of nutrition security for children and has been running a COVID-relief programme," Kagzi added. Log on to facebook.com/covidartfundraiser to contribute.
Quarantine gets a film fest
Today will see the opening of the Quarantine International Film Festival (QIFF 2020) that will host screenings, Q&A sessions with directors and more for the next two days. Featuring films that have been shot and produced entirely in quarantine, the festival will be screened on YouTube. "Many around us don't have a lot to do during the lockdown. Several actors and directors in the industry have been going through a difficult phase, both with work and mentally. This was a way to encourage them and make them come out and create something while they also divert their mind," Shyam Kishore, festival director, QIFF 2020, told this diarist, adding that the jury includes names like Avinash Das (of Anarkali of Aarah fame), documentary filmmaker Anwar Jamal and director Vinta Nanda, among others. Filmmaker Hansal Mehta and poet Ashok Lal are on the advisory board of the festival.
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