Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce.
Getting a leg-up
A group of dancers practise their craft against the backdrop of the Arabian Sea, at Bandra Reclamation on Thursday. PIC/Sameer Markande
Keep them Happy
We have all been so caught up in the fear that an inexplicable virus has spread that people suffering from other diseases that are equally, if not more, life-threatening seem to have disappeared into the shadows. But their needs are more critical than ever before, and a case in point is Happy Feet Home, a palliative day care centre in Sion that is struggling to take care of the children under its wings. These kids have conditions like AIDS and thalassemia, meaning their immunity is already compromised at this dangerous time. That's why the folks at Happy Feet Home are asking for your help, so that they can help the kids who are temporarily staying at the centre, as well as the families of those children who are at home. "It's difficult to raise finds and meet potential donors right now, so we will very soon not have any money to take care of the children's essential needs," co-founder Mansi Shah told this diarist. Log on to ketto.org to provide a lifeline.
No average Joe
This diarist had met Joe Vessaoker, one of the city's last surviving funeral musicians, at his Bandra home in 2018 when a documentary had been released on his colourful life. But a recent video posted by musician Merlin Dsouza reminded people that this pandemic is riddled with such irony that even as people are dying, funeral musicians are out of a job because of social distancing. "No one has booked him yet," Dsouza revealed.
Vessaoker, though, was his usual upbeat self. "At least the music is still there," he said, referring to how he still practises outside his home every day. We wish that we looked at the glass as half full, like he always does.
In Geeta Bhavan, we trust
Having been unable to head out for a bite for months now, Mumbaikars seem to be really missing their favourite haunts. So, when rumours of Chembur's Udupi-style joint Geeta Bhavan closing down started floating around, netizens began to share pictures and memories of the times spent at the iconic eatery, which film icon and Chemburite Raj Kapoor was known to frequent. While some revealed their favourites — kadak rava dosa with extra sambar, neer dosa and puri bhaji — others reminded us that no meal was complete without a tumbler of their filter coffee. Imagine this diarist's relief when she reached out to Rohit Shetty, its owner, who shared, "It's all a rumour. We are not open now, but we'll start the restaurant once the virus subsides." Not a bad idea to save that wish list.
Wear your Masque for this birthday
Masque, a high-end experimental restaurant, is located in the hinterland of Shakti Mills in Mahalaxmi. In pre-pandemic times, you would enter through a driveway that leads to an expansive section, with the eatery located in a corner at one end. That space will come alive on September 20, which is when Masque's fourth birthday will be celebrated. Co-founder Prateek Sadhu told this diarist that they are organising a tailgate party outside the venue. In case you aren't aware, a tailgate party is an American tradition where people take over parking lots after concerts and sports events, drinking and eating sitting in the rear portions of their cars (hence the term 'tailgate'). Sadhu told this diarist, "You can drive in and we will serve you dishes from our a la carte menu in your car itself. We will also earmark spots for each vehicle to ensure social distancing. The menu is a fun one with burgers, fries, a Coke float, Masque juices and milkshakes, and kakigori [a Japanese dessert]." Sounds like a party.
All smoke, no fire
Is vaping as harmful as smoking, or is it relatively safer? This is a question that is up for debate, but one year ago, the Centre banned e-cigarettes. That didn't sit down well with the Association of Vapers in India (AVI) that is now organising a nationwide protest on the first anniversary of the ruling today. It will cover major metropolitan cities including Mumbai. "Due to this arbitrary decision, efforts taken to reduce India's tobacco-related health burden have been wasted," AVI director Samrat Chowdhery said.
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