Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
A group of young girls make the most of their time in the outdoors with a game of cricket in a gully in Fort. Pic/Ashish Raje
Let's keep the arts alive
Over the years, the Laxmi Mills-based G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture has become an integral part of the city's arts and culture circuit. This year was special; they had several shows lined up and will turn five in November. Just as things were getting a little stable, the pandemic struck. Like others, they, too, had to pause all activities, which put the brakes on revenue. This is what led the foundation to create an Arts are Resilient Today (ART) Fund.
“It's going to be a while before we get to open, and even if we do, I don't know how many people will be comfortable coming to the theatre. The fund is a way for us to get through this time, as well as for people to realise that now is the time for them to become patrons of the arts, for it is the latter that has kept us going,” said founder Anuradha Parikh. The proceeds will be used to take care of the G5A community and their new season. Log on to g5a.org to donate.
How will Mumbai's public commute?
The question that's on all our minds right now is when will the lockdown end? However, once it does, how will we travel? Will we stick to private cars? Will we be wary of public transport? These questions prompted city-based architect Pranav Naik to reach out to his colleagues and experts from other industries, including Firoza Suresh, the Bicycle Mayor of Mumbai, to come up with a dossier of mobility solutions.
“We're discussing all the possible long-term and short-term solutions. People are going to get out in their vehicles, but the point is how do you do that without creating a hindrance to others? We are also speaking to the Railways, BEST and MSRTC about their post-lockdown plan. We hope to speak to the Chief Minister and the civic chief by the end of the month,” said Naik, who is looking at the cycling and pedestrian solutions for the handbook.
An ode to the worker
A vendor sells sweets on a local
City chronicler Gopal MS, popularly known as Slogan Murugan on social media, started documenting people working in the city under a hashtag #WorkSpaceMumbai a long time ago. But in the past couple of months, when all of us have realised who are the people truly running Mumbai, he restarted the thread on Twitter. So, you'll find pictures of people working in various places — diving into the Mithi River to find riches, digging the roads for pipeline work, collecting plastic, selling sweets on the train, the list goes on.
“Our cities are places where people come to work. It's a common notion that we only work in offices. But that's not the reality. These photos are a way of documenting how and where people work. Though the pictures are old, in the current context, they've assumed a new meaning,” he told this diarist.
Get to the root of music
At a time when the possibility of the lockdown being lifted looks bleak, marketing professional Bonny Fernandes feels that one-time charity is not enough. Which is why he, along with his business partner Mustafa Parvez, started the Common Roots music festival that goes live every Saturday in May. Viewers can donate to Give India, India Foundation for the Arts and Voice of Stray Dogs for their relief work. So far, it has seen the likes of Grammy Award-winning Ricky Kej and musician Raghu Dixit, among others, perform.
“In the entertainment space, we felt everything was circled around Bollywood. We wanted to bring in diversity. The idea was to have an inclusive community approach. The musicians play from their handles, so it benefits them; it helps the non-profits; and entertains viewers,” said Fernandes. You can log on to commonroots.in to attend the festival.
Interpreting Savitri in lockdown
Jehan Manekshaw and Kirtana Kumar
Bengaluru-based Little Jasmine Theatre Project has released a series of videos titled In the Hour of God, Readings from Sri Aurobindo's Savitri. It brings together 50 actors from around the world who read and interpret the text through images they send in.
The list includes two Mumbai names, Mahesh Dattani and Jehan Manekshaw. “Savitri is known to be the longest narrative poem written in English. It's a magnificent piece of commentary on life and death,” founder Kirtana Kumar told this diarist. Manekshaw told this diarist about the experience, “It was the first time I read with my wife. I noticed how the street below my house was empty a few days later. This period could make us all lose empathy, I thought. When the video released, it helped me remember that we can still be empathetic.”
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