Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Calling all non-believers
If there is a city in India that accommodates a spectrum of worldviews, it has to be Mumbai. In times when we are beginning to question Darwin's theory and readily confuse mythology with history, the city will play host to the Atheist Conference today. A rallying point for atheists, agnostics and rationalists, one of the triggers for its foundation was the murder of Dr Narendra Dabholkar in 2013.
"There is so much baggage associated with atheism. We want to stoke people's curiosity about us and convey it to them that we can be good without god, and that the laws of the land are our moral compass," shares Chaitali Shinde, founder-member of We the Brights, the organising body. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, register yourself on join.maharashtraatheist.in
Shaad's on track
From Sadma to Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, the Hindi film industry has had a longstanding love affair with the Indian Railways. Though for a while now, we've noticed that barring Mumbai's local trains, plots tend to veer away from long-distant train sequences. Shaad Ali is an exception.
The director known to use Indian railways for many of his films including Saathiya, Bunty aur Babli and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom was recently spotted on a train from Goregaon to Pardi in Gujarat. This, we were told, was for Flicker Singh, his upcoming biopic based on the life of Indian hockey player, Sandip Singh.
Bhajji takes the bull by its horns
We're not sure what former India test cricketer Harbhajan Singh has on his mind as he inspects an animal horn showpiece while former mate Mohammed Kaif throws a piqued glance back at him. The duo were in the city for a cricket comedy show on Friday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
A Texan interlude
It's still not that time of the year when a glut of international musicians fly down in hordes to the country to play individual sets or at festivals. But before that season kicks in, here's news of a Texan band that's early to the party. Khruangbin is a three-piece outfit that plays a delightful blend of delicate electronic and ambient psychedelia.
There are no strangers to this part of the world, though, having performed at The Magnetic Fields festival earlier. Now, Mumbaikars too can get a taste of their swaying rhythms. The band is slated to perform in the city on May 23. Be there or be square.
He's got some spine!
A Delhi teenager is literally giving it back (pun intended, entirely). Seventeen-year-old Harsh Gupta has launched an app that comes to the aid of those with severe back pain by helping them track and control the condition. After months of suffering, the high school student developed Spined, an Android application that detects bad posture.
It then issues warnings to convince users to switch to an appropriate back posture. To monitor the user's posture, the app uses an innovative algorithm to detect the angle of the user's spine, after which it analyses the data to keep track when safe limits are crossed. Here's hoping this innovative app comes to the aid of those who need it the most.
No kidding, says chef Jamie
If there's one internationally recognised chef who has kept the flag flying high as far as healthy eating among children goes, it has to be Jamie Oliver. He has created a revolution of sorts among schools in the United Kingdom and continues to be a source of inspiration to parents keen to get their kids off junk food.
We spotted his new campaign on similar lines with an Italian slant, where he introduces kids to the cuisine on the kids menu at one of his restaurants. And just as we were about to wrap up writing this, the chef posted proudly about another cause close to his heart - tackling the soft drink industry.
Starting yesterday, the givernment announced that a levy would be charged on the industry; this is a huge victory for the chef. On an expectant note, we are waiting for the day when a a celebrity Indian chef decides to take up the mantle and turn influencer for a similar cause to educate India's young urban population fed on fast food and poor eating habits.
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Did you know Narendra Modi once wanted to become a monk?