Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Sea it to believe it
Even the statue of a mermaid dons a mask during the lockdown, at Marine Drive on Friday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
What we look for in lockdown
The way our lives have changed after the lockdown reflects not just offline, but online as well. A popular search engine released the results of a study named "Search in the lockdown" yesterday; exactly one month after the country was effectively shut down. It showed that Coronavius-related searches had jumped a whopping 497 per cent in the past 30 days, with people scrambling for information online. Kanika Kapoor was the most searched celebrity, toppling the likes of Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif after she tested positive for the virus. Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth, who have been advocating the need to stay at home, were the most-searched male celebrities, and the recipe for Dalgona coffee trended not just across the world, but in India, too.
Get, set, mango!
Messages of alarm and advice, some well-meaning and some fake, are being exchanged furiously on WhatsApp groups these days as the lockdown gets prolonged. These days, information is more about where you get what, and who is delivering what. As it turns out, groups of people have been keen to order boxes of mangoes. In fact, a certain SoBo community chat saw at least 40 persons adding themselves to a long WhatsApp list of those who want mangoes. A tempo carrying the requisite boxes ordered by residents arrived recently, with frantic chats about where the vehicle was parked, etc. After that, it was about laying hands on the boxes, as the chat changed to, "Tempo arrived; go and collect." It got this diarist thinking that the saffron fruit certainly earns the epithet of "the king."
A splash of colour for charity
Here's your chance to lend a helping hand during this pandemic even as you snap up a treasured work of art. Online auction house Saffronart will put 52 artworks by Indian and Southeast Asian painters under the hammer on April 29 and 30, with the proceeds being donated to three NGOS — Goonj, Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action, and Stree Mukti Sanghatana — which are trying to help those worst affected. "It's a no-reserve online fundraiser that has come together because of the generous contributions of several artists, gallerists, collectors, and connoisseurs in the industry. We hope to see the community rally for the cause and help those most affected by the crisis rebuild their lives," Minal and Dinesh Vazirani, the firm's co-founders, told this diarist.
Take a paws for fun with canines
The lockdown has confined not just human beings to their homes, but pets, too. And an online platform for dog accessories called Lana Paws has now made a video that shows female owners having a gala time with their canine children. Vidha Shukla, founder of the firm, told this diarist, "We were watching a trend across social media of pet owners having fun with their dogs [during the global lockdown] and decided that we, too, would send out positive vibes during this stressful time. So, we thought of putting together a video that features dog mommies dancing with their pets [to the tune of Kudi nu nachne de from the movie Angrezi Medium]." Log on to Lana Paws's Instagram page to check the fun video out.
The jury is out for this prize
Aruni Kashyap and Leela Samson
The JCB Prize for Literature is one of the biggest home-grown accolades for authors, and the organisers have released the list of names for the jury for this year's edition. The panel will be chaired by Bharatanatyam legend, author and former chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi, Leela Samson. The other names on it are writer-translator Aruni Kashyap; professor, cultural theorist and author Tejaswini Niranjana; playwright and director Ramu Ramanathan; and Deepika Sorabjee, head of the arts and culture portfolio at Tata Trusts. Collectively, they will announce a longlist of 10 titles on September 1. Later, a shortlist of five books will be announced on September 25, with each of the authors receiving `1 lakh. The actual ceremony will take place on November 7, where the winner of the `25-lakh prize will be declared. Speaking about the jury, Samson said, "This initiative has presented us with an amazing opportunity to award the most reflective, imaginative and persuasive piece of contemporary fiction writing in India. We hope that the prize will encourage readers to look at India's vast literary culture with renewed excitement."
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