Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

Updated: May 02, 2020, 08:04 IST | Team mid-day | Mumbai

The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Pic/Sameer Markande
Pic/Sameer Markande

Such a long journey

Migratory birds including flamingos make the waters near Airoli Creek their home, when they arrive from colder regions in search of food. 

Relief comes from art

(Left) Untitled by Thota Vaikuntam; (right) Kurta series by Dharamanarayan Dasgupta
(Left) Untitled by Thota Vaikuntam; (right) Kurta series by Dharamanarayan Dasgupta

It was yesterday that Saffronart closed bidding and announced the collections for its unique COVID-19 Relief Fundraiser Auction. The collection was an encouraging R66 lakhs that will be donated to NGOs Goonj, Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action, and Stree Mukti Sanghatan that have been distributing essential items to affected communities. The auction released 52 artworks including paintings by artists Krishen Khanna and Thota Vaikuntam; and installations by Tayeba Begum Lipi, Dharmanarayan Dasgupta and many more.

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Dinesh Vazirani, CEO, Saffronart revealed that he was humbled by the response to the auction and said, "We sincerely thank the art community for the generosity in both donating and bidding on works to support organisations doing important work on ground. After we receive the funds from the winning bidders, we will be disbursing them between the three organisations based on need and reach. We are in discussions with them regarding this".

Bonding over stories

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Who better to lift your lockdown blues than the country's favourite children's author? Starting yesterday, an initiative by Prasar Bharati is bringing a collection of veteran storyteller and author Ruskin Bond's stories to All India Radio (AIR). What's more, they will be read out by the author himself. Available on all of AIR's radio and digital platforms, this is set to be a treat for listeners who enjoy stories from hilly Himalayan towns in his simplistic style. From the bustling markets to the devious old maharanis, the majestic trees and vibrant birds and yes to the occasional popping up of a ghosts — you'll find it all there.

Mapping Values

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The response of countries to the pandemic has given us a glimpse of the values system they stand for. The importance of values as a means of understanding the rationale behind decisions taken by men and women, and by countries at large, is what researcher Dr Mandeep Rai's new book The Values Compass addresses. The title, which is available in e-book format, has assumed renewed significance in the current context. From India's faith to Vietnam's resilience, Argentina's passion to Singapore's order, Rai has looked at 101 countries to identify a single key value in each that is represented in its history, geography, and culture."Getting pregnant was a catalyst moment [to write the book]. Only this baby [the book] took a lot longer than nine months. So the experience of writing for me was like pumping blood into a beating heart. And now, the Coronavirus is reminding us that, if we want to understand a country, its values provide the most revealing lens," she said.

Remembering the worker

Komita Dhanda of Jana Natya Manch and MD Pallavi in a session
Komita Dhanda of Jana Natya Manch and MD Pallavi in a session

On May 1, World Labour Day, Leftword Publishers and Delhi-based bookstore May Day hosted an online celebration of workers' rights with performances from all over the world. Starting 1.30 pm and going on all the way till midnight, the line-up featured names like poet Aamir Aziz, JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, comedy outfit Aisi Taisi Democracy, theatre group Jana Natya Manch and singer MD Pallavi among others. "The objective was to celebrate workers from all over the world. Right now, it is all the more obvious that they are running the world while we stay shut in our homes," Pallavi told this diarist after her session. 

A break from the laughter

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Comedian Sorabh Pant, who has been hosting live sessions on social media every day of the lockdown to keep the spirits of those watching, high, took a different route in his video yesterday. He wasn't making the usual jokes and decided to pay tribute to actors Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor in his own way. He talked about the legacies the two have left behind and a Twitter exchange he had with Khan over a joke. "I was prompted to talk about it from an audience member and it led me to the realisation that Irrfan was actually my favourite actor in the whole world. It became a tribute and also reminded me that I don't always have to attempt to be comedic about it. Though, I think, neither Khan nor Kapoor would have minded if I cracked a few jokes," he told this diarist.

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