Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

Updated: May 30, 2020, 07:36 IST | Team mid-day | Mumbai

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

Whether on billboards or on faces, the mask seems to be omnipresent, as seen outside a spa in Bandra. Pic/Atul Kamble
Whether on billboards or on faces, the mask seems to be omnipresent, as seen outside a spa in Bandra. Pic/Atul Kamble

On your face

Whether on billboards or on faces, the mask seems to be omnipresent, as seen outside a spa in Bandra. Pic/Atul Kamble

Kamra exceeds his target

Kunal Kamra; an autographed cricket ball donated for the fundraiser
Kunal Kamra; an autographed cricket ball donated for the fundraiser

We reported earlier on this page that comedian Kunal Kamra had adopted an RT-PCR COVID test kit by Maharashtra-based Mylab Discovery Solutions by parting with his prized YouTube button. Donations of awards and other such prized memorabilia poured in from the likes of Varun Grover, Vishal Bhardwaj, Rana Ayyub, among others. The campaign, with 1,762 donors, has exceeded its target amount to raise Rs 27,02,490. "I was hoping to raise 10 kits, and we've raised almost double, and can acquire more kits to be donated now," an elated Kamra told this diarist. "I didn't expect so many celebrities to pledge valuables so dear to them," he added.

Fishing support

One of the photographs up for sale. PIC/jayanth sharma
One of the photographs up for sale. PIC/Jayanth Sharma

The fishing community across India's coastline has been among the hardest hit during the lockdown. That is the reason environmental photographer Arati Kumar-Rao, who has been working with the fishing community, tied up with Chennai-based organisation In Season Fish and an NGO, DISHA, to start a fundraiser for fisherwomen. The initiative, Fotos for a Cause, has brought together around 16 photographers who have shared their works for sale. "When the lockdown started, the community suffered a lot, especially the women who sell fish. With markets shut, there were also several single and elderly women who couldn't depend on anyone else for a daily wage job.

Arati Kumar-Rao
Arati Kumar-Rao

The idea of the fundraiser is to address the current needs and create a micro-loan instrument," Kumar-Rao told this diarist. Divya Karnad of In Season Fish explained that women are the backbone of the fishing community. "As a pilot project, we are focusing on the east coast, and will slowly expand our operations," she added. From wildlife to travel, the website offers a wide range of photographs that will be delivered wherever possible, added Karnad. Log on to instamojo.com/fotosforacause/ to lend your support.

Chuck the rule book out

Early this week, hectic efforts were underway to hire an air ambulance to fly a COVID-19 positive minister from Maharashtra's hinterland to Mumbai. But since the minister  was refused the aircraft service and instead had to be taken by road, there was much hue and cry, obviously from the minister's supporters who vented their ire on a particular top bureaucrat who wields the rein. A wily bureaucrat has denied the accusations that he blocked the passage for the air ambulance. Meanwhile, mid-day has access to communication between the various arms of the government involved in hiring such services. Turns out, the air ambulance service providers had showed the officers a rule book that prohibits a COVID-19 patient on board. The officers have been saying that the minister had blatantly violated the pandemic protocol by travelling across many districts en route Mumbai, where he is being hospitalised in a star facility while many other patients from his area are being served by government facilities in his hometown, which is also the district headquarters with efficient doctors and support staff. Has anyone the heard of the line: Rules are same for all?

On a whim and a sketch

Gagan Singh
Gagan Singh

Artist Gagan Singh, known for his witty drawings which often reflect on daily life in urban India, will be sharing the process behind his craft in a workshop organised by south Mumbai-based gallery Chatterjee & Lal today. Singh will also encourage participants to make their own drawings during the session. "Singh has been actively documenting his life during the lockdown with his whimsical drawings. This virtual workshop will give attendees an insight into his process.

Mortimer Chatterjee
Mortimer Chatterjee

It will provide an opportunity to think, through the process of drawing," said Mortimer Chatterjee of the gallery. Singh said the workshop will explore "more about how we think. What is a line? What are we experiencing? We will explore our thinking through the tool of drawing."

Remember this time

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Be it small or big, the current predicament has given all of us stories that will stay with us forever. The People Place Project, a city-based research and publication initiative, has started documenting these stories under their project, Quarantine Tales. "During this time, we've been seeing either a lot of positive stories aimed at creating awareness, or rather sensationalised narratives. We feel that a lot of narratives are getting missed out, which is why we started this project. We're hoping to create a database of personal experiences to be used to think of different intervention methods," said founder and curator Nisha Nair-Gupta. Log on to @peopleplaceproject on Facebook to take part in the survey.

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