Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce.
Unlocking the new normal
A key maker in Andheri East, awaits customers looking for keys, after the long lockdown. Pic/Rane Ashish
Hanging out with the Obamas
The graduating class of 2020, the world over, has perhaps been the most unlucky having had to settle for virtual ceremonies. But today, YouTube Originals is putting up a grand live-streamed event called Dear Class of 2020 which will be headlined by former US President Barack Obama and wife, Michelle, who will also deliver speeches. Other speakers include Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Lady Gaga, and Malala Yousafzai, and representing India will be the city-based popular YouTube creator Prajakta Koli, who had collaborated with Michelle Obama recently. She told this diarist, "It is one thing to get to work with Mrs Obama, but getting an opportunity to be on a global project with her again and representing India is unbelievable. I am looking forward to seeing the reaction to the video I've made for this project as I believe students are quite affected by this pandemic and we can't really miss out on them in our COVID 19 discussions and efforts."
A landmark loses its custodian
If you've lived in or around Byculla, chances are that you've possibly been greeted at least once by the genial Plumarz Ferzandi, owner of the iconic Byculla Pharmacy & Stores who passed away on June 3. This comes weeks after his elder brother, Darius, owner of Byculla Restaurant & Bakery, died in May. Last year, Ferzandi had told mid-day about how his father arrived in Mumbai from Iran. in the early 1900s, set up his restaurant, and the way he and his brother held on to their business.
He had recounted this tale to Bibi Fotehmeh Nazariyan of Dadar's Café Colony, too, back in 2017. "I was working on my book on Iranis in Mumbai. Although I was interviewing him, he ended up interviewing me. He told me that on any given Saturday, I will find him and his friends there," she told this diarist. "I would always see him in his white shirt and trousers while collecting medicines with my father. The last time I met him was when I went to give him my book. Though we didn't get to chat, he asked me if he had been helpful."
An artistic pause
In line with these times, the virtual gallery at SoBo's Method Art Space has put together a show titled Pause where a series of artists from across the world display unfinished works. "I don't think I chanced upon the theme of Pause. Projects and pursuits of artistic expression are always being put on hold because of various reasons. With the COVID-19 lockdown, our lives are sort of in a state of pause, so it just brought the theme to the fore. I've always been curious about the work that artists start but don't finish. Their side projects, their experiments, their exploration of new and different ideas. It says just as much about the artist and their world view as their finished project," Sahil Arora, founder gallerist, Method Art Space, told this diarist, adding, "As outside viewers, you really can't tell when an artwork or a series is finished; only the artist can really decide."
Looking out for building uncles
A still from the video
The lockdown has led people to find innovative ways of expression. For comedian Rahul Subramanian, inspiration came from just outside his window. In a series titled Building Uncles, Subramanian is seen interacting (or pretending to) with men from his housing society who are running daily chores. The short videos (now eight of them) are funny and offer respite in these times. "It was sheer boredom that led me to try this out. I knew the first video was funny and when people liked it, I began creating others," Subramanian told this diarist, adding that he makes one whenever he spots something funny from his window.
Stage for kids
This weekend, a children's workshop titled How to Build (a) Character for children aged eight to 12, will be held by Aum Yash Kendra, a Prabhadevi-based speech and drama centre. Spread over two hours, the Zoom sessions will introduce children to the wonders of drama. Organised by Mini Bhatia, founder-director, Aum Yash Kendra, the workshop, the first in a series of upcoming ones, will be facilitated by writer-director Gurleen Judge. "In these two hours, they will go through all dramatic tools they require to build a character including body language, text work and voice," Judge told this diarist. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
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