Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
A feline climbs down a tree as a fisherwoman awaits customers at a market in Seven Bungalows. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Can it be business as usual?
The effects of the contagion on business maybe our lived reality, but does history have lessons for survival? Hosted by Godrej Archives in association with The Museum Society of Mumbai and CSMVS, a talk titled Business in the time of contagion: A historical perspective with Dr Lakshmi Subramanian, scholar-in-residence at Godrej Archives will discuss this next week. "The contagion is not just an epidemiological phenomenon but a social one and generates its own narrative. How we respond to that narrative is crucial. Businesses have a deep social responsibility. We will look at the history of how they responded to disasters and developed strategies," she said.
Three cheers for Tulika
In 2013, Uma Krishnaswami's Out Of The Way! Out Of The Way! (Tulika Books), a heartfelt story about respecting the environment and growing with nature, was awarded Outstanding International Book by the United States Board on Books for Young People. Now, the book has been selected by the United Nations Sustainable Development Reading Goals Book Club. And it's the third Tulika title — after Water Stories from Around the World and A Home of Our Own — to do so.
On the achievement, publisher Radhika Menon (in pic) told this diarist, "The books are carefully curated from a wide selection of titles by children's publishers around the world. The selection committee consists of members from the United Nations, International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Federation of Librarian Associations (IFLA), European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBA), International Authors Forum (IAF), and International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). It is good to know is that three Indian books have been featured on these reading lists."
A win for Glasgow
Often cities remain at the soul of award-winning books, and Douglas Stuart's debut coming-of-age novel Shuggie Bain that was announced as the Booker Prize for Fiction winner for 2020, has reiterated this. Scottish-American Stuart, who is also a fashion designer, sets the book in the 1980s, in his home city where this heartwarming story mirrors his life. Bain and his mother find solace and strength in each other — she is a single mother grappling with addiction and he is the queer son coming to terms with his sexuality amidst poverty and sweeping change during Margaret Thatcher's era. After his win, Stuart graciously tweeted about his fellow nominees that included Avni Doshi (Burnt Sugar): 'The most amazing part of the #bookerprize2020 journey was standing alongside such incredible writers. I've loved every single one of their books and I'm sure you will too.'
Brush of positivity in Thane
(From left) Artists Yogesh Patil, Jayalaxmi Murli and A-KILL
An invisible virus has in the past eight months made humans uncomfortable in their own habitat — like fish out of water. We're afraid to meet people, struggle to hold on to our masks for long and fear touching surfaces around us. This negativity got to Thane-based art director Yogesh Patil after a while. Unlike most of us, he decided to channelise it into something beautiful. To add a burst of positivity to the city's life, Patil, along with fellow artists A-KILL and Jayalaxmi Murli, turned to graffiti. After convincing his friend Vihar Paymode, co-owner of Thane bar MH04 The Drunk Yard, the artists painted the facades of the warehouse-like space in bright hues, depicting two women wearing masks and face shields, ready to take on life.
The graffiti outside the pub in Thane
Paymode told this diarist, "We also wanted to have a fresh yet meaningful look for the pub post the lockdown, so we liked Yogesh's idea." Patil said they finished the work just before Diwali. "We wanted to send the message that we can't bow down to this fear; we have to make the new normal a part of our lives and move on."
It's okay to not be okay
The Harkat Lab in collaboration with rapper Sophia Ashraf dropped a stunning video that is making heads turn for the right reasons. Titled Are You Alright, the video is a part of a five-film series titled Caffenol 7266.
As the screen showcases a rapid collage of 30-plus portraits depicting various emotions such as laughter, pain and unease, the rapper's heartfelt lyrics speak of depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Using celluloid as a medium, the team used a concoction of homemade chemicals and coffee to develop it by hand at the Harkat Lab.
"The films are meant to be played off our 16mm projector with Sofia performing live. We decided to go Gandhian with our approach and keep the process of making the films, 'homespun.' We had first screened the series at the Serendipity Arts Festival. This is the first time it is being made available for free viewing to the general public," Karan Talwar, founder of the Versova-based studio, told this diarist.
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