Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
The bright side
With the government planning to ease curbs on outdoor activities, an auto driver looks forward to better business at Bandra's Carter Road. Pic/Bipin Kokate
For smart distancing
Akshat Bhatt, principal architect at Architecture Discipline, along with his team of designers, has created a smart social distancing neck brace called sChoker. The device makes use of thermal sensors to detect close, animate presence and, accordingly communicates the message to the user, with red indicating dangerous, yellow for medium and green for safe.
"While we are still grappling with the virus, what is evident is that social distancing is here to stay. A study in America said that 'prolonged social distancing may be necessary until 2022'. So, we need to create new applications that shall ease our rehabilitation into the new normal," says Bhatt, adding that the brace is primarily for the visually and hearing-impaired.
Mumbai's chopper rapper got something to say
Mumbai-based rapper Kidshot is known for his chopper flow ability, a fast-paced rap style. In fact, he can rap at the speed of 350+ words a minute. His unique and impressive skills landed him a spot in Zoya Akhtar's film, Gully Boy. After being away from the hip hop scene for six months, the 22-year-old is back with a track called Haadse.
He released the track on his birthday (July 31) and it's the second track from his EP, Bhot Kuch. "I penned Haadse within half-an-hour. It's straight from the heart. I wanted to show a mirror to society and at the same time, I wanted to motivate my listeners to be the best version of themselves. I want them to stay strong, not give up and evolve," he said. The video of the song is animated and quite funky. "I decided to collaborate with artist Thunder Medusa for the video, given that shooting one wasn't possible due to the pandemic," he explained.
Sir Everton and Reds's blue moment
Joseph 'Reds' Perreira
Caribbean cricket is no longer fortunate to have media stalwarts like the deceased Tony Cozier and Tony Becca, but it does have Joseph 'Reds' Perreira.
Reds is a friend of this newspaper and was quick to send us a voice message which sounded like a well-crafted news report after batting great Sir Everton Weekes's funeral held in Barbados on Friday.
St Lucia-based Reds's, 81, 'report' mentioned Cave Hill in the University of West Indies campus where Weekes was buried and pall bearers like former cricketers Charlie Griffith and Ian Bradshaw.
We detected a certain sadness in the distinguished sports commentator's voice. After all, Sir Everton was his childhood hero, having first watched the master batsman as a teenager at Georgetown against India in 1953.
In a piece which he wrote after Weekes's July 1 death, Reds admitted to being "flooded with sadness" over the death of a man with whom he had spent many hours talking cricket and hosting each other in Barbados when Reds was his fellow Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation commentator in the early 1980s. Among the countless tribute writers, Reds is one of the unique ones because he actually saw Sir Everton play before his Test career ended in 1958.
Reds' old friends list is getting shorter and Weekes's demise has done no good for his spirits. All we can say now is, chin up, Reds.
Diaspora lessons from Dalal
Food historian and archaeologist Kurush F Dalal is using the lockdown period to do what he loves most, which is to impart his knowledge about the foods we eat. Apart from the many live sessions that he has been part of for the last four months, Dalal's food workshops have also been a big hit. In fact, nearly 150 students enrolled for his Studying Food Workshop during this period. The success of these sessions, has pushed Dalal to introduce a new and one-of-its-kind Studying Diasporic Food workshop, which kicks off on August 17.
"I have been doing a series of courses over the last one year. The idea was to look at food holistically. Today, when we study food in India, we go to a catering college, and specifically study food for the catering industry. We don't investigate the archaeology and anthropology of food and our reasons for eating certain food over others, or the inter-play between religion and food," Dalal told this diarist. His new course is a deep dive into topics that he has covered in the past through his courses. It will be taking a serious look at diaspora and diaspora studies, inbound diasporic influences and outbound ones, the impact of diasporic foods and cuisines and, how to understand and identify the same, says Dalal.
Shah of stories
One of the delights of Instagram during the lockdown has been watching actor Sohum Shah's Vikram and Betal series, where he retells the legendary folk tales we once read in comics. Shah tells this diarist that his grandmother would often narrate these folk tales.
"And now, I sometimes do the same with my family." He too remembered the series when it was rendered on film for Doordarshan with Arun Govil playing Vikram and Sajjan playing Betal. "I would be glued to my television screen. From life lessons to a wry take on society, there's a lot to be learnt from these series."
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