Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Last year, while interviewing India's woman Test and ODI cricket captain Mithali Raj at a women's conclave in the city, this diarist couldn't resist prodding her about her well-documented love affair with books. "I carry my Kindle everywhere. I like Wilbur Smith and Walter Raleigh. We can't carry it into the play area, so I borrow a book from support staff!" she told us then.
Earlier that year, social media was abuzz when TV cameras had caught frames of Raj reading a book in the pavilion during the Women's World Cup. While we await her autobiography expected later this year, it seems her connect with the written word is as kadak as her cover drives. Most recently, we spotted her validation of a children's title on the jacket of a new title, Of course, it's Butterfingers by Khyrunnisa A, whose series about the comic character Butterfingers is quite the rage among bachchas who like sport with a bit a humour. Raj, we hear, will also be speaking at the 2019 edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival. You go, girl!
Superwoman takes a break
Popular YouTuber Lily Singh aka Superwoman announced to her 14.5 million subscribers that she will be taking a hiatus from posting videos to focus on her mental health.
In a video titled I'll see you soon, she said, "I am mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted... I'm not my optimal happiness right now. I could be mentally healthier." The temporary move was applauded by fans on social media.
Taking theatre to the children for a month
Children's Day might be celebrated on November 14 but theatre and arts organisation Junoon has month-long plans across schools in Agra, Pune, and Nagpur. Co-founder Sameera Iyengar shares, "The true gift we can give children is the celebration of imagination and a deep sense of possibility. With our Arts at Play programme, we bring rich, stimulating arts experiences to children to do exactly this — deep-dive young people into imaginative worlds and open their eyes to the multiplicity of possibility."
Sanjna Kapoor, the other half of Junoon, recalled special family memories around the day, "Taking my nephew Zahan to watch his first play Goodnight Baby Dino, having him and his sister Shaira grab the first row seats at Prithvi, for over 50 performances that they both faithfully watched of our production of Ramu Ramanathan's The Boy Who Stopped Smiling; to today where I am in London with my 16-year-old boy Hamir — the thrill of going to the theatre still ignites a childlike delight in me."
Chai pe tweet?
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is on his India tour this month. After making stops in Rajasthan and Delhi, he arrived in Mumbai yesterday, and announced it by tweeting, "Hello Mumbai."
In response, HaikuJAM CEO Dhrupad Karwa invited him for some chai and collaborative haiku. Well, we know if Dorsey accepts the invite, he surely won't have trouble writing short poetry.
Antisocial is back. And changed
A few weeks ago, someone had told us that antiSOCIAL — the basement venue at Khar Social that had become one of the city's go-to spots for alternative culture — was back in action (it was shut down following the fire that had broken out at Kamala Mills last year).
"What? Are you sure?" we asked. "Yes, I am," the person said, with the misguided confidence of the bungling cartoon detectives, Thomson and Thompson. Sceptical, we asked around, but no one could corroborate this person's assertion. And then the confusion was cleared up when we attended FAR OUT Left last weekend, where Social was a co-organiser. One of the performance areas at the techno festival was named the "antiSOCIAL stage". And next weekend at Disrupt, another electronic music festival, there will again have a stage with the same logo.
"So what's the deal?" we asked Roycin D'Souza, of Impresario, the parent company for Social. "See, the whole idea behind it was that it's an alternative state of mind. So everything we did at the venue fell within the 'alternative' tag. And we are now taking that same mindset outside the confines of a physical space, to collaborate with like-minded partners via pop-up stages," he tells us. But are they looking at turning it into a permanent venue again in the future? "Absolutely," he says. When? "We don't know yet." So, keep watching this space for more.
Shraddha Kapoor tries to shield her face from an army of shutterbugs as she steps out of a gym in Juhu on Wednesday. Pic/Satej Shinde
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Pig brain, rat meat and frog legs are delicacies in these Indian states!