Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Over the moon
The April pink moon as seen from Mumbai on Tuesday amid the lockdown. Contrary to popular belief, the pink moon was named so by native Americans not because of its appearance, but due to the fact that it coincides with the season of pink wildflowers in the region. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Virtual look at Mehlli's art
Last month saw the opening of Don't Ask Me About Colour, the retrospective of one of India's greatest abstractionists, Mehlli Gobhai, at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA).
Ranjit Hoskote and Nancy Adajania
With galleries and museums across the world shutting down, NGMA too had to follow suit and thus the show that was supposed to go on until April 25 had to close. While we hope it resumes post the lockdown, people can now savour the viewing experience via a virtual walkthrough set up by curators Ranjit Hoskote and Nancy Adajania on Chemould Prescott Road's website.
Speaking about the project, Hoskote and Adajania told this diarist, "We'd like viewers to have a glimpse, in 36 frames, of Mehlli's multi-dimensional practice as an artist, creator of children's books, adman, and collector of artefacts. Our exhibition design alternates between light and dark zones, the more withdrawn and the more social aspects of Mehlli's art."
A different Passover
"Passover looks different this year than it ever has before, for Jews all over the world," read a moving post on the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue's social media page. Following it was a picture of a hall in the premises that stood bare with empty chairs.
Talking about it, Solomon Sopher, president, Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, said, "To know that we cannot pray in the synagogue in the Passover week is extremely saddening. We Jews are asking God to forgive us. This is the first time when Indian Jews will not be able to pray or make the traditional unleavened bread, matzo, since it requires 35 people to make."
He added, "Rabbis who are here from Israel have to pray alone, and it is a sad time. But, we should not let this virus get the better of us."
Beating racism with music
In a recent video, actor and singer Meiyang Chang has decided to take on incidents of racism around Coronavirus and its impact on North Eastern residents in the country. He begins with a popular song, Chehra kya dekhte ho, and goes on to narrate some of these incidents and questioning their rationale.
"Before the video, there was an article in a national daily, and before that, just a simple Instagram story about the racist incident I'd faced in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Typically, I take such incidents with a pinch of salt, as I've faced them all my life, and am almost immune to them. But the escalation from casual racism to full-blown insult is what prompted me to speak out, both for myself and in solidarity with everyone who is facing a similar, unwarranted backlash," he told this diarist, adding that he hopes to raise awareness and counter hatred with compassion.
A tiny visitor finds a home
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) recently took to social media to share a heart-warming post. The squirrels in the museum garden outside the Natural History section were being taken care of by the staff. But when the lockdown was announced, they decided to not abandon these rescues and take them home.
"There were three baby squirrels; one died the week before last. For now, they have been placed on a tree in Vashi for acclimatisation, close to a staffer's home," Manoj Chaudhari, assistant curator, Natural History section, CSMVS, told this diarist. He added that it was after a distress call and half-hour long search in the garden that these squirrels were found. "It is the fifth pair that we are taking care of," he said.
Neigh to distancing?
Some people are interpreting social distancing in the lingo they identify with. Like Salim Malbari, who sent this diarist a message that read, "Social distancing for horse-y folk — Keep one horse distance or two ponies distance between you and the rest at all times".
Malbari works in the current Royal Western India Turf Club's chairman Zavaray Poonawalla's office. Now, you know social distancing is different for all those whose heartbeats gallop at the sight of equines.
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