Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Steeling a moment
A labourer catches a nap in an industrial area in Cotton Green on Wednesday. Pic/Shadab Khan
On air for dabbawalas
Ever since mid-day highlighted the plight of Mumbai's dabbawalas amid the lockdown in a report dated April 14, Good Samaritans have been stepping up their efforts to provide help. Inspired by the report, FM station Radio City (RC) has launched an online fundraiser for the men who are considered the city's lifeline.
Mid-day's April 14 front-page report about the dabbawalas seeking help
The station is urging people to log on to ketto.org/ radiocity and contribute to help the 5,000-plus men, who put food on our tables, survive this testing time.
Members from the radio station reached out to the Dabbawala Association and learnt that they haven't been able to collect March and April salaries, and May looks bleak too. So, RC started a fundraiser and have managed to raise R20,000 in just a few hours. If you want to pitch in, log into ketto.org/ radiocity.
Social distancing along with nature
The picture of a spittlebug nymph shared by SGNP. Pic/Prajwal Ullal
Did you know that animals and plants have their own mechanisms of social distancing and lockdown? For instance, a spittlebug (nymphal form) creates a bubble of froth around it as it prefers to stay hidden from predators, or an Indian Grey Hornbill goes into lockdown for three weeks every year.
Although the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is closed to visitors at the moment, its social media account has been buzzing with such facts. "These are very stressful times. The page gives us a platform to spread some positivity as well as address the lockdown. We thought of allaying people's doubts by drawing parallels from nature around us," said naturalist Shardul Bajikar who handles the page.
An app-t solution
Although several organisations are trying to reach out to daily wage workers and others hit hard by the lockdown, one of the many challenges they are facing is the identification of clusters where help is required. To solve this problem, the students of KJ Somaiya Institute of Engineering and Information Technology, Sion, developed an app called Help Flare. The app, which is available in various languages, allows one to report areas where affected people reside.
This will enable organisations or individuals providing essentials to locate the affected people. "We are proud of our students. They have worked tirelessly, and with the help of their faculty, they have come up with this app," said the principal, Dr Suresh Ukarande. For more information, log on to help-flare.web.app.
Sea for yourself
As a city that is dependant and thrives on the sea, how much does Mumbai take cognisance of it? This is what led city chronicler Gopal MS, who popularly goes by the name Slogan Murugan on social media, to document the sea through photographs. On Earth Day, he took to Twitter to post a series of such pictures, mostly from Mumbai, apart from Kerala, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and other parts of India.
While some of them highlight the economy of people who are dependent on the sea, others underline the destruction of coasts. "Everybody shows the happy side of the sea. It's a part of our livelihood and economy, but we pollute it a lot. Earth Day was a trigger to post these photographs and to create a conversation around the sea, its conservation and its beauty," he told this diarist.
Help is just a call away
The ongoing lockdown is affecting our lives in more ways than visible. The fear of the virus, financial stress and general uncertainty can take a toll on our mental health. This is why iCALL, a helpline run by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), has started a new service dedicated to providing psychosocial support to people during this time. "The pandemic has not only impacted physical health, but mental health, too.
To address this immediate need, this helpline offers information, emotional support and referral linkages across India. Being situated in TISS, the service also aims to primarily serve the underprivileged and marginalised communities," said programme coordinator Tanuja Babre. The helpline can be reached at 9152987820, from Monday to Saturday, between 10 am and 6 pm.
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