Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce.
Man of the hour
The restoration of the Rajabai Clock Tower underway, at Fort, on Monday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
No more Cricket Samrat for fans of the willow game
A 1981 issue of Cricket Samrat from the collection of Naresh Dudani, an Ahmedabad-based magazine collector
Cricket magazines, which used to be the main source of information for lovers of the game in another era, are almost extinct now. The latest to join the defunct category is Cricket Samrat, a Hindi publication, which was a super hit with cricket fans throughout India. When did Cricket Samrat start?
Let's dish that out to you in the form of the year in which a big Indian cricketing star's career began — November 1978; only a month after Kapil Dev made his Test debut in Pakistan. Cricket Samrat's closure has saddened our in-house cricket nut. Not only was he a regular reader of the magazine but he had also contributed to it by interviewing some big names of Indian cricket during the early 1990s. And while the magazine will be remembered, it is a good time to applaud the efforts of its publisher Anand Dewan and editorial pillar Charanpal Singh Sobti.
A red-wattled lapwing. Pic courtesy/Nandkishor Dudhe, BNHS
After launching a mobile application to help people identify different kinds of birds last year, the Bombay Natural History Society partnered with Accenture Labs to upgrade the same, so users can access it without the Internet. This will be done with the help of Artificial Intelligence, shared public relations officer, Divyashree Rai.
"We realised that when birders are deep in the jungle, there's often no connectivity. This app will allow them to take the picture of the bird and the AI will identify it and direct the user to more information. Currently, it can identify about 600 common bird species in India," she explained. "Since it's a citizen-driven initiative, we would like bird watchers to help us improve the app by contributing more images," she suggested.
Mumbai, in 64 snippets
A screenshot of one of the snippets posted on Method's Instagram handle
A city that's constantly moving, changing, evolving — that's how Mumbai has existed in the popular imagination. Although the lockdown may have slowed down the city, cinematographer Linesh Desai's new exhibition on SoBo-based art space Method's Instagram handle captures Mumbai's every move. Documented in the form of 15-20-second stories, one can take a peek into the busy kitchens of Mumbai homes as well as hear the local race against the wind in the 64 snippets.
Speaking to this diarist, Desai said, "The exhibition is the result of a project I was working on with Method. I love the horizontal nature of IG videos. I'm always shooting something or the other on the move, and these are all videos I took in the last two years. While taking photographs, you try to capture everything in the moment. These IG videos provide the exact time required to catch something in motion — there's a parabolic arc to it."
Story time with the fam
Staying locked in at home has meant more family time for many. This is why Mumbai Storytellers Society's new initiative, Breakfast with Stories, is a timely one, as it's aimed at bringing the family together, unlike its regular sessions which are for adults.
The free sessions will take place once a month, when people can tune in with their weekend breakfast for story time. Speaking about what's in store this week, founder Usha Venkatraman (inset) said, "This Sunday, we'll have New Zealand-based Maori storyteller Tanya Batt. Her session will feature some music, thanks to her partner Peter Forster. Asha Sampath from Chennai will also share some delightful tales." Although the event is free, you can contribute towards a fund for artistes, she adds. Log on to their Facebook page for more details.
When the sh*t gets real
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the lockdown has given people the leisure to pursue hobbies they wouldn't have had the time for otherwise, and Sagar Mavani, a stand-up comedian from Dombivli, has used this period to complete his debut novel. It's called G for Gobar and deals with a young Mumbaikar who is riddled with debts and EMIs.
So, to overcome his financial troubles, he starts a business of selling cow-dung cakes to both local and foreign buyers. Speaking about the inspiration behind the book, Mavani told this diarist, "I read an article on the Internet, published way back in 2003, which talked about a Mumbai exporter who supplied incense sticks made of cow dung to people in Japan, who love such desi items." Log on to amazon.com to purchase the title.
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