Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce.
Caught on the hop
A man is snapped mid-air while skipping on the Carter Road promenade, in Bandra on Monday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Toning it up
Bollywood stars were quick to speak out on the Black Lives Matter movement with "All lives matter" and at the same time turn a blind eye to the atrocities at home. To highlight this hypocrisy and show how the Indian complexion has been misrepresented on the silver screen in the last 30 years, UI engineer Divya Prabhakar created a data visualisation analysing the skin tones of 139 actresses — 31.7 per cent of these actresses have endorsed skin-lightening products.
The map that Prabhakar has made of the skin tones of Bollywood actors
Prabhakar, who works in San Francisco, told this diarist that she hopes these visuals might help others to deeply question the industry and our culture. "We have to realise that Bollywood isn't just about light-hearted romance stories with beautiful clothing — it shapes the people we idolise, what we expect women to look like and strive for, and more," she said.
Patrons at Cafe Guftagu before the lockdown started
The pandemic has further marginalised the already marginalised, including sex workers and the transgender community. That's why a queer-friendly eatery in Mira Road, Café Guftagu, has started a crowdfunding campaign to support a community kitchen for similarly affected people during the lockdown.
"We aim to provide 5,000 meals to these underprivileged people who are in serious need of food during this crisis," co-owner of the café, Sumit Pawar, told this diarist. Log on to ketto.org to lend a helping hand.
The short of it
The shortlist for the Neev Book Award, which celebrates children's literature in India, has just been announced. The featured authors include Major DP Singh for Grit, Paro Anand for Being Gandhi, and Samhita Arni for The Prince. S
peaking about her title, Arni told this diarist, "It is historical fiction based around the end of the Sangam era in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. That sounds boring, so I will go with what my publishers tell me to describe the book as — that it's like a Game of Thrones story set in South India in the 2nd century BC."
Cooking up new ideas for F&B sector
The F&B industry is being forced to think outside of the box to find solutions to the loss of business during the lockdown. Earlier, Asian eatery Yazu had launched the city's first virtual dining experience, where food would be delivered at the same time to a group of friends in different places who could eat the meal together online.
Now, Impresario Handmade Restaurants, which owns chains like Smoke House Deli and Social, has started its own tech-enabled food delivery platform that does away with the need for paper menus and bills for in-restaurant dining, thus minimising the risk of infections. "We are also creating our own delivery fleet by realigning our operations staff. It's been an emotional time, and our staff's support has been incredibly heart-warming," Impresario CEO Riyaaz Amlani told this diarist.
Turning the tide on plastic use
The United Nations Environment Programme — along with WWF India, Centre for Environment Education and Million Sparks Foundation — had started a campaign called Tide Turner Plastic Challenge at the beginning of this year, with an aim to raise awareness about the harmful effects of single-use plastic items. Over 1,26,236 youngsters from 28 states and eight Union Territories took part in the challenge, and the organisers are now hosting a National Youth Summit today to celebrate their achievements.
It will feature a panel discussion with a star-studded line-up including celebrated British anthropologist Jane Goodall, actor-activist Dia Mirza (in pic, below), and Rohan Chakravarty, Sunday mid-day comic-strip columnist and creator of Green Humour. Speaking about how the pandemic has exacerbated the problem, Radhika Suri, director, environment education at WWF India, told this diarist, "With masks, gloves and preventive suits being the order of the day, single-use plastic has seen a dramatic rise across the world, most of which will ultimately land up in oceans, rivers and landfills. The need of the hour is thus to already start identifying ways to dispose of this plastic waste responsibly."
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