Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce.
Chained to safety
As malls ready to open this week, this one in Lower Parel is sanitised by BMC staff. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Beliebers are here
This has been a testing period — first a pandemic, a cyclone and now, floods in Assam. To help those affected in the north-eastern state, the Indian Beliebers Community, which has over 4,000 fans of Justin Bieber, set up a fundraiser in association with an NGO, Rapid Response.
"We are always looking for opportunities to make an impact. When we first heard the news that Assam was in crisis, we couldn't sit quietly. We have friends and members there who need our help," Meghanjali Mitra, one of the core members, told this diarist. If you'd like to lend your support, log on to ketto.org.
Of equal lights and rights
Mumbai's Cultural Spine Project comprising SVS Road, from Siddhivinayak Mandir to Mahim (the stretch is dubbed as the city's cultural spine) is playing equal music right now. A mid-day report detailed how the area is the first to get traffic lights and signage featuring female design icons. It is also a first for India. A bit of digging around by this diarist revealed that India's traffic lights gender equality drive follows a pattern by some German cities that feature female and male figures (Ampelfrau and Ampelmann) on traffic lights at pedestrian crossings. Amersfoort in The Netherlands had introduced its iconic ponytailed female traffic light figure, Sofie, back in 2000. (Sofie can be found across other Dutch cities as well).
And does the queer community here dare to dream? Vienna had installed traffic lights featuring same-sex couples ahead of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015, which remain in place till today. The Austrian city of Linz followed Vienna's lead. While a Vienna copycat project seems a while away, now Mumbai, largely a commuting city, where locals spend a great part of their lives on the roads, is using traffic signage to send a message, about equality and empowerment. They wink. They blink. Good initiative, we think.
The Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation (JNAF) put up a DIY slideshow on Instagram on getting started with tea-stain doodling. Puja Vaish, director, JNAF, shared, "This is part of our monsoon feature activities. It's designed as a simple step-by-step activity inspired by an artist's work. It enables people to engage with the artworks and make their own inspired versions."
Soli Sorabjee's jazz connect
Few might be aware that nonagenarian legal eagle Soli Sorabjee is also a jazz aficionado who played a major role in organising Jazz Yatra, the festival that helped shape the genre in the country after its debut in 1978.
An online session on August 6, titled Songs for Soli Sorabjee, seeks to set this record straight.
It features veterans including Gary Lawyer and Louiz Banks. Colin D'Cruz, founder of Jazz Goa, which is hosting the programme, shared with this diarist, "Sorabjee has hardly got the recognition he deserves. This programme is meant to give him his due, making people aware of how he even helped launch Tania Maria at Jazz Yatra, a Brazilian pianist who went on to become a world-famous jazz musician."
So long, Arti Mehta
Some individuals leave an indelible mark on Mumbai's cultural heritage. Arti D Mehta, emeritus chairperson of the Museum Society of Mumbai (MSM), who passed away last weekend, was one of them. Having spearheaded the society for over two decades, the octogenarian's legacy lives on in the lives of professionals she inspired, including MSM chairperson Dr Pheroza J Godrej and Dr Sabyasachi Mukherjee, director general, CSMVS Museum.
Mehta (in blue) meets the Dalai Lama during a trip to Dharamshala
"During her tenure, she took deep interest in art acquisition, more particularly in traditional jewellery. The unique hair ornament collection in the museum was acquired from Veena Shroff, renowned hair stylist from New Delhi, in 2010 with the help of Mehta. She had immense interest in children's education and it was because of her motivation that MSM and CSMVS jointly started celebrating different Indian festivals for children," recalled Mukherjee.
Godrej fondly looked back at their 50-year-bond. She regarded Mehta as a stoic personality who never failed to exude kindness in whatever she pursued — welcoming younger members into the society, organising memorable trips, fundraising and accounting. "She gave us the ability to say, 'Yes, we can do it!"
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