Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
That's what the guards at a Juhu store seem to be thanks to transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi's presence there on Tuesday. Pic/Shadab Khan
This one's for the record
The phrase throwing in the towel means conceding defeat. This one is a victory, though. A human chain of terry towels organised by the Textile Development Foundation (TDF) recently has been entered into the Guinness Book of World Records.
The grand human chain with 2,048 people was formed recently at a ground behind an engineering college in Solapur. The previous record of a similar human chain with terry towels is of 1,646 persons in Italy. But that feat has now been officially broken because Guinness World Records sent across a certificate, which confirmed that there was a greater number of participants at Solapur. TDF president Rajesh Goski told this diarist, "It has put Solapur on the world map." Well, Terry-fic is all we can say about this achievement.
This is lit
Anthony Horowitz is going to be there. So will Alexander McCall Smith. In fact, a whole galaxy of star writers are going to descend upon the city when Tata Literature Live! returns for its 10th edition next month, to a SoBo venue. But before that, Anil Dharker, founder and festival director, passed on information that a curtain-raiser event will be organised at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Goregaon this weekend, as part of the Hobby & Lifestyle Festival scheduled to be held there.
It will involve three workshops — on how to get published, getting kids hooked to books, and the pleasures of reading and writing — featuring authors like Meghna Pant and Ashwin Sanghi. And we echo Dharker, who said, "If you are not averse to a bit of travel, the journey to Goregaon will be worthwhile."
Talking about a burning issue
Yesterday was that day of the year when people erect giant effigies of Ravana before burning them to the ground. But a thread on social media pointed out the environmental damage that this act on Dussehra creates. #IssRavanKoMatJalao urged people to understand that burning effigies creates air pollution, which is even more harmful since many of them include plastic and other toxic materials.
Instead, people can organise laser shows to depict Raavan burning, some commentators suggested. Others said that the effigies should be made with reusable substances in the future so that they don't end up in already-overburdened dumping grounds. That's sound advice, we think.
There was recently an outrage when the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi decided to "review" historian Romila Thapar's work before deciding whether to continue her status as Professor Emerita.
And that outrage has now spread across the world, since The American Historical Association — the largest global association of professional historians — has written to JNU's vice-chancellor expressing their "deep concern" over the move. Here's hoping that their worry doesn't fall on deaf ears.
When Azmi hailed Akhtar
Begum Akhtar has left behind an unmatched legacy. The Queen of Ghazals, as she was called, had mastered the art of singing Hindustani classical music to such an extent that she was first honoured with a Padma Shri award, and then posthumously awarded the Padma Bhushan (this diarist is especially fond of Bhar bhar aaye, the song that Vilayat Khan composed and she sang in Satyajit Ray's Jalsaghar).
So, it's understandable that there was an outpouring of tributes when her birth anniversary was marked this week. Actor Shabana Azmi called Akhtar (in pic, above) the best singer of the Subcontinent. And singer Pankaj Udhas wrote, "You were the pioneer, a crusader and a pillar of ghazal singing." That's what we call worthy praise.
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