Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
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Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code protects a woman from facing cruel treatment from her husband or in-laws. It’s a necessary part of the legal system, but unfortunately, there have been numerous cases of women misusing it for their own selfish gain. What makes matters worse for the victim — usually men, in this case — is that it’s a non-bailable offence. And in the light of #MeToo, there have also been accounts of women levelling allegations of sexual impropriety that have turned out to be dubious. Keeping these things in mind, an events management firm is organising a peaceful, day-long protest at Azad Maidan this Saturday. It’s called #MenToo and is aimed at highlighting the issue of fake cases being filed against innocent, unsuspecting men. We are no one to judge the merit of one cause from another. You decide.
A tricky musical terrain
“We all know that lec-dems and workshops are a part and parcel of the Hindustani music scene. But I was astounded when I came across this video of Kiran Seth, founder of SPIC MACAY, conducting a workshop. Should this be described as laughable, Seth’s unhindered passion for music, or is this an insult to the very tradition that is being propagated?” wrote noted tabla player Aneesh Pradhan in a Facebook post with a video featuring Seth conduct a Naad Yoga class, where let’s say, being in tune didn’t feature high on the priority list. When this diarist reached out to Pradhan, he said, “While Kiran Seth has been working towards promoting Indian classical music for years together and we all aligned with the idea of SPIC MACAY taking the tradition to schools and colleges, it’s no more ‘small is beautiful’. It’s a huge machine with chapters across India, where the aim is to have programmes round the year. But who decides their quality?” The artiste also spoke of how several musicians agreed with his post, but sent him direct messages for the fear of losing concert opportunities. “There are a lot of bizarre things happening in the world of Indian classical music,” he added, and the challenges that musicians face will be a part of his book, Chasing the Raag Dream, releasing later this month.
Seefah's looking at SoBo
If you live in SoBo, and are fans of Thai chef Seefah Ketchaiyo’s food, head to Colaba at the end of this month for she and her husband Karan Bane will be opening a brand new space. In a tie-up with the folks at Soi69, the 16-seater will be located in the Godwin Hotel. It will be called Soi Express. “The ambience will be cosy, and the food will be skewed towards my style of cooking, which includes Asian and specifically, Thai delicacies. It will be a quick-service and casual dining space,” Seefah told this diarist.
God speed, Anoushka
Sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar, known for her Indian classical and progressive world vibe, recently enchanted Parisians with her skills when she performed there at the end of last month. She even posted from her rehearsals, before she got on stage and performed Sadhanipa, her father, Pandit Ravi Shankar’s collaboration with American composer Philip Glass. And though she had shows lined up in France, Germany, USA, Austria and Portugal starting from June till October, she took to Twitter to announce that she has to cancel all those concerts due to health reasons. Stating that it isn’t a decision she had taken lightly, and that she was heartbroken about it, she revealed that she is currently spending time with family, and gearing up for a major surgery. Here’s wishing her a speedy recovery.
City and the poet
If poetry is your forte, a new collection of poems by author Arundhati Subramaniam, to be launched this Friday at Kitab Khana, is for you. Her works will contain three themes: love, time and conversation. “When I say love, I mean a widening kinship that includes friends, parents, strangers and mystics across centuries. The poems range from a tribute to Mumbai’s modern poet, Eunice de Souza, to the great mythic Tamil woman poet, Avvaiyar. And conversations include poet friends discussing Arun Kolatkar in an Irani restaurant to Pakistani pilgrims on a bus to Ajmer,” the author tells this diarist. “For me, Mumbai is a homecoming. The city is a permanent presence in my work as landscape or protagonist. The first reading of each of my books in more than three decades now has been in Mumbai,” she concludes.
Water activist Amla Ruia speaks to mid-day