Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier

Updated: Sep 04, 2019, 08:22 IST | Team mid-day | Mumbai

The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Not taking a rain check

Despite the rains that dampened things for Mumbaikars on Tuesday, Raj Thackeray steps outside in customary whites in Shivaji Park to visit a friend. Pic/Ashish Raje

A fillip to art

Noted Mumbai-based artist Brinda Miller was recently invited as chief guest at an artist residency held in Ranchi, Jharkhand. Organised by Lalit Kala Akademi, the residency saw 20 contemporary artists collaborate with 20 tribal artists from the state.

Brinda Miller

"With no art institutions in the city, Ranchi is very deprived. Most artists from the state have to travel to other cities like Kolkata and Mumbai to train in art, and then settle there as there is no market in Jharkhand. But I met some extremely talented artists," Miller told this diarist, hoping for the situation to change for the better. She will soon be travelling to Ahmedabad, too, to interact with artists there. In non-metro cities, such interactions are attended by big numbers because the opportunities for exposure are limited, she added.

Ganpati like you've never seen him before

It's that time of the year again when Mumbaikars welcome Ganesha with open arms. The city is bathed in festivities for 10 days as people worship the Elephant God. But there is an unusual avatar in which the deity arrived in the year 1946. An archival video is doing the rounds that shows a giant idol of Ganesha, dressed in the uniform of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, being immersed in the sea during visarjan.

Ganpati like you've never seen him before

People clad in white dhotis, kurtas and topis throng the idol, which is holding the tricolour. This was in the wake of the Indian National Army trials and the Royal Indian Navy mutiny that had taken place a little earlier, signalling the country's growing discontent with the British Raj. A fitting way to pay tribute to a person who was instrumental in earning the country its independence, though, as is their wont, trolls were quick to attack the Nehru-Gandhi combination in the comments section, robbing them of their contribution in the same struggle.

Honey, the kids are all write

Kids and science fiction fit like a ball and a socket. Look at some of the most cherished films from our times — Back to the Future, E.T. and now, Stranger Things, though that's a web series. A child's imagination is uninhibited. So, recently, a kids' app, The Young Chronicle, brought together 12 children for a compilation of sci-fi stories penned by them and titled, Strange Things.

Children at the launch of the book
Children at the launch of the book

The stories explore fantasy fiction, robots and other unreal things. Speaking about the book, founder of the app, Ritika Amit Kumar said, "I never realised when the breaking of light into a rainbow, through a prism, led to children imagining invisible dust and aliens. They included some of these gems in the final drafts of their stories, and scrapped some out."

The first word

Deviating from the usual six nominations in its 12th edition, the Shakti Bhatt Memorial Prize — an award constituted for debut authors from the South Asian subcontinent published in India — announced five titles for their shortlist of the year. These include two works of non-fiction: Priyanka Dubey's No Nation for Women and Tony Joseph's Early Indians.

Nadia Akbar and Priyanka Dubey
Nadia Akbar and Priyanka Dubey

The three works of fiction that made it to the list are Pakistani writer Nadia Akbar's Goodbye, Freddie Mercury; Bangladeshi author Numair Atif Chowdhury's Babu Bangladesh; and Bengaluru-based Roshan Ali's Ib's Endless Search for Satisfaction. The winner gets a prize of '2 lakh and a trophy as well. Noted writers Ruskin Bond, Prayaag Akbar and Sonia Faleiro comprised this year's jury. Since the winner will be announced in November, here's hoping the first-time nominees are already writing their next.

A healthy boost

We are not sure if clean eating can still be called a "fad," now that it's picking up in a massive way. As diners and foodies increasingly insist on knowing the provenance of the dishes on their menu, restaurants and cafés are being pushed to cook and feed more conscientiously.

(From left) Pierre Labial, Antonia Achache and Jeremie Sabbagh
(From left) Pierre Labial, Antonia Achache and Jeremie Sabbagh

But for a long time now, Suzette Gourmet, an organic food brand started by French expats Pierre Labial, Antonia Achache and Jérémie Sabbagh, and their café, Kitchen Garden, has been popular among those who believe in clean eating.

A healthy boost

So, it comes as good news that the three founders have managed to raise R10 crore in funds for their mother brand, which they're looking to invest in multiple ways. This means that the city will see close to 10 more outlets of their organic café across locations like Colaba, Andheri and Versova. Plus, they'll be investing in technology and developing new products, too. Isn't that good news for Mumbai's healthy folks?

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