Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Malaika Arora and Saif Ali Khan share a laugh after exercising at a Bandra gym on Tuesday. Pic/Shadab Khan
A fest with music to suit all listeners
Every December, Panaji in Goa becomes a hub of culture when the Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) is held there. The multi-disciplinary event fuses different creative fields. Music is naturally a big part of the programming and the list of people who will be performing there this year has just been announced.
Tabla maestro Aneesh Pradhan and Bollywood composer Sneha Khanwalkar have curated the line-up that includes Louiz Banks and Braz Gonsalvez performing jazz; Dastaan Live playing art-rock music; Karsh Kale bringing in his signature blend of electronic fusion; and Rekha Bharadwaj adding a mix of Bollywood and folk music, meaning there is something for everyone.
Support the city's splendid underdogs of basketball
Sunday mid-day, NGO Hi5 Youth Foundation and crowdfunding platform Ketto have come together to raise funds to promote basketball at 12 municipal schools across the city. Despite joining competitive basketball as late as 2016, these schools, with the support of Hi5, have managed to outperform themselves at the recent District Sports Office (DSO) tournament.
Boys from the U-16 team of Pahadi MPS School in Goregaon East at a DSO tournament in September. Pic/Ashish Raje
While the girls from Pahadi MPS School (Goregaon) stood third in the U-14 and U-17 categories, Pantnagar BMC School (Ghatkopar) came second (U-14) and Dixit Road School's (Vile Parle) U-17 boys bagged the first place. Most players hadn't seen a basketball before they started playing, and hail from families where the breadwinners work as street vendors, daily wage labourers, house helps or taxi drivers. Despite the challenge of inadequate resources and nutrition, BMC school sports teams are beating private and international schools at once-considered elite sports. High infrastructure investment and professional coaching means basketball is considered out of bounds for the lesser privileged.
R Sundar, who co-founded Hi5 along with wife Usha, said in the Sunday mid-day cover story about the BMC sports stars, on October 13, "It was never meant to be an activity. We followed a structured and clinical programme, with a proper curriculum. What we didn't see coming were sparkling results in a short time." Araafat Memon, coach at Pahadi MPS School, said, "When I started out, none of the kids had touched a basketball. Today, eight of my students play at the state-level." The team can't carry on their efforts without the support of good samaritans like yourself. To help support them, Sunday mid-day hopes to help raise '2,38,200 over the next 20 days on Ketto. The funds will be used to buy basketballs, jerseys, cones and ladders.
To contribute (no amount is small), log on to https://www.ketto.org//fundraisers/Midday-for-Hi5YouthFoundation
Casting the Net for promising thespians
Every year, Raell Padamsee's Ace Foundation organises two competitions across the city that seek to promote theatre among not just mainstream school students, but also among their lesser privileged counterparts in NGOs. The finals for this year's edition will be held this Sunday at a college auditorium in Breach Candy, after the finalists were chosen based on the theme, The Good, Bad and Cyber. Two different trophies will be handed out.
These are the Pearl Padamsee Trophy For Excellence In Speech And Drama for the mainstream students, and the Create Foundation Trophy for the NGO kids. Speaking about the chosen theme, Padamsee — who started this initiative in memory of her mother, Pearl — told this diarist, "We work with children all the time and notice that they are all unfortunately obsessed with their phones and social media. So, we wanted to find out what they perceive of it. And there are some really interesting things that have come up. There is the good stuff about the Internet giving them access to more information. But there was also a point that was brought up about how this is a generation with grandparents who have multiple social media accounts, since they keep forgetting their passwords!"
No historic support here
Only last month, St Xavier's College (SXC) bid goodbye to the Bombay Local History Society (BNHS), housed in its campus for 40 years. It was decided that the society should move to another premises.
That's why an announcement of a heritage hunt, open to Xavierites and alums, being organised by SXC in December seems strange. It features prize money worth '15,000 for the team finishing first. It can only leave one wondering that if the same support were to be extended to the BLHS, it would do more good for the urban history and heritage of the city.
A click away from a good cause
It was in the wake of the Nirbhaya incident in 2012 that industrialist Anand Mahindra and photographer Atul Kasbekar came up with an initiative called Proud Father for Daughters. It involves Kasbekar and his photographer friends coming together to click photos of daddies with their daughters for a fee, with the entire money being handed over to Project Nanhi Kali Foundation, which works towards educating girl children.
This year's edition will be held at a Worli venue this weekend, and Kasbekar told this diarist, "We have also included mothers this time since all my female friends would tell me, 'Humne kya gunha kiya hai." And it's encouraging that photographers of the stature of Tejal Patni, Tarun Vishwa and Tarun Khiwal have flown down from places like Dubai and Delhi with their own money to support the cause." Here's hoping that the initiative goes from strength to strength.
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