Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Taking stock of the situation
Actor Gauhar Khan picks up essentials from a store at Lokhandwala market in Andheri, amid the current lockdown on Tuesday. Pic/Sameer Markande
She has no shame
First published in 1993, Taslima Nasreen's Bengali novel Lajja sold 50,000 copies in the sixth months after its publication. Now, the author is back with an explosive sequel titled Shameless (HarperCollins India) that is set to release next month.
Talking about the novel that is said to offer an uncompromising look at ordinary people's lives in our troubled times, she told this diarist, "I wrote Shameless in 2007 while forced to live under house arrest in Kolkata. Now, in 2020, to save humanity from the contagious and deadly Covid-19, we are placing ourselves in self-quarantine or social isolation. But humans are social animals; we cannot live totally alone. We need ways to imagine a world where these hindrances don't hold us back... When I was under house arrest, I spent my time writing, imagining the friends who could not come by. You can choose what you want to do when you find yourself stuck at home too."
The stage is set for a beacon of hope
In a heartfelt post, Prithvi Theatre's Zahan Kapoor took to Instagram to say that the iconic theatre venue, despite no performances and audience, continues to stay lit with a "ghost light" (in pic) with a promise of return.
He told this diarist, "It's something I've always heard about, that a theatre never goes dark, but never experienced it in all these years. Prithvi has always had a show; if something was cancelled, it would be replaced [by another show]. We thought it would be a nice thing to do, and we hope we can get through this and return to doing what we love soon."
So long and farewell, Uderzo
Here's some unpleasant news for Asterix comics' fans. Its illustrator, Albert Uderzo, passed away at the age of 92 yesterday in France. His co-creator, René Goscinny, died in 1977.
The duo was as synonymous with each other as their central characters, Asterix and Obelix. City-based illustrator Abhijeet Kini said, "A large part of my childhood has ended because I have very fond memories of reading the names of Goscinny and Uderzo together." Trivia buffs might also lap up that a masked Roman villain in one of the titles of the series was called Coronavirus.
Another fest bites the dust
The Ladies Street Art festival, which is purportedly India's first women-only street art festival, has been postponed indefinitely. Last year, the festival saw women artists transform the walls of Marol with art.
The second edition, for which more than 50 artists had signed up, was supposed to be held on March 28 and 29 at Marol Art Village in Andheri. "This year was supposed to be bigger and better. We were going to paint more than 30 to 40-odd walls. We were hopeful we will be able to go on with it, but we decided to postpone it for the public good," said Zain Siddiqui, co-founder of the graffiti art organisation Wicked Broz, one of the organisers of the festival.
Saluting GPO's silent workers
This isn't an easy time for senior citizens. Utilities are at a premium, on top of which, cash isn't easily available. But someone's got their back. The General Post Office (GPO) of Mumbai is doing everything it can to ensure that their lives are made easier.
GPO head Swati Pandey told this diarist, "In this time of emergency, we are trying our best to make cash arrangements so that different categories of pension can be dispersed in a timely manner. We are also making enough cash available so that people can withdraw money [from branches]. That apart, we are ensuring that the postal ATMs are well stocked and people with a card of any bank may access our ATMs 24x7." Here's raising a toast to these unsung heroes.
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