Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Give me a hand
A cop fixes her colleague's face shield at Parel on Tuesday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
This smart stray follows social distancing as news breaks in that 'social animals called 'human beings' have transmitted Coronavirus to a tiger in an NYC zoo. Pic/Dharmendra Jore
Channelling solidarity at this hour
At 9 pm on April 5, the nation heeded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call, and lit candles and diyas to display solidarity at this hour. Radio City responded to the PM's request.
The channel appealed to its 69 million listeners across 39 cities and 12 states to come together and support the initiative, and they did. People from across the country posted photos of the diyas and candles they had lit. And all this didn't escape PM Modi's attention, since he tweeted his gratitude, thanking Radio City for its efforts.
Poetry will see us through
The Fort bookstore Kitab Khana in association with Indian Novels Collective (INC), a not-for-profit network, has started putting up live poetry sessions every evening on Instagram. The series titled Poetry Live will continue till April 14. Inaugurated by Arundhati Subramaniam, the sessions feature some of the biggest names in the industry like K Satchidanandan, Salil Tripathi and Hemant Divate. American poet Brian Taylor will participate in the final session.
"We live in unprecedented, unprepared and uncertain times. We thought that poetry would be an offering of hope for our followers from the defeating news and rumours we hear every day. With our physical store in lockdown, we were keen to utilise our virtual space to help them find strength to keep moving forward despite the uncertainty," Amrita Somaiya, owner of Kitab Khana told this diarist, while INC co-founder Ashwani Kumar added that the team is also planning to bring out an anthology of the poems read at Poetry Live.
Cat food crisis ends up in court
All pet owners will tell you that a hungry pet is not a pretty sight. Evidence of this is N Prakash, a Kerala resident, with three hungry cats at home, who decided only the High Court could get cat food to his meowing pets. On April 4, Prakash, was at his wits' end when the police refused to allow him to travel to Cochin Pet Hospital to get the brand of food that his cats ate.
The pure-vegetarian family does not cook non-vegetarian food in the house. A frustrated Prakash finally approached the highest legal authority in the state. Courts in India are continuing to hear urgent cases virtually. The high court decided the case was urgent and passed a quick order giving Prakash permission to travel to the hospital for food. Unfortunately, the fortunate felines will never know the effort that went into their kibble this month.
Of movers and bakers
The lockdown has seen Good Samaritans pitching in, trying to alleviate suffering. The virus is a great equaliser as it attacks both the rich and the poor. But this is also a time when the economic divide is brought up in sharp, and sometimes, amusing ways.
As people queued up outside an upscale bakery in Prabhadevi, hoping to pick up fancy sourdough or ragi loaves (in these times, even that villainous, plain white sliced bread would do), this diarist was taken aback to see that there was no bread but only loaves of carrot and walnut cake on the shelves. Who thought Marie Antoinette's words, "If they cannot have bread, let them have cake," would resonate in these times? History has a funny way of coming back in circles.
Celebrating a century-old legacy
Born in Benares in 1920, sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar would have turned 100 yesterday. But owing to the pandemic, the centenary celebrations across the world have been cancelled. That still didn't stop musicians from paying tribute to him through photos and videos.
Ravi Shankar honouring Ustad Zakir Hussain and Ayaan Ali Bangash after a concert at Kamani auditorium's 25 years celebration in 1997 in New Delhi
His daughter Anoushka Shankar along with some of his students recorded their guru's piece, Sandhya Raga, and released it on YouTube while musicians including John McLaughlin, Paul McCartney, Amjad Ali Khan and sons Ayaan and Amaan Ali Bangash also recollected their fond memories with the virtuoso.
Ayaan said, "He made Indian classical music reach out to a mainstream audience in a way that no one could. He became its true pop star and in fact introduced many new elements like solo evenings, programme notes and sound checks in the classical music industry."
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