Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce.
The dome of the Global Vipassana Pagoda pierces the evening sky in Gorai on Tuesday. Pic/Nimesh Dave
A stamp of honour
They build the houses we live in, roads that we travel on, put food on our tables and ensure our lives are seamless. And yet, migrant workers have been one of the worst affected sections of the society, during the lockdown. In a tribute to them, India Post, Mumbai, will release a special postal cover at the Bicentennial Hall of Mumbai General Post Office (GPO).
"For the past one and a half months, we have been reaching out to migrants and taking care of them. We have realised now, more than ever, that they are the economic backbone of the city. If they don't return, things will not be the same. This is why we wanted to release a cover to commemorate the hands that built Mumbai. Though their contributions are everywhere around us, we chose to highlight four aspects — Bollywood sets, construction, taxis and jewellery-making," said Swati Pandey, postmaster general, India Post, Mumbai, and head of the Mumbai GPO.
When boredom inspires music
(Left) Anurag Rao and Shubham Srivastava in the video
It was boredom that led to Azaadi Records' Anurag Rao, to sing popular songs with lyrics that reflect the times. So, Hey there, Delilah became Hey there, China in the first song released as part of Corona Covers on YouTube. Rao and his friend Shubham Srivastava teamed up for the initiative and will be inviting other musicians. Indian Ocean's Nikhil Rao features in the first one.
"I spent the first few weeks [of the lockdown] being depressed and caught myself singing Farida Khanum's ghazal with Coronavirus lyrics, Bahar jaane ki zid na karo," Rao said. The duo plans to release one cover every 10 days.
Stepping into a new role
Change is afoot within the theatre group, Indian Ensemble, founded by Abhishek Majumdar and Sandeep Shikhar in 2009. Arts manager, curator and film historian, Roy Choudhury, is in the process of taking over as the company's executive director, replacing Vivek Madan, who will continue to be involved as a trustee.
Speaking about what his plans are, Choudhury told this diarist, "We have a production that was stopped mid-way because it was meant to be a public performance in parks and by lakesides. That's going to go ahead as soon as things open up. We are also planning for a training programme; it's an initiative that we had started last year, but which we haven't announced for this year's edition as yet."
Jugaad ideas to cope well
Last year, Ummeed Child Development Center put out a book titled Jugaad to show what mental health looks like to 14 young people. Now, the scanned copy of the book can be accessed by leaving a DM on the Instagram account @mentalhealthjugaad.
About the move, Jehanzeb Baldiwala, director, mental health services, told this diarist, "We made it available in response to the fear people are experiencing while in isolation due to a lack of connection. The book comprises know-hows on staying hopeful and managing disabilities."
Let's not break the chain
The past month has witnessed artists not just responding to the crisis with art, but also collaborating to help each other out. An initiative called Art Chain India, started by artists Purvai Rai and Ayesha Singh, with assistance from Pranati Kapur and Natasha Jeyasingh, among others, is doing just that.
How? "They need to post their artworks on their profiles, tag our page [@ArtChainIndia on Instagram] and include #ArtChainIndia. The works are priced at or under R10,000. When an artist makes Rs 50,000, they have to spend R1s 0,000 to buy another artist's work from #ArtChainIndia," said Singh, adding that they started this as a nod to the Artist Support Pledge initiated across multiple countries.
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