Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Phantom, a 13-year-old canine with arthritis, is helped by his owner to walk with a dog wheelchair in Bandra on Tuesday. Pic/Shadab Khan
Art of opening
Chatterjee & Lal is one of the galleries that is taking steps towards reopening
Art galleries across the world have faced the brunt of the lockdown, but there are a few in Mumbai that are now taking baby steps towards reopening by appointment only. These include Chatterjee & Lal, Chemould Prescott Road, Galerie ISA and Sakshi Gallery.
They promise to take all the necessary precautions, of course. For instance, Chemould director Shireen Gandhy (inset) told this diarist, "Our staff wear gloves and masks at all times while moving artworks around. We have a small team of between of two and five people when we open, and the floor is sanitised before they come in every morning."
Knot a problem
Demonetisation was the last time that couples about to marry faced — excuse the pun — a knotty problem. But the pandemic has again posed the same difficulties for people eager to enter conjugal bliss. A survey by a global wedding tech platform has now revealed the impact that this period has had on couples who were planning summer weddings in India.
"We found that wedding bookings are not getting cancelled, but the industry overall is seeing a shift in demand," said Ankur Sarawagi, the India head. One such shift is the rise of "minimonies", or mini-ceremonies on the pre-planned dates with a larger one planned for later in the year. People are also installing sanitisation fans at the door to keep their guests safe without the need for manual labour; asking guests to come in shifts so that there is no crowding at the venue; and getting rid of buffets so that there are no long queues, he added.
SoBo loses a fixture of 46 yrs
There are some people selling roadside snacks in Mumbai who become what seems like a permanent fixture of their locality, building a loyal clientele in the process. Bhagvati Yadav was one such man. For 46 years, he would place his pani puri stall at the mouth of Rungta Lane near Nepean Sea Road, feeding generations of SoBoites his famed 'Bisleri pani puri', which he made with mineral water in order to ward off infections. But in a cruel twist of fate, Yadav himself contracted COVID-19 and succumbed to the disease recently.
The spot that he had made his own thus lies vacant now. But his well-wishers from the area have come up with an initiative so that he can feel their gratitude posthumously. They have started a crowdfunding campaign for his wife and daughter, who left for their village yesterday. "His was one of those popular roadside joints and if you ask any resident in the neighbourhood, they will tell you all about him," said a spokesperson from Ketto, the platform on which the campaign is being conducted. Log on and open your purse strings for a person who, in his own way, was part of what makes Mumbai the city that it is.
Singing a dirge
Rajiv Nishad (right) with Subir Malik
Before there were the cool kids who run music events these days, there was Rajiv Nishad. Employed with music magazine Rock Street Journal (RSJ), he did the ground work for major festivals including Great Indian Rock.
Nishad lost a prolonged battle to kidney failure in his mid-50s this week, and there was an outpouring of grief from the community. "He had such goodwill that people like Subir Malik of Parikrama would personally visit him when he was unwell, helping him with finances," its editor Anirban Chakraborty said.
Cops imagine a drugs-free future
Substance abuse is a pan-India problem, and the Northeast, too, has high incidences of it. But instead of just using force to eradicate the issue, the Meghalaya Police recently came up with an innovative way to address the subject, ahead of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (June 26).
They launched a video where the lyrics to Imagine, John Lennon's iconic peace anthem, have been reworked to warn youngsters about the dangers of consuming narcotic substances. With lines like, "Imagine no more cravings/ It isn't hard to do/ Nothing to steal or kill for/ No more violence too," they deliver an effective message, one that their counterparts in Mumbai might want to recreate themselves in a bid to address the social ill.
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