The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Using a table and bench as a makeshift bed, two essential workers nap at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus.
Canvassing for support
Untitled by MF Husain, is part of Delhi Art Gallery’s Fundraiser Sale
Financial help is of the essence right now, and art galleries are stepping up. Delhi Art Gallery has announced a sale till May 16 where proceeds up to a crore go towards Covid-19 relief efforts. City-based Method Art Space had started a creative centre for underprivileged children in Versova’s slums. Now, they’ve come together with four artists to sell artwork where all proceeds will benefit the families of these children. “One of the most brutal aspects of the pandemic is that the children are missing their mid-day meal, which is provided by the government schools. We’ve known the kids for nine years or so. I can tell you they rely on that meal,” founder Sahil Arora shared. To contribute, visit dagworld.com and shopthemethod.com.
Fresh off winning the Sahitya Akademi Bal Puraskar, celebrated Goa-based screenwriter and novelist Venita Coelho will have a new title to her name, come May 17. Dark Tales is a collection of fictional, ghost stories from across the country, and will be released by Penguin India. It’s suitable for readers aged above nine. Coelho told this diarist, “I wanted to do more than just scare people. I wanted to tap into our collective fears as a nation. So, these stories are set against contemporary backdrops that resound with every Indian — against the Nithari killings, against the Nirbhaya case, against terrorists preparing bombs. They are completely contemporary and very scary. Don’t read these in the dark!” But there’s more to look forward to apart from the release. The rights for this collection have been acquired by the digital content company Only Much Louder, who are optioning it for a series. So, stay tuned.
One for the kids
An illustration by Taniya, a nine-year-old, for her story The Princess and The Sun. Pic courtesy/Thinkarts
Kolkata-based non-profit ThinkArts, along with Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council and the International Literature Festival BuchBasel, conceived Let Me Tell You A Story, an online repository of stories written by children, during the lockdown last year. Now, they’ve released a set of 30 stories — the first set out of 100 to come — written by children aged between six and nine. While 45 have been narrated by Indian storytellers, 15 are illustrated by Swiss artists. The tales are quite diverse, too. “These stories have been a wonderful source of hope and joy at ThinkArts in these unprecedented circumstances. We wanted to share the experience with people,” said Analina Sanyal, programme manager at the non-profit. The group plans to release the remaining material in sets of 35 each, over the next two weeks. You can read the stories at www.thinkarts.co.in
An animated win for comics
Abhijeet Kini and Reena Puri
While prose and poetry get due recognition occasionally, it’s heartening to see the comic books industry celebrated. And Animation Xpress, a leading platform for Indian animation, VFX, gaming and comics, has brought good news. They’ve announced the winners of this year’s edition of Comic Books & More Awards across a range of categories — commending the efforts of both artists and publishers. Amar Chitra Katha grabbed three awards, with its executive editor Reena Puri winning Best Comic Book Editor. We were also glad to spot a familiar city name — illustrator and animator, Abhijeet Kini, whose Essential Angry Maushi 2020 Edition won Best Graphic Novel – reprint, as well as Best Comic Book Merchandise. The Lifetime Achievement Award was handed over to Gulshan Rai, the founder of Diamond Comics. Our congratulations.
Call for mental health awareness
In April last year, mental health initiative MPower came together with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to launch a 24/7 helpline service. Since then, they have received over 72,000 calls from across India, and they have now released key findings from the data they collected. While 25 per cent of those calls were rooted in anxiety and stress, 10 per cent were attributed to depression. What’s also interesting is that 70 per cent of callers were male, which challenges the popular perception that men shy away from expressing themselves. Over 50 per cent of calls also came from those aged between 26 and 40 years. “The goal is to use this to strengthen our resolve towards making mental healthcare more accessible across the country, and to ensure that each and every citizen can seek the help that he/she needs,” Neerja Birla, founder, MPower, shared.