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Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier

Updated on: 20 May,2024 06:49 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Team mid-day |

The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier

Pic/Kirti Surve Parade

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Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier

A guiding light 

An illuminated message reminding citizens to vote is projected onto the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. 

Be aware, protect

A steppe eagle spotted at the park.  PIC COURTESY/VEDANT KASAMBE
A steppe eagle spotted at the park. PIC COURTESY/VEDANT KASAMBE

When the next generations of nature enthusiasts learn about the Egyptian vulture, the steppe eagle, or Leith’s softshell turtle, they might have to stick to the books. On National Endangered Species day on May 17, experts from Sanjay Gandhi National Park reminded citizens of many such species from Mumbai that face the threat of extinction. “While the biggest threat remains hunting, people often overlook the impact of climate change. A chain reaction set off by a single phenomenon like rising temperatures can spell death for these species,” Shubham Hadkar (inset), nature education and extension officer revealed. While these two bird species are categorised as ‘endangered’, the softshell turtle faces immediate threat, and is categorised as ‘critically endangered’.

Double bass-turned-bookshelf

(Left) The double bass is dismantled; (right) the final product with books in it
(Left) The double bass is dismantled; (right) the final product with books in it 

The next time you’re at the National Centre for Performing Arts, keep an eye out for a double bass. If you have no idea what one looks like, here’s a hint: it’ll be the one with a collection of books inside it. In collaboration with Little Free Library, a USA based readers’ community, the NCPA has turned one of its old double basses that once served the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI), into a moving library. “We approached SOI to check if they had any old instruments that could be transformed into a tiny bookshelf. When our gaze rested on the massive double bass, we immediately knew we had a winner,” Natasha D’Souza, marketing executive, NCPA, who supervised the transformation shared with this diarist, adding that it took a month of efforts to bring the idea to life. Following its official launch today, the contraption will be listed as one of the many portable mini-libraries around the world on Little Free Library’s online map. As for where interested visitors can spot it, D’Souza revealed, “It will make its way to the foyers of our theatres first. The interesting bit is that the library is portable. If people take to the idea well, we are also planning to take it to our outdoor events. We’re sure it’ll be the centre of attraction.”

Freelancers, unite

Freelancers from the city can breathe a sigh of relief. Yada Yada Collective, a community of freelancers who aim to make navigating the freelance way of life a little easier, have announced a new online community to reach a larger audience. “Conversations are the only way to bring transparency in the freelance industry. The new community on WhatsApp will facilitate conversations between experienced and amateur freelancers from all walks of life,” revealed Megha Vishwanath (below), illustrator and co-founder. Giving us a peek into what the conversations will look like, she shared, “Basic decisions like how much one should charge can be a hurdle for beginners. We will openly discuss industry rates, how to tackle a difficult client, and follow through professionally.” The collective is also currently building a public database where freelancers can log the nature of the creative work and the acceptable monetary compensation for it. “This database, along with a team of legal experts specialising in intellectual property law form the backbone of the movement,” she concluded.  Those interested, can log on to @yadayada collective.

Ninety, and still going strong

Bond humoured this childhood photo, saying that he had a paunch even as a kid!
Bond humoured this childhood photo, saying that he had a paunch even as a kid!

Trust Ruskin Bond to find charm in the waiting room of a railway terminus. But it is this inherent fascination to remember the simplest of details that makes him one of India’s most loved writers. Yesterday, lucky fans would have converged at Cambridge Book Depot in Mussoorie to celebrate the icon’s 90th birthday with the man himself. While for some, like this diarist, we reminisced about our interactions. Interviewing Bond is similar to chatting with a well-travelled uncle who boasts of a bookshelf on every wall of his home, as we discovered during our visit to his Landour home nearly nine years ago. During that interaction, he spoke about VT (today’s CSMT) station. “This was back in 1955. I was returning from England, and our ship was docked at Ballard Pier. To reach home, to Dehradun, I had to take a train from VT. I recall the really grand waiting room.” Later, during our rapid-fire round, one of our questions was about advice for aspiring children’s story writers in Mumbai. His advice was quintessential Bond, “It can include the sea and its coastline. I love reading stories about the sea but I must confess that I get sea sick as soon as I sit in a boat!”

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