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Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

Updated on: 03 December,2023 03:43 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Team SMD |

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

Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Safety first 

This responsible doggie seems to be looking both ways before crossing the street, as we all should!

Signed, sealed and sold for 750 pounds!

Cricket historian, author and a keen collector of memorabilia, Gulu Ezekiel stumbled on a precious item concerning India’s 1983 World Cup triumph—an autographed team sheet of Kapil’s Devils. Ezekiel tells us that the item was sold recently at an auction in Norwich, England, for a whopping 750 pounds (R79,000). The precious piece of paper is signed by all 14 players as well as manager PR Man Singh under ‘Indian Team Winners Prudential World Cup 1983.’

It was bought online by an anonymous user.

Gulu Ezekiel
Gulu Ezekiel

While collectors in India and overseas continue to seek full team autographs, sadly middle-order batsman Yashpal Sharma passed away in 2021. Hence, this autograph sheet is extremely rare. Other Indian autograph sets that sold were the 1936 team to England, (85 pounds), India in Australia 1947-48 (110 pounds) and India in England 1952 (60 pounds). However, none of these were official team sheets. Priceless all the same, is all we can say.

Shifting the narrative

Documentary filmmaker Somnath Waghmare is elated as he speaks to this diarist from the US of A. His latest documentary, Chaityabhumi, will be screened at the Columbia University in New York today. Lakhs of people gather at the ground every year to pay their respects to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, on December 6, his death anniversary. “The narrative has always been about how this occasion causes traffic jams—the typical casteist attitude of criminalizing Dalit events or gatherings. But hardly anyone talks about the massive book fair at the Shivaji Park on this same day, where more people gather than any lit fest in India,” Waghmare tells us. “Hundreds of books about Dr Ambedkar, caste politics and related subjects are sold at minimal rates. You can also buy paintings, photographs, statues and Buddhist calendars.”

Also read: #OrryNotSorry

Not so Common(s)

Pamila Rodrigues is a happy cookie this December. Rodrigues, a London resident, grew up in Marine Lines and has not forgotten her Goan roots either. This year, she had her heart set on celebrating the Feast of St Francis Xavier, which falls on December 3, in London. “It doesn’t matter if you are from North or South Goa, from Vasco or Ponda, the St Francis feast is celebrated with a lot of reverence and pomp across Goa,” says the senior systems and training support officer.

Pamila Rodrigues
Pamila Rodrigues

Rodrigues, who asks us to converse a bit in Marathi “just to hear home”, tells us how her love for her roots spilled over and she asked British MP of Indian origin Seema Malhotra if the Feast could be celebrated in London. To her delight, the MP agreed! “Legend has it that despite five centuries having passed, the saint’s body is still well preserved. The day is celebrated as a feast due to his outreach and missionary work for Goan communities. MP Malhotra has also facilitated a small event in the House of Commons to mark the day,” she adds, her voice giving away her excitement. Ask, as they say, and ye shall receive.

Getting accessibility right

Today is International Day of Persons With Disabilities and a good time to turn our attention towards a four-year project initiated by Svayam, the social impact wing of Jindal SAW, to raise awareness about all forms of accessibility and the issues around them. “As a wheelchair user myself, I know how important accessibility is,” says Sminu Jindal, founder of Svayam. “Especially in rural India, people like sportspersons who have suffered injuries, soldiers with war-related wounds and people with arthritis struggle a lot. The term ‘reduced mobility’ is a much more inclusive one in such instances.” As part of the initiative, Svayam conducted surveys across 14 states, and then educated residents of rural areas on accessibility based on the results. “For example, a toilet is a necessity, but accessibility to toilets is a huge problem in rural areas. People didn’t understand what accessible toilets meant. We taught them that it was as simple as using anti-slip tiles instead of marble, grab bars to help you get up, and a bell in case you need assistance,” she explains.

Have the stars aligned?

What's taking YouTuber Bhuvan Bam, chef Nidhi Sharma and sculptor Seema Kohli to an untouched, rocky Himalayan mountain? Vaatalya, a community retreat spanning nine acres, invites curious travellers—on an invite-only basis—to witness the magical and much awaited Geminids meteor shower. It is managed by partners Aarti Babhoota and Aditya Sharma, who set it up a mere 100 km away from Chandigarh after they decided to invest in astro-tourism, intentional living and holistic health.

Aditya Sharma
Aditya Sharma

“For individuals deeply intrigued by the cosmos, our initiative provides a surreal and once-in-a-lifetime journey that reconnects them with the wonderment of childhood days spent reading about these celestial phenomena,” says Sharma. To him, stargazing in the serenity of the forest Vaatalya is located in, isn’t just about relaxation and mindfulness; it’s a reminder to the participants about their place in the vastness of the cosmos. The exclusive retreat welcomes travellers who are curious about the universe, rather than those who want to document every moment of their holidays. TLDR: This is the sort of celestial escape that you won’t see on an Insta Live.

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