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Gone in sixty days

Updated on: 30 January,2023 07:55 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Fiona Fernandez |

There’s no doubt that the months of January and February are when arts and cultural events and festivals in the city reach a crescendo. However, the Maximum City can surely do better to extend this phase. Our sutradhaars think so as well

Gone in sixty days

Representation pic

Fiona Fernandez“Well, I must say that the colour you’re gracing is doing wonders for your overall appearance; I’ve gotten so used to seeing you in white all the time…” Sir PM was hoping that his friend would appreciate his genuine comment. Thankfully for him, it didn’t go unnoticed. “Oh, Pheroze! You really think so? I wasn’t sure if purple is my thing, but I am beginning to get used to it,” Lady Flora admitted, coyly. “In fact, I am trying to get more experimental this time, especially since it’s back after two years…” she continued.

“What is back after two years?” Sir PM innocently asked, falling straight to his doom. “Gosh! Pheroze, now that I didn’t expect from you,” Lady Flora was irritated and shocked that her friend wasn’t aware of the obvious event that was on her mind. “It’s the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival that is back in its physical format after two years; I thought you would’ve known,” she grumbled. “I am planning to wear a different colour on each day of the festival, to show my support and enthusiasm for this grand extravaganza,” she said, checking on her perfectly styled purple gown.

“It is wonderful that the festival is back to its on-ground activities. And, I am thrilled that you’ve decided to get right into the mood with your wardrobe makeover. I am guessing you have your wardrobe all sorted out well in advance?” he enquired, cheekily. “Of course, everything is in order. The tailors at Whiteway and Laidlaw have been most accommodating to meet my timelines,” she added.

“My lady, I hope we can attend a few events together; it’s more your kind of spectacle but I will be happy to tag along. I am sure the organisers would have planned this edition on a far bigger and grander scale. After all, this is where I’ve noticed people attend, from all parts of Bombay, and across age groups. It’s such a wonderful coming together of minds and ideas,” shared Sir PM. “I fully agree, Pheroze. 

However, I feel that over the years, the city has grown, its interests have grown, and so we need a lot more immersive experiences throughout the year. This festival is one of the best things to have happened to Bombay, and my goodness, I am grateful that it has survived the odds and emerged stronger, but surely we can do better. Don’t you think so, Pheroze?” enquired Lady Flora.

“You’re so right. I mean, this is a city that’s filled with intelligent minds and benevolent visionaries. It would be such a pity if these two types of people cannot come together to create more such festivals all year through,” Sir PM shared. Lady Flora looked partly in awe at her friend for his practical observation. “Pheroze, that’s so very true, now that you say it out loud. I’ve always wondered why the city doesn’t have a busier cultural calendar, and how everything gets bunched up during these two months, and in bursts in November and December. Why does it have to end? While I am aware that the summer months aren’t exactly pleasant, what with the high humidity levels; followed by the full hit of the monsoon, it still makes me wonder why alternative indoor venues aren’t considered,” she elaborated.

Sir PM was so consumed in her analysis that he didn’t realise when the biscuit he had dunked in his chai had completely vanished into the steaming beverage. “There’s a lot more to be done; and I feel the youth must come forward to take the onus of putting up more cultural programming for our citizens. A few Sundays ago, I happened to be in the audience for this fantastic evening of classical music that featured the likes of Shubha Mudgal. My word! It was poetry and music at its highest level. And this was by the steps of the Town Hall. You should have seen the crowd; it was reassuring. Why don’t we have more such events, I asked myself,” Sir PM shared. “Pheroze, now that’s a revelation. I didn’t know that you liked that kind of music; being a Zoroastrian, I assumed western classical was more your calling. But this is just wonderful,” his friend seemed visibly proud of her friend’s eclectic music choices. “But yes, I feel the coming generations must carry the baton forward. As with any festival or event to take off and survive, funding is critical. And this is where the city’s influential business folk ought to raise their hands. There are venues that are waiting to be explored for every kind of interest and activity, and so many trusts and non-profit platforms that have the ideas but lack the appropriate funding to take off. It is here where I feel the city needs a lot of catching up to do,” explained Lady Flora.

“Innovation and inspiration, these are two important words, my lady, that can go a long way in giving our city that much needed leg-up for a longer, year round calendar of cultural events. I hope we will be around to see that day when we are spoilt for choice with packed itineraries not just now but in the summertime and when it rains. And, yes, that would mean some more wardrobe changes for you,” smiled Sir PM. 

mid-day’s Features Editor Fiona Fernandez relishes the city’s sights, sounds, smells and stones...wherever the ink and the inclination takes her. She tweets @bombayana
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