Mumbai Diary: Saturday File


The city – sliced, diced and served with a drizzle of sauce

Pic/Satej Shinde

Great horns on fire

July weather calls for ears of corn as seen on the road from Manpada to Dombivli.

A touch of green ink

(Left) Ashvini Menon;  his works on the conservation of Aarey.  Photo courtesy/Instagram
(Left) Ashvini Menon; his works on the conservation of Aarey. Photo courtesy/Instagram

Our eyes were caught by artist Ashvini Menon’s latest work on the quivering Aarey Forest issue on her Instagram page last week. Menon pointed out that such conflicts are inevitable. “We live in a country where space is a constant problem,” she said. Her take features an elderly grandmother telling us the raw facts of the forest. “She represents someone who cares about the future, not herself. I just needed to back her up with some humor and some basic numbers – obvious and freely available. Menon told this columnist that there can be no compromise with nature for development.”Sustainability and development cannot be exclusive. If it’s not sustainable, it’s not development,” he said. – she points out. “The Aarey, the mangroves and the city’s coastline are not negotiable. We can find a way around them”, argued Menon. With the conflict creating political and social divides, the artist expresses a slight apprehension. “All parties need to understand that we only want the city to survive and thrive.”

here comes the sun

An illustration of the sunny part of July 8th.  Pic Courtesy/
An illustration of the sunny part of July 8th. Pic Courtesy/

It might not have been the case in Mumbai, but yesterday there was a moment of celestial magic hidden in it. Despite the dark clouds, it was a day when 99% of the world’s population was exposed to the sun. Arvind Paranjpye (inset), director of the Nehru Planetarium, remarked: “Every year there comes a time when the earth’s axis is tilted in such a way that the maximum part is illuminated by the sun.”

The event, which happened at 7:15 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time or 4:30 p.m. India Standard Time, saw 7.7 billion people experience the sunlight. Before we could be surprised, Paranjpye reminded us: “Earth’s orbit is elliptical. That’s why it’s such a rare event. It’s part of the magic. The Center for International Earth Science Information Network, New York, noted that 6.4 billion people have experienced daylight; 1.3 billion witnessed Twilight. With overcast skies above the city, few people would have noticed anyway.

Legal history

The subject of the online conference organized by KR Cama Oriental Institute next week is a fascinating account of the city’s legal past. Session moderator Yogesh Kamdar (pictured) told this columnist, “The Bombay Legal Aid Society was a wonderful legal arrangement to help the city’s poor and illiterate escape injustice.” The lecture, led by Dr Alastair McClure of the University of Hong Kong, will focus on the history of a movement that sadly died out in the 1970s.

love, falcon

A ticket to Wimbledon;  (right) Rufus.  Photo courtesy/@RufusTheHawk on Twitter
A ticket to Wimbledon; (right) Rufus. Photo courtesy/@RufusTheHawk on Twitter

No matter how the final turns out, this columnist will be very disappointed to miss the adventures of a new star at the Championships. Neither Rafael Nadal, Nick Kyrgios or Novak Djokovic has earned the applause this year like Rufus the hawk has. A regular presence at Wimbledon, fans recognize the name of his many TV appearances, or the fun social media feed on Twitter. The 15-year-old Harris Hawk has kept the lawns free of rodents, pigeons and other intruders since 1999. Now close to retirement, the bird has earned a place in Wimbledon history denied even to Roger Federer – a permanent marker on the ticket to The Championships.

A story of kisses and crimes

Who doesn’t love the thrill of a budding romance saga turning into a detective novel? Mumbai-born and raised author Ashok Banker’s recently published book, A Kiss After Dying, follows Hannah and her love, Ricky. Everything is rosy until Hannah acts on her knowledge of a secret. Of an anti-heroine essay, Banker shared with this reporter, “Hannah is an avenging angel at the dawn of Gen Z and the millennium. She’s not going to sit back and allow a billionaire to get away with what he’s done to his family and several other families. The writer added that just like him, his protagonist is an Anglo-Indian of Luso-Goanese origin, “so I could freely draw on my culture”. Banker said with a library of easy-to-access entertainment, it’s hard not to be inspired. “I am a follower of the connection of things. No art exists in a vacuum. I love watching shows like Killing Eve, and the title of my book is based on the classic, A Kiss Before Dying,” he remarked, calling the book a gendered narrative that is informed and influenced by music, literature, fashion and attitudes of today.


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