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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Mumbai’s Superhero

mumbai Updated: Oct 06, 2019 06:31 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Zoru Bhathena and Stalin D.
Zoru Bhathena and Stalin D.
         

“Friends, an epic hearing in the Aarey matters concluded today before the Bombay High Court. The matters are reserved for judgment, which may come later this week, or the week thereafter. Must say a big thank you to all our counsels, who have argued these matters for free, and have given it their very best... let’s keep our fingers crossed, but let’s also not forget that, irrespective of the outcome, this battle will soon move before the Supreme Court.” And with those words, leading environment activist Zoru Bhathena, the man who is said to be the lightening rod that electrified millions of ordinary citizens to come together against environment destruction, with peaceful protests, thanked his legal team of Gayatri Singh, Janak Dwarkadas, Sonal, Zaman, Rishika, Manoj, Ronita, Kruti, Kainaz, saving fulsome praise for his colleague Stalin Dayanand, who is leading the cause of Aarey’s forests (“It has been a privilege to be part of this epic battle. I salute you Stalin”)

What now? We asked Bhathena whose zeal in championing the greater good reminds one of the mythical superheroes of popular culture. (Zoru even has a super hero sound to it...)

“The battle to Save Aarey has been an epic battle, which has ignited a fierce passion to save our city from further destruction, in the name of devil-opment,” said the affable Parsi professional and family man, when he is not taking on the mighty and powerful. “Never before has Mumbai seen such a level of protests for any cause, week-after-week-after-week. Mumbaiites have realised that we all need a Metro, but a depot need not be built at such a high environmental cost to the city.” He explained with his characteristic patience and civility. “The benefits of a Metro are visible to all, but citizens have realised that the needless destruction of Aarey, in the name of Metro, is something that is hidden from plain sight; and it is something that will adversely affect our beloved city for decades to come.”

Still, now that Bhathena and his colleagues have done all they can to press their case and with the matter now resting with the honourable judges, Bhathena could take a moment’s respite to look back at the popular grassroots citizen’s uprising that he helped create. “It is has been an honour to be part of this epic battle to save Aarey, which will certainly go down in the annals of history,” he said.

The Politics of Clothes

A model presents a creation by designer Satoshi Kondo during Paris Fashion Week.
A model presents a creation by designer Satoshi Kondo during Paris Fashion Week. ( REUTERS )

Could a fashion show featuring beautiful young women in raspberry pink, lime green and lilac dresses on a Paris runway be a political statement? Issey Miyake’s new women’s wear designer Satoshi Kondo, whose game-changing path-breaking show of the label’s ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2020 collection at the recently concluded Paris Fashion week appears to have effortlessly answered the question in the affirmative.

There were so many innovations and fresh new approaches in the show that one hardly knows where to begin. First of all eschewing the tried-and-tested venues the show was held at a former 19th century mortuary; then, rather than the models marching single-file with the time-tested dead-pan expressions on their faces, the show had them dancing, skating, twirling and bobbing up and down to the ethereal sounds of celebrated French artist DeLaurentis; technical innovations such as a pulley system, which dropped gowns on to waiting models, or harnesses that allowed them to twirl magically on one foot had the audience cheering wildly.

But of course it was the ideology behind the clothes and show that was the big idea which has captured public imagination: Kondo’s models, rather than the grim wraithlike figures in hard to wear and constricting outfits were presented as strong, joyful women who pranced, jumped, spun and skated with a joie de vivre and ease which has hitherto been missing from fashion runways; Kondo and his team seemed to understand that women wanted to break from their shackles and express themselves and their lives with ease and confidence. His clothes and models spoke for a new type of woman who displayed solidarity, strength ease and dynamism even as they evoked gasps of awe and wonder at their beauty.

It might have been a fashion show at a fashion week in Europe, but in our reckoning it was one of the more edifying political statements of our times.

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Of Lingam Benches and Sadhgurus

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and Ashiesh Shah at the exhibition.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and Ashiesh Shah at the exhibition.

“He looked at the installation... then looked at me and said ‘Shiva’. I was spellbound... I requested him to sit on the lingam bench and asked him to concentrate on the halo of light behind the glass vitrine holding the Mahatma’s Asthi,” it was Mumbai’s celebrity architect Ashiesh Shah, reporting about Monday night’s opening of Santhati: Mahatma Gandhi. Then. Now. Next. at the NGMA , and how the event’s chief guest Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev had reacted to Shah’s celebrated ‘Lingam Bench’.

“He looked at it and joined his hands and the asked me about my association with Shiva,” said an overawed Shah. “I had used the word Shivlinga and he explained how it was always known as the Lingam and the Shiva was added by the northern region of India.”

This was not the only exchange that occurred between the highflying guru and the architect even as the city’s cultural and social cognoscenti had milled around at the well-attended event.

“We also discussed the geometry of the lingam and he explained to me how it is the origin of the universe since the Big Bang and it was India that had recognised the form and not invented it...” said Shah.

The exhibition will be on till 15 November.

First Published: Oct 03, 2019 00:55 IST

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