A rush of blood to Mumbai's head

By Wednesday evening, the young and restless grapevine was buzzing with murmurs that a certain Chris Martin, along with his iconic British rock band, Coldplay, was in Mumbai.

Martin had been in Delhi this July, as a representative of The Global Poverty Project, and had done an impromptu gig along with Vishal Dadlani at a Delhi bar, triggering off fan hysteria.

Such was the excitement that this Mumbai outing evoked, that Dadlani had to take to Twitter, “Please, stop asking me about Coldplay being in Mumbai.

File picture of Will Champion, Jonny Buckland, Chris Martin and Guy Berryman of Coldplay. Pic/AFP
File picture of Will Champion, Jonny Buckland, Chris Martin and Guy Berryman of Coldplay. Pic/AFP

I’m not even in town, to start with! I can’t “make you meet them,” sorry!” He tweeted. Meanwhile sources confirmed that the band had indeed spent a night at the Four Seasons on Wednesday but, till now, no one we knew had met them. No one ever said it would be this hard.

Lobster dumplings and Sichuan prawns
ON Wednesday night, all roads led to the Taj Lands End Hotel, for a invited only preview dinner of the re-launched Ming Yang restaurant hosted by General Manager Parveen Chander Kumar.

Owen Roncon and Priya Dutt
Owen Roncon and Priya Dutt

The Sichuan serving restaurant, a Bandra favourite with a long list of loyal customers had been in dire need of a facelift. And with the Taj entrusting architect Edward David Poole to give the eatery a sleek and contemporary ambience, it was time to open its doors again.

Anil Dharker and Farah Khan Ali
Anil Dharker and Farah Khan Ali

The large new imperial dragon as the centrepiece of the restaurant, was the talking point at the preview, as guests posed with it for selfies. Among the food, the lobster asparagus dumplings, garlic and chilli prawns, chicken in mustard sauce were the stand out dishes in the special tasting menu put together by executive chef of the hotel Anirudhya Roy.

The dragon which was the talking point at the venue
The dragon which was the talking point at the venue

Among guests spotted were Priya Dutt and husband Owen Roncon, Baba Siddique and family, Anil Dharker, Atul Kasbekar, Ashish Raheja, Farah Khan Ali and Rahul Narang, as well as Taj upper echelons including senior vice president Farhat Jamal and Mrs. Rakesh Sarna, wife of the new Taj CEO. Said to compete with China house and Royal China, let’s see if this new avatar gets the Taj back in the food game.

Assam’s pretty and lethal export
‘How can something so pretty be so lethal? Bhut Jolokia— the most fiery chilli in the world, grown in Assam’. When we saw this post with the accompanying photograph from Malini Akerker on a social networking site, being chilli fiends ourselves, we called up the food and design maven immediately.

Rahul and Malini Akerkar
Rahul and Malini Akerkar

“I got them from Nature’s Basket,” she said, delighted to connect with a fellow chilli fiend. “I’m pickling them and will send you some in a jar,” said one half of the team that introduced Mumbai to one of its finest dining experiences — Indigo. Incidentally, what’s also pretty and lethal and comes from Assam? Ask Peter Mukerjea that.

Ganpati Bappa Morya!
We know its ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’ time when September comes around and Mumbai begins to gear up to welcome its favorite elephant-headed mascot.

Rima Jain with siblings
Rima Jain with siblings

Building compounds reverberate with the tap-tapping of hammers, fixing cloth to newly assembled mandaps, newspapers carry pictures of the latest trends in Ganesh statues, sheepish staff negotiate leave, their eyes already focused on festive days ahead and friends send out invitations to come over for Ganpati Pujas.

For a city bereft of seasons, it could be said that the Ganpati festival in Mumbai is the closest we come to spring: spring in hearts and a spring in our steps as we brace for humongous crowds, torrential rain and traffic jams. And one of the festival’s enduring rites for us is the annual invitation to attend her Ganpati puja from Rima Jain.

Because Raj Kapoor’s daughter, in the grand tradition of the Kapoors, has carried the legacy of the puja to her married home at Cumballa Hill. ‘Our Ganpatiji Baba is coming home from the 17th to the 27th September, please come and meet him. Our evening aarti is at 7.30 PM every day. Love, Manoj, Rima, Armaan, Aadar,’ she texted. And like the koel heralds the monsoon, it made us realise that indeed it was Ganpati puja time in Mumbai, again.

The bird flies to Asia
“If you are in Hong Kong on the 24th of this month, please come to my book launch event. Bird in a Banyan Tree lands in Asia!” it was the Goa, Delhi based Bina Ramani, an urban gypsy, if there ever was one. “This is the first of four launches in Asia.

Bina Ramani
Bina Ramani

More to follow in Singapore, Malaysia and Bali,” she said about her memoirs of her action packed life, which she said elicited interest from a Hollywood producer for a biopic about her life, to be shot in Mumbai. “There is an ‘after party’ at HK’s hottest new club being hosted by my brothers, Partap and Gulu Lalvani,”said Ramani, adding, “Isn’t timing everything!”

Indeed it is; after many harrowing years, following the murder of Jessica Lal at her nightclub Tamarind Court, Ramani, who’d bravely stood up to the assailants, had been at the receiving end of much state harassment, even spending time at Tihar jail for her brave stand as a witness.

Yesterday, the courts had discharged yet another spurious case against her. Now with a Pan Asian release of her book and a possible biopic, things appear to be coming up roses for Ramani. “I can hardly wait to meet and mingle with my Sindhi clan,” she trilled about the HK visit. “I don’t get to meet many Sindhis here.”

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