>> Whereas we are thrilled that Mumbai boy and Canada-based author Rohinton Mistry has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Neustadt International Prize for Literature (previous winners have been the likes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Octavio Paz and Max Frisch) we have a confession to make: we prefer Mistry’s singing to his writing! For those who are not aware of the musical talent of the celebrated author of such books as Such a Fine Balance and Family Matters, we must hasten to explain that back in the ‘70s when the world was young and the grass was grown in Himachal, Mumbai was the scene of some very vibrant rock concerts. Those were the days when Remo Fernandez, my sister Devieka Bhojwani and Sharon Prabhakar sang sweet and soulful protest songs about the Vietnam War, Bangladesh and other issues. The highlight of those evenings was the two Ronnies.
Two very different Parsi boys who would separately do covers of Dylan anthems in very distinctive styles. Debate was always rife about who did Dylan better. Well, my choice was Ronnie Mistry. (Ronnie Desai though equally talented, did Dylan with a darkly mischievous spike). And then the ‘70s disappeared into yuppiness and it was only decades later that I realised that the soulful troubadour of Dylan’s melodies had immigrated and become the celebrated author whose books we like — but whose singing we sorely miss. Come home Rohinton. And bring your Dylan music sheets when you do! And, congrats for winning the Neustadt Prize. Singers of that era earned pennies — and a free chai at the Xavier’s canteen!
>> Yesterday marked the second death anniversary of Geetu Hinduja’s youngest sibling Jyoti. And the gallerist singer writer paid homage to it by posting her song Hope, Faith Time and Me written by Jyoti and composed by her on a social networking site.
“She died fighting breast cancer when she was just 38-years-old, two years ago,” says Geetu, “And she dealt with her impending death and mortality in a way that was far beyond her years. I remember her in a way that always celebrates the spirit with which she lived and died.” Hinduja will launch her album of the same name on September 6 at Blue Frog, Mumbai. “I have dedicated this album to her,” says Geetu. “It is the title song of the album and it is a song that Jyoti wrote about her journey with cancer.”
Ab dilli door nahin
>> We recall being intrigued by a blind item a while ago regarding a Delhi based arms dealer who was allegedly wooing a married Mumbai- based socialite. Whereas the identity of the gentleman was known to us, the woman in question remained a mystery. Well, now, matters are clearer ever since the lady has reportedly moved into his Delhi farmhouse and is playing housekeeper and hostess and partner for all practical purposes. She happens to be the wife of a Mumbai-based biz man who used to be closely associated (read bag man) with the scion of an erstwhile royal family. “Her absence in the Mumbai kitty party circuit is sorely felt,” our informant says.
>> We were particularly pleased to receive former MiD DAY Chairman Khalid A-H Ansari’s magnificent tome on Sachin Tendulkar Sachin Born To Bat, edited by our MiD DAY colleague, its ace sports editor Clayton Murzello.
Like every thing Ansari does this too is ‘zara hatke’. Rather than a straight out cricketing book, this one will appeal to even some one unfamiliar with the sport. And that’s because Ansari in his inimitable way has imbued the book with a deeply probing academic curiosity about the universal human spirit and the nature of champions — as a Stanford alumni would. “I have long been intrigued by the fascinating conundrum of what makes a champion,” writes Khalid in the prologue, “Not merely in sport but in any walk of life. In other words, what are the qualities that foster extraordinary, and at times awesome achievement?”
And throughout the book the author attempts to excavate the psyche of extraordinary individuals as quoting form Nelson Mandela, authorities from Sydney University’s Centre for the Mind, and even Tony Blair.
One of our fondest memories as a rookie reporter and sub were of coming into the MiD DAY office early mornings to put the day’s paper to bed and bumping in to a swashbuckling Khalid in sparkling white sports-gear just off the squash court! In keeping with this alpha male sensibility, the book is dedicated to the memory of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, another extraordinary gentleman if ever there was one! We like!
Of beds and bad boys
>> So who was the winsome lass spotted with Pakistani fast bowler and eternal brat packer Shoaib Akhtar over the weekend at Bangkok’s hot and happening Bed supper club? From all accounts she looked Indian and very pretty, informs a fellow reveler.
And that a tired and emotional Akhtar (read sozzled out of his mind) couldn’t keep his hands off her! Is this another notorious sub-continental cross border linkup?