Magic Evening

>> The Magic Bus Second Benefit to raise enough resources to reach 50,000 children in Maharashtra was a grand affair last Friday night at the Taj. With the ever charming Karan Johar playing master of ceremonies, India's leading standup comedian Vir Das agreeing to do a spot and Nita Ambani as chief guest, you couldn’t go wrong.

Matthew Spacie, founder of Magic Bus, who has done a great job addressing the issue of poverty and lack of opportunity for slum children, said, “Magic Bus is trying to create a scalable program which addresses all the key ingredients in a child's life, such as education, health and livelihood to ensure they move out of poverty. We currently have quarter of a million children who live in poverty on the journey from childhood to livelihood.

Mahesh Bhupathi and Lara Dutta, Nita Ambani, Ramona Narang
Mahesh Bhupathi and Lara Dutta, Nita Ambani, Ramona Narang

With the support of organisations like UNICEF and the World Bank we have created a viable solution that ensures children can become successful adults.” Looking around the Crystal room we spotted some of Mumbai’s leading denizens who had come out to lend their support like Sourav Ganguly, Lara Dutta and Mahesh Bhupathi, Dino Morea, Rahul Bose, Anaita Shroff & Homi Adajania, Natasha and Adaar Poonawalla, Rhea Pillai, and Ashok and Reena Wadhwa.

Vir Das and Rahul Bose pose
Vir Das and Rahul Bose pose for the shutterbugs

The packed hall was a tribute to the tireless work put in by the likes of Bijal Meswani, Chair of the Events Committee and editor L’Officiel Superna Motwane events committee member, who enjoy tremendous goodwill in Mumbai. One of those heartwarming events in Mumbai that goes way beyond just the social and superficial.

Parliamentary behaviour
>> Saturday morning saw us attend Milind Deora’s ‘Youth Parliament’ at the Convocation Hall of the Bombay Stock Exchange. The Youth Parliament is an annual parliament visit, which exposes students from Mumbai to experience a day in the Indian Parliament in New Delhi during the winter session. Eighty students from 20 colleges participated in the parliamentary proceedings this year.

Milind Deora

Speaking at the event, South Mumbai MP and Minister of State, Communications and Information Technology Milind Deora who we have watched in action in parliament said, “Today’s students are the future leaders of our country and it is our responsibility to expose them to our constitution and governing system.

Youth Parliament at Convocation Hall of Bombay Stock Exchange
Milind Deora at the Youth Parliament at Convocation Hall of Bombay Stock Exchange

The Youth Parliament is a concept, which was born out of this thought; its aim is to give an opportunity for today’s youth to actually experience a behind the scenes look at what a day in Lok-Sabha entails.” Commendable thoughts and aims, we feel, but when we visited the initiative this we saw decorous, students debating civic economic and social issues with sincerity and depth. Perhaps a course in some maara-mari, gaali and shouting would make it more authentic? Just saying…

The Divine Network
>> There are many ways that information travels in Mumbai. Hairdressers, masseurs, domestic staff, colleagues, restaurant hospital and of course, Mumbai’s hyperactive grapevine are all contributors to the jungle network that transmits news at rapid speed. But there’s one more facet in this palpitating network that has come to light-and what’s more, it’s divine: your family pandit. Who else knows of your personal milestones in work and at home? Births, new acquisitions, marriages and deaths? A South Mumbai lady has a funny story to tell on south Mumbai’s dependence on the friendly neighbourhood pundits: “I’ve had a variety of small illnesses this year, so I thought some divine intervention was required to clear the air,” she said. “My yoga instructor has an A-list of clients and I asked him for a pandit to do a havan. He says give me 15 mins and in 15 I have a panditji. I call him and the conversation goes, ‘Friday koh teen havan hai. All along Nepean Sea and Warden Road, by the way, and MRS X (insert top industrialist’s wife’s name) ki birthday ka havan hai! And he mentions names of three other leading society lights in the next five minutes” said my friend; so naturally I’m sold and engage him and he performs a ritual. And I really do feel better after his intervention,” she smiles. Here’s to Mumbai and its name dropping well connected and ubiquitous pundits!

The Rugby Brotherhood
>> With the Bombay Gym’s spectacular winning of the All India Rugby championship 2012 after 10 long years, contested in Kolkata this Saturday, there’s been all round cheer and celebration in one of Mumbai’s most endearing communities: rugby players and lovers.

A game of Rugby on at the Bombay Gymkhana
A game of Rugby on at the Bombay Gymkhana. Representation pic

There’s something irresistibly attractive about grown men who like nothing better than mucking around in the mud in shorts, singing songs like ‘Diana Diana show us yer legs’ between swigs of beer and in general swaggering around on rugby fields.

Ashok Kurien
Ashok Kurien

A hangover of India’s colonial past, Mumbai and Kolkata are bastions of a vibrant Rugby culture. Saturday’s win therefore resulted in the Indian equivalent of hats in the air and a round on the house for all (though if Rugby’s legendary patron Leybourne Callaghan were around that too would have been witnessed). Adman and marketing guru Ashok Kurien retired from the Bombay Gym team but still an ardent rugby lover became all-nostalgic when he heard about the win. “It’s the only game where men truly bond physically to protect their fellow team mates. You risk physical hurt for your brethren. And you also may get hurt and draw blood on the field. But there’s beer and hugs and lifelong friendships thereafter.” And what’s more, he added, “You don’t mess with your team mate’s woman. Its like soldiers on the battlefield.”

As for his ex-team mate, his cousin ad film maker Mahesh Mathai who we caught while boarding the plane to return from Kolkata where he had gone to cheer his mates on he said, “After the win we celebrated in every bar in Kolkata!” We like!

Happy birthday in Heaven!
>> Often we forget what a strange phenomena social networking really is. There you are sharing some of the most banal, poignant, personal and awkward moments of your life with strangers and yet there is such a comfort level that exists between yourself and them. But the most bizarre phenomena on Facebook according to us are the posthumous birthdays.

Gautam Rajadhyaksha
Gautam Rajadhyaksha

What do you do when your Facebook wall blithely announces, “Today is so and so’s birthday” and you know that they’re dead? Something of that happened yesterday when friends and admirers of the late great celebrity photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha were informed that it was his birthday. Naturally there was an outpouring of grief for the talented lensman who had died last year just a few days short of his 61st birthday. People posted their sadness and memories on his wall. Which brings us to that other bizarre social networking phenomenon: why do we assume that once people die they read their Facebook messages and wall posts? You leave your loved one’s your body your lives behind - but take your Facebook identities to Heaven? Whatever. But here’s to you Gautam. Wherever you are, we hope there’s connectivity. 

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