Make in India, lose en route

When we met our friend, the Delhi-based designer Rina Dhaka at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Byculla, for Shaina NC's Banarasi Textiles Revival Movement, in the presence of Chief Secretary Maharashtra — Shri Swadheen Kshatriya; Minister of State for the Ministry of Textiles — Santosh Gangwar, and Chandrakant Dada Patil amongst others, she told us the trauma time she'd faced in the past few days on account of negligent courier companies.

Rina Dhaka (extreme left) with Shruti Sancheti, Shaina NC and others at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
Rina Dhaka (extreme left) with Shruti Sancheti, Shaina NC and others at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

"I remember when it was 47.5 degrees centigrade in June and feeling like an egg being cooked atop my head, while I worked with a cluster of weavers, over a haze of pink gold, my collection of Banarasi saris for this exhibition — they came out so well that I was scared to touch their delicacy," she said.

Chief Secretary Maharashtra Swadheen Kshatriya, Minister of Textiles — Maharashtra Chandrakant Dada Patil, Minister of Textiles (Independent Charge) Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Shaina NC, director of the museum Tasneem Mehta and actor Jackie Shroff at the inauguration of the Banarasi Textiles Revival Movement
Chief Secretary Maharashtra Swadheen Kshatriya, Minister of Textiles — Maharashtra Chandrakant Dada Patil, Minister of Textiles (Independent Charge) Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Shaina NC, director of the museum Tasneem Mehta and actor Jackie Shroff at the inauguration of the Banarasi Textiles Revival Movement 

"I gave in to the reluctant pressure of dispatch by courier, and that's when my life turned upside down," she said about the loss of these precious textiles by First Flight, the courier company.

Shaina NC with Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao at the show
Shaina NC with Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao at the show

"Despite my 100 calls, unanswered emails and my team's ritual visits over 5 days to their office, along with Shaina's team having chased up in Mumbai — we have still not received any response from them. It took 3 months to complete, and a few minutes to lose them," she said.

To her credit though, because she had followed SOP, and worked on 10 extra outfits, she could keep up her side of commitment to the enterprise. But Minister Saheb what's the use of 'Make in India' if efforts are sabotaged by irresponsible courier companies in the end?

Fire at the Table
News comes in that Colaba's popular restaurant and eatery, The Table, had a fire incident on Saturday. Patrons had to vacate the premises as the fire brigade and police was called in. A lot of smoke had collected in the restaurant and it was hard to breathe without a mask.

Gauri Devidayal and Jay Yousuf
Gauri Devidayal and Jay Yousuf

The restaurant, which is popular for its Sunday brunch, remained closed thereafter and was not answering calls. Owners Gauri Devidayal and husband Jay Yousuf, who are on their annual vacation in America, were also unreachable for more details. We do hope the restaurant recovers soon to take its place in SoBo's smorgasbord of epicurean delights.

RIP Ajay Mafatlal
It is with sadness that we note the passing of businessman, Ajay Mafatlal, who had been in college with us many years ago. We hadn't been close in college and had only met sporadically after that, but we had watched from a distance how the scion of an erstwhile corporate leader had lived a life of spunk and spine, never giving in to challenges, till the very last.

Ajay Mafatlal
Ajay Mafatlal

On the few occasions we had met him, Ajay had been full of fantastic new business plans, and had dismissed the well known internecine wranglings as not worthy of mention. We hope that at least in his death people will afford him the dignity he deserves, and in this the year of Caitlyn Jenner's profound statement for transgenders, people set aside their more spurious interest in his life and decisions. Our condolences to the family.

Architecture in the political narrative
Like many others, we are eagerly looking forward to the National Gallery of Modern Art series of talks, events and exhibitions, on contemporary architecture in India and South Asia slated for early next year, co-curated by architect Rahul Mehrotra, cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote, and architecture critic Kaiwan Mehta.

Rahul Mehrotra
Rahul Mehrotra

And that's because Mehrotra, Founder of RMA Architects, professor of urban design and planning at Harvard University, articulated the unease on recent trends in urban development many feel, in an interview to Live Mint over the weekend. "I have no idea what a smart city means, because this is a universal term that has no real value, except for the people who are sloshing capital around.

The problem with smart cities is that they are founded on capital and investment, but don't consider the human being as part of this equation," he said, adding, "People say a smart city is one that uses technology to create connectivity and efficiencies. So I can stand at a bus stop and know that the bus is going to arrive in 10 minutes, and that'll save me 10 minutes, but if it's an inhuman city then I'm not interested in saving those 10 minutes".

'Dilli gup shup'
Our friend, the businessman who perennially has one leg in Delhi, one in Mumbai and the rest of what's left, on a Jet Air Business Class Cabin many miles up in the air, was beside himself with excitement. "It's falling apart. 'The centre cannot hold,'" he said, adding "as Eliot once said," and then gulped down his third Black Label.

Not Eliot, WB Yeats, we wanted to say, but we let it pass. "The two big satraps are pursuing their own agendas," he said. (For some reason Mumbai businessmen think every hack has an inside track on 'Dilli gupshup', as in 'Boss, dilli me kya ho raha hain?') This time, we let him tell us.

"The elder one and his son have taken control of the bureaucracy and the younger of the media and judiciary, and the main guy can't do any thing about it," he said, once more adding, "as Dickens had said 'something is rotten in the state' of Delhi'". Shakespeare, we wanted to say, but let it pass.

America calling
A source called up to inform that Rohan (Ellipses) Talwar, is eyeing in the international restaurant scene. "Though his initial preference was New York, to open up a branch of his SoBo eatery, apparently the Jewish lobby made it impossible for him to acquire a suitable venue.

Rohan Talwar
Rohan Talwar

He has now moved to LA and is having better luck," we were told. So following news of Ellipses' new Bakery in Worli modelled on New York's Momofoku Milk Bar, we expect more news soon of another Ellipses opening shop on the West coast of America.

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