Mumbai Dairy: Sunday Shorts

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

INDIA’S cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar was never known to be generous to bowlers, but a recent interaction with UAE-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Shyam Bhatia has revealed that the cricket great is quite a generous personality off the field.


RIGHT: An India tie, cap and crest donated by Sunil Gavaskar at the museum in Dubai PIC/SUBODH MAYURE

Bhatia has an impressive cricket museum that boasts of a fine collection of bats, balls, jerseys and other memorabilia at his Dubai residence, all autographed by some of the world’s leading cricketers. He told a bunch of touring Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai (SJAM) scribes earlier this week that his collection would have been incomplete had it not been for India’s first Little Master.

“I have a collection of caps and ties of most Test-playing nations which I managed to procure from their respective boards over a period of time. However, somehow I could not get my hands on an India blazer and cap, despite writing to the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) a couple of times. That’s when I requested my dear friend, Sunny. He promptly gave me a cap, 1976 tie and crest and that remains one of my most prized possessions at the museum,” said Bhatia. Besides India, the wall has caps and ties from Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and West Indies.

Indian farmers head to Milan
KUMUD Dadlani of Slow Food India is busy finding funding to take her 11th farmer to Milan for the Universal Expo, which celebrates the theme of food this year. The expo, which dates back to 9th century, has invited small-scale producers from all over the world to discuss alternative sources of food, is meat important, and can we change our diet?

Her list includes farmers from Karnataka, Rajasthan, Delhi, Shillong and Maharahstra, with a good mix of urban farmers like Gaurav Gurjar, who recently worked on Delhi’s first urban forest, and grass-root farmers like Aravindan Neelamegam from Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu, who is an organic producer of millets, pulses, groundnut, and maize. Kegitar Lyngkhoi (in pic) from Shillong instructs people about the importance of eating local food.

“I have managed to buy tickets for 10 farmers, and am falling short for the 11th one. Maybe someone rich will come along and help,” says Dadlani. Anyone listening?

Joining the Gulf art scene
ARTIST Jaideep Mehrotra (right) has completed a series of five canvases and eight sculptural works using books as his theme, and called the collection Cognitivus. Drawing on the physicality of books and their abstractness as objects of memory and intellect, this set has been specially made for an upcoming international art fair.

Cognitivus will travel to Bahrain’s first-ever international art fair, starting on October 14. On for just three days, with a preview on the 13th, the fair has been set up under the patronage of Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of the Bahraini ruler. Mehrotra is among four Indians, on invitation, to exhibit. Others are Delhi artists Binoy Varghese and Satish Gupta, as well as Paris-based Indian artist Sujata Bajaj. Sharing solo-booth limelight with prominent Bahrani artists like Jamal Abdul Rahim, our talent is all set to show and sell.

A drink to remember
IT ALL began in July this year when lovers of Old Monk were jolted out of their reverie with the rumour that the drink might be taken off shelves.

As a tribute, Dannel Gomes, Arjun Rao, Rohit Rajan and Yash Verma, who work for a media firm, decided to make a 10-minute short film starring Sanjay Mishra and Jeetu Shastri. Cheers is about two pals, Pinto and Sawant who have been sharing a drink every day for 30 years. “Even while Mishra was shooting, he was sipping on his drink,” laughs Rohit Ranjan, writer. The film will release on YouTube in mid-October.

Kochhar’s homecoming
THE guru of modern Indian cuisine, Britain-based Atul Kochhar, is now finally returning to his roots and opening up two restaurants in Mumbai.

Kochhar

“I have been thinking of returning to my motherland — this is my calling,” he told us over email. NRI will have a menu made up of Indian recipes that have grown outside India, like roti canai and zeera chicken, and Lima will be a bar that offers simple Peruvian/Latin food. The seasoned chef has no apprehensions about a crowded hospitality market. “I am here to start at the bottom of the chain and willing to work hard and learn. I look up to many food heroes who have have made some significant changes to the Indian food scene. People like AD Singh, Riyaaz Amlani, Rahul Akerkar and Jiggs Kalra are an inspiration.” But it’s his father who was his biggest support, “His cooking was rustic Indian but the flavours were so clear and sharp, I still try to copy them. His simple but finicky ways of buying local and seasonal food has influenced how I think about food.” And his own Mumbai food favourites are vada pav and pav bhaji. “I love Mumbai. This place is full of surprises.”

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