Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier

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

Nautical notes with Amitav Ghosh
Now that the dust has settled after the social media-hooked literary brigade have shared their ‘sightings’ and selfies with the prize winners from Tuesday night’s book award ceremony, it’s time to raise a toast to the winners.

Among them was Amitav Ghosh who won the jury award (Fiction) in the fiery finale to The Ibis Trilogy — Flood of Fire. This diarist recalls picking the celebrated author’s brains last year, when he was in the city as part of the book tour for his bestseller. His brilliance in the craft of historical fiction is well-known but his mastery over several languages and dialects, not to forget a strong command over nautical terminology in particular, wowed us throughout the plot.

Eager to know about the origins of such fluency, we prodded Ghosh, to which he replied, “I grew up in Sri Lanka, where it’s spoken freely. Sri Lanka (Ceylon) was an important stop for wayfarers and traders. Interestingly, I came across similar phraseology in Mauritius as well.” Well, now you know.

It ain’t just Shilpa who erred
Thankfully, this time no one will lose their job unless someone writes tweets for Shabana Azmi. Close on the heels of Shilpa Shetty’s uninformed comment about George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm, Azmi has made a tweet, which is plain disappointing.

The veteran actress reposted Sr Irfan Habib’s tweet remembering scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose on his birth anniversary with the comment that Tapan Sinha’s Ek Doctor Ki Maut was based on him. That, of course, is far from the truth. The film was set in a post-independence India with a narrative that sheds light on bureaucratic hurdles and political meddling in science.

It is loosely based on the life of Dr Subhash Mukhopadhyay, an Indian physician who pioneered in-vitro fertilisation, but was led to suicide due to government harassment. Azmi played the wife of the scientist in the film. But his story seems to have been lost on her.

Yuvi goes regal
Back in 2008, Yuvraj Singh wore an achkan for the first time when he walked the runway for Raghavendra Rathore in Delhi. Now, there’s one more Rathore creation in Yuvi’s wardrobe, one that he will be donning for one of his wedding celebrations. He’ll be decked in a blue velvet bandhgala jacket paired with Jodhpuri breeches.

Apparently, the designer has handcrafted blue, jewelled buttons on the bandhgala to give him a regal look. “His inputs in creation of the classic blue (also the colour synonymous with Jodhpur) bandhgala were crucial. He emphasised on the fit and the cut and helped in deciding the buttons,” shares the designer.

When the gown let Sonam down


Pic/Poonam Bathija

Actress Sonam Kapoor’s gown got her in a tangle at an event in Andheri yesterday, as industrialists Tapan Singhel (left) and Saurav Bhattacharya looked on.

Green memoir
A leading publishing house recently announced the acquisition of environmentalist Sunita Narain’s book, Conflicts of Interest: My Journey through India’s Green Movement.

Apart from the environmental challenges that the country faces today, Narain (in pic) will also write about the controversies her research has triggered.

“This book is personal. It is about my struggles to push for a cleaner environment, from battling the cola giants to diesel interests to mindsets that do not accept different ways of doing business, to managing forests, wildlife, even water,” she said.

Camping with music in Alibaug
Nariyal Paani, Alibaug’s music festival, is all set for the third edition, where an assorted list of Indian and international independent artistes will be performing original music. The fiesta will celebrate all genres; Jazz, Folk, Reggae and Hip Hop. Some of the interesting artistes in the line-up are Donn Bhat + Passenger Revelator, Fiddler’s Green and Bellatrix.

A camping site at an earlier edition of the music fest
A camping site at an earlier edition of the music fest

The eco-friendly festival is based on the free-spirited bohemian energy using only biodegradable materials. The planners of the event also celebrate art, delicious food and craft beer. They select only those vendors who follow the eco-friendly rules. Local communities in the surrounding villages are hired by the festivals to nurture economic growth.

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