Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier

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

Malaysian dream run
Mumbaikars who feel dreams rarely come true should meet Shahen Hansotia and Sebastian Joseph, a rare two-legged Mumbai breed, who live and breath motorsport of the two-wheeler kind.

Chembur's Sebastian Joseph (left) and Jogeshwari resident Shahen Hansotia all pumped up at the recent Shell Malaysian MotoGP at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Pic/Ashwin Ferro
Chembur's Sebastian Joseph (left) and Jogeshwari resident Shahen Hansotia all pumped up at the recent Shell Malaysian MotoGP at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Pic/Ashwin Ferro

Recently, the duo, in their words, “became a part of history when they witnessed the most controversial moment in Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) history” at Sepang when Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi seemingly kicked Honda’s Marc Marquez out of the race in Lap 6.

Thirty-year-old Jogeshwari resident Hansotia and 24-year-old Chembur lad, Joseph, were busy with their sports management and catering jobs, respectively, when a mid-afternoon call a few weeks ago “changed their lives.” The two had won an online contest by Mahindra Racing that included a fully paid trip to the Sepang Grand Prix.

The duo along with two other winners, Vibhav Rao from Bangalore and Vishal Karwasra from Jaipur, spent the last weekend living their MotoGP dream in Sepang. “That call changed my life. I could never have even imagined watching my idols, Rossi and (Yamaha’s Jorge) Lorenzo up close and personal.

The memories are enough to last a lifetime,” said Joseph. Hansotia, who owns a pricey Triumph Daytona motorbike, is back home and pumped up thanks, to Rossi & Co, but promises not to be reckless. “This MotoGP experience has taught me to respect speed and life.

These drivers follow every safety measure in the book. There have been a spate of accidents and deaths in Mumbai due to reckless bike riding. I hope, one day, we can boot out dangerous riding from our streets, just like Rossi booted out Marquez,” said Hansotia, tongue firmly in cheek.

The Greer-Seth Show
The opening ceremony of the Tata Literature Live! at NCPA turned out to be a discussion of topics far removed from the session planned on ‘Can Books Change the World?’, like the right to abortion and poems on invertebrates.

Germaine Greer during her session with Vikram Seth at the Tata Literature Live! yesterday
Germaine Greer during her session with Vikram Seth at the Tata Literature Live! yesterday

Authors Germaine Greer and Vikram Seth revealed that they couldn’t list books that have changed the world. “Some of the most comprehensible books are the most powerful,” said Greer, alluding to how many readers a book eventually draws, much like EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey.

Poet-author Vikram Seth wowed the audience during a poetry reading session on the first day at the Tata Literature Live! last evening. Prior to this, the literary icon was felicatated with the Poet Laureate Award. Pic/Ajinkya Sawant
Poet-author Vikram Seth wowed the audience during a poetry reading session on the first day at the Tata Literature Live! last evening. Prior to this, the literary icon was felicatated with the Poet Laureate Award. Pic/Ajinkya Sawant

Both speakers said when they were contacted by festival director Anil Dharkar to speak on the five books that changed the world, they felt it was the worst idea! Dharkar had to even feed the authors with a few book names, “Maybe, like Mahatma Gandhi’s My Experiments with Truth? You can’t just abandon the topic like you have,” he said to laughter.

But both continued to discuss exactly what they pleased, entertaining for the audience. If this is a sign of things to come, this diarist can’t wait for the rest of the festival.

Do we need Mein Kampf?
With the effective post-war ban on the publication of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf in Germany expiring in January 2016, reports have started trickling in about a debate raging in Germany about whether the anti-Semitic manifesto should be reprinted next year.

Orna Sagiv; (right) A signed copy of a first edition of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf on display at Bloomsbury auction house, London. Pic/AFP
Orna Sagiv; (right) A signed copy of a first edition of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf on display at Bloomsbury auction house, London. Pic/AFP

These reports made us rewind to Mumbai, January 27, 2011. A programme was held to mark International Holocaust Day at National College, Bandra (W). Then, Israel Consul General Orna Sagiv gave a presentation to students of the Bandra institution.

Towards the end, she made a strong appeal to Mumbai, saying, “Whenever I visit famous bookstores in Mumbai, I see Adolf Hitler’s copy of the Mein Kampf on shelves. I ask owners why they stock this book, which is full of racist hate and rubbish.

They tell me it is a bestseller. I can’t figure how it can be a bestseller in this country. I also spot it being sold at road signals, and of youth sporting T-shirts with Hitler’s face on them. I don’t understand this. Maybe one of you can tell me.”

That’s my girl!
Actress Kajol shares a warm moment with a little girl at an event to unveil a new film for the Help a Child Reach 5 campaign that advocates handwashing with soap.

Pic/Bipin Kokate
Pic/Bipin Kokate

The actress is ambassador for the initiative.

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