Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier

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

Will-Kat do their homework
The homework is thorough, and the run-up has been impressive. This photograph shows Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, attending a reception at Kensington Palace, London earlier this week. Before you ask, ‘But aren’t all royals supposed to do that?’ Well, this reception was different.


It was held to meet young people from India and Bhutan living, studying or working in the UK. It comes as a precursor to their tour to both countries. After Mumbai, the couple head to Delhi, Assam and finally fly off to scenic Bhutan. Pretty obvious that the royal couple seem to be taking their trip seriously. Going by their smiles, we think they liked this research session.

Will the shoe fit?

Pic/Suresh Karkera

Fresh off a hectic World T20 campaign, MS Dhoni engaged in retail therapy at a Lower Parel mall. Come next week, and he will don the colours of a new team, Rising Pune Supergiants for the ninth season of the IPL after captaining Chennai Super Kings. Hip hairdo aside, we hope the new team will bring him luck.

Desi royal jewels on auction in UK
For those who believe that the UK robbed us of our jewels during the Raj, read this. Global auction house Bonhams will offer a collection of jewels belonging to an Indian royal family at its Indian and Islamic sale on April 19.

Jewel encrusted dagger
Jewel encrusted dagger

The UK-based family who wish to remain anonymous, will part with many treasures that have been in their possession for generations, including a jewel encrusted dagger (in pic), and an emerald and diamond-set belt buckle.

The manga malai necklace, one of the highlights — is lavishly set with rubies and diamonds, and estimated at £50,000-70,000. The dagger decorated with gold, rubies and diamonds has a hilt rarely produced in Mughal India. It is estimated at £30,000-50,000.

Look who's hit the gym

With #STANDWITHMARIA and #LETMARIAPLAY doing the rounds to get the Russian hottie back on the court, Maria Sharapova seems content hitting the gym until there’s good news on that front. PIC COURTESY/MARIA SHARAPOVA’s twitter account

Experiment gone wrong
Chef Stephen Gomes threw open Chemistry 101, his Lower Parel restaurant, on Wednesday, but with a warning that stood at the entrance: Still dressing up, please bear with us!

(Left-right) Chef Stephen Gomes, Niva Von Weisl and Rashmi Uday Singh
(Left-right) Chef Stephen Gomes, Niva Von Weisl and Rashmi Uday Singh

Flaunting a black bandana, the Indian chef who has spent the last 15 years in the UK earning quite the reputation, greeted us with another disclaimer: “I’ve landed less than 48 hours ago, so bear with me. Have you got your menus yet?” Nah, we said.

“Welcome to Chemistry 101,” he said in jest. We liked how he put us at ease. Sadly, the joke was on the team when the much-awaited special menu of the evening.

The meal was characterised by long delays and confused service time. While the enthusiastic stewards did their best, it was evident that a few lessons in training were yet to come. They even mistook the palate cleanser for dessert.

While there were hits, in the form of the ratatouille puree and pav, minced log with black sesame soil and the jalebi macaroon, the misses included rice that was supposed to ‘change colour’ but didn’t, a bland pulav and an underwhelming chicken kiev.

For a jetlagged Gomes who jumped into the hot pan (it was 8°C back home in Cardiff where he runs Moksh, when Mumbai was sweltering at 30°C), whipping up service without a good night’s rest, we wouldn’t write him off just yet. With his kind of experience, this might just be what they famously call teething problems.

On a brighter note, the evening, hosted by Niva Von Weisl, managing director of bulthaup India that is in the midst of designing Nita Ambani’s kitchen, we hear, had a celebratory tone. Food critic Rashmi Uday Singh, who recently received the French Knighthood of Chevalier Order des Arts and des Lettres, was felicitated and the who’s who of town was there to support her and Gomes.

La Folie’s Sanjana Patel and chocalatier Zeba Kohli were in the company of Nawaz Modi Singhania, Sabira Merchant, Kim Sharma, Aarti and Kailash Surendranath, Nadir and wife Rati Godrej.

Goodbye Okie From Muskogee
Imagine bidding life goodbye on your birthday. That’s what happened to Country music singer Merle Haggard on his 79th on Wednesday. Haggard was an icon, much like the deceased Johnny Cash and near as prolific as the still-rocking Willie Nelson.

Their music lit up living rooms the world over, including India. It was not uncommon to find a green Merle Haggard Greatest Hits record or CD at music shops in Mumbai. His most enduring hit was Okie From Muskogee, but what probably got us teary-eyed was Mama Tried. If you haven't listened to it, here are some lyrics:

Dear old Daddy, rest his soul
Left my mom a heavy load
She tried so very hard to fill his shoes
Working hours without rest
Wanted me to have the best
She tried to raise me right but I refused
And I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole
No one could steer me right but Mama tried, Mama tried
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied
That leaves only me to blame ‘cause Mama tried
Miss you, Merle Haggard.

Pillars of support for IM Kadri

Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Suniel Shetty with his son Ahaan (left) and father-in-law IM Kadri (second, right) whose book, The Architecture of IM Kadri by Kaiwan Mehta was released yesterday at Nehru Centre — one of Kadri’s most famous designs.

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