Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier

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

Khotachiwadi and Bhel Puri in vogue
Mumbai had a visitor from the fashion world over the weekend. Editor-in-chief of the British edition of Vogue, and also the longest serving editor in British Vogue history, Alexandra Shulman was in town with her partner journalist, David Jenkins.

Alexandra Shulman (with camera) and partner David Jenkins (black tee) soak in the bylanes of Khotachiwadi in Girgaum as designer James Ferreira played host and guide to both visitors; (right) enjoying bhel puri at Maithili Ahluwalia’s homeAlexandra Shulman (with camera) and partner David Jenkins (black tee) soak in the bylanes of Khotachiwadi in Girgaum as designer James Ferreira played host and guide to both visitors; (right) enjoying bhel puri at Maithili Ahluwalia’s home

The duo decided to drop by the Bungalow 8 outpost at Wankhede Stadium, Churchgate, on the suggestion of British curator, Janice Blackburn. During this personal trip to the Maximum City, she seemed to have enjoyed every moment and was quick to upload her exploits across town on Instagram.

Later in the day, Shulman and Jenkins were given a tour of Khotachiwadi by local resident and designer James Ferreira where both were seen soaking in the sights and sounds of this quaint Portugueseinspired neighbourhood. The day ended on a savoury note where Shulman got her wish to savour bhel puri at the residence of Bungalow 8’s Maithili Ahluwalia.

Inside Nandan Nilekani’s mind
Nandan Nilekani and Viral Shah are ready to reboot. We’re kidding. The duo have just released a book, Rebotting India, that looks at a dozen initiatives, where a series of citizen-friendly, high-tech public institutions can deliver low-cost solutions to India’s grand challenges.

Nandan Nilekani

Plenty of research for this title was based on their learnings from creating Aadhaar, the world’s largest social identity programme.

As the tagline — Realising a Billion Aspirations — reads, this should make for an engaging read into the minds of those who are helping reimagine the idea of nation-building.

Hawa Hawa in the air
Remember Hassan Jahangir, the Pakistani pop sensation from the 1980s? No. Remember Hawa Hawa? Rings a bell.

Hassan Jahangir
Hassan Jahangir

Well, even as Ghulam Ali was prevented from performing in Mumbai, this song from across the border, which has survived decades as a favourite during festivals, along with newer entrants like Honey Singh tracks, continued to rule.

Be it Shivaji Park or Andheri, Bandra or Parel, the unmistakable tune could not be missed during Navratri and Ganeshotsav. Is culture tricky to arrest? Encore for Diwali.

Italian ballet, anyone?
If you’ve always wanted to dress up in a tutu and strike a pose a la Natalie Portman from Black Swan, here’s your chance. We hear that Melanie Testa, a well-known Italian gymnast and ballet trainer is in town.

Melanie Testa
Melanie Testa

With over 15 years of professional ballet training experience, she will be teaching kids as well as adults at Dadar’s SNDA (Sumeet Nagdev Dance Arts) Studios. With new batches starting every month, you can log on to www.snda.in for more details.

Being Indian
by Kalki Koechlin Kalki Koechlin was at her honest best over the weekend at Tata Literature Live! that wrapped up yesterday.

Kalki Koechlin
Kalki Koechlin

She was in conversation with Jonathan Gil Harris and Mahesh Rao at the festival on ‘Asli desi kaun?’. On the panel, she spoke of her lineage and school days where she was often stereotyped as French and had to develop an accent just to live up to this reputation.

Speaking about her Indian nationality, she said, “I find it very amusing; sometimes, I play along. It’s fun to do that. I consider myself completely Indian; however, whenever I meet people, they ask me — Is your mom Indian, or your father or grandfather?”

When Medha Patkar took a break
The recently concluded NCPA Photo Festival witnessed a host of familiar faces who dropped by for a dekko of memorable frames by current and iconic Indian photographers. Activist Medha Patkar was spotted by this diarist at a lecture at the venue, where she attended a session by Anand Shinde, photographer and elephant whisperer.

Medha Patkar (left) during Anand Shinde’s talk
Medha Patkar (left) during Anand Shinde’s talk

Shinde held a talk, Bonding Beyond Words, that focused on the relationship between man and elephant. Patkar sat attentively for nearly half of the session before having to excuse herself as she had to join a protest in another part of the city.

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