Mumbai Diary: Monday dossier

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

A 15-year old and his secret society
Did you know that among a slew of graphic novels that were launched at the Mumbai Comic Con this weekend, one such title was written by a 15-year-old? Virat Nigam, a student of Billabong High International School, Kanpur, has penned Eldritch Chronicles, published by Kalapani Comics (an arm of Vimanika Comics).

Set in the year 2040, the panels unravel the adventures of the Eldritch Society, a secret society of powerful magicians and witches that take on Scarlet Syndicate, a group of scientists who wish to rule the world using superior technology.

 Virat Nigam
 Virat Nigam

A breezy read, we liked the lead character of young telekinetic, Jake Daniell, prophesised to be society's leader who brings peace to the world. Quite Harry Potter-like, we think. There are more of Daniell adventures to follow, we're told.

Jeeves' Lucknow connection
"PG Wodehouse is probably more popular in India than in Britain," remarked popular author Ruskin Bond during a recent interview with this diarist at his home in Landour.

A stage production of Jeeves and Wooster will debut in Mumbai's in early January, and so it was pure coincidence when Bond hit the rewind button on Bertie Wooster. "While in Dehra Dun, I knew of a lawyer from Lucknow who modelled himself entirely on Wooster. It was fascinating — from his attire to his dialogue and accent, he was a Wooster fan," chuckled Bond.

Versova, get ready for a new fest!
While Versova buzzes every year with a Koli food festival, the residents of the western suburb have another reason to cheer. Expected to be an annual affair, the Versova Festival will make its debut on January 8, 2016. It is scheduled to be a 10-day extravaganza that will take place at the Versova Metro Ground.

FESTIVE TIMES: The Versova coastline
FESTIVE TIMES: The Versova coastline

The fest has been organised by the Society for Social Empowerment & Training (SSET) with support from the local MLA. From yoga camps and blood donation drives to football matches, Sufi and Rock concerts, short film contests, fashion shows, photography competitions and canine shows, it should make for a fun, lively event for Versova residents. With Lohri and Makar Sankranti being celebrated around the same time, it might double the buzz in the neighbourhood.

The road to Bangkok
If you've been looking for a trippy, adventurous addition to your bucket list for 2016, we've got one that might hook you. Instead of surfing the Andamans or trekking in the sub-zero temperatures of Leh-Ladakh, why not hit the road to Bangkok?

A picture taken on March 15, 2011, in Sukhothai, 600 km northern Bangkok, shows tourists gathering in front of a statue of the Buddha. PIC/ AFP
A picture taken on March 15, 2011, in Sukhothai, 600 km northern Bangkok, shows tourists gathering in front of a statue of the Buddha. PIC/ AFP

With the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway now open, embark on a 2,500 km long journey that passes multiple borders including 46 iron bridges. The best part: You don't have to chart the route; instead sign up for a 10-day trip with Delhi-based Adventures Overland venturesoverland@gmail.com)

Five East Indian Bhavans in the pipeline
A few months ago, mid-day had reported that the East Indian community, one of the city's oldest original inhabitants, had been waiting patiently to acquire land to establish a cultural centre, known as East Indian Bhavan. Now, if things go according to plan, the community might set up five such bhavans.

The East Indian Museum at Mobai Bhavan, Teresa Villa, in Manori, offers a glimpse into the daily life of the community. PIC /SAMEER MARKANDE
The East Indian Museum at Mobai Bhavan, Teresa Villa, in Manori, offers a glimpse into the daily life of the community. Pic/Sameer Markande

"Previously, the plan was to have a big bhavan in the city, but now, we are planning to open five smaller ones. The locations will include Dharavi Bet (belt between Manori to Utan), Vasai, Thane, Raigad and Mumbai," reveals Alphi D'Souza, spokesperson for Mobai Gaothan Panchayat, that has championed the cause of the community. On the lines of a gymkhana, the bhavans would house meeting and seminar rooms, a games room, an auditorium and a restaurant that will serve authentic East Indian cuisine. While still on the lookout for the spaces, D'Souza tells us, "It would be great if it happens within two years."

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