Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier

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

Northward bound
Come January 8, and Robert D Stephens’ stunning aerial frames of the northern parts of the city will open for public viewing at an exhibition titled Mumbai North. From the artificial grandeur of Powai to the geographical beauty of Juhu Beach and Gorai Creek (in pic) don’t miss this one that will be held at Artisans’ in Kala Ghoda.

The display throws light on the rising pollution levels in Mumbai through stunning black and white photographs of the city taken 15,000 feet above sea-level. After the success of Mumbai Articles, these aerial frames by Stephens shifts his attention to the suburbs. Mumbai North, which continues till January 16, is being showcased as an urban portrait collection of suburban geography where history meets pollution levels.

Cricketers of another time and age
While a large portion of the cricketing globe reckons that West Indies cricket has reached its nadir, a good option now for them is to remember the great players the Caribbean regions produced. Those belonging to that category will enjoy the late Richie Benaud’s piece written in the 1976 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, under the headline, ‘Eleven West Indies Men of My Time’.

Richie Benaud. Pic Courtesy/AFPRichie Benaud. Pic Courtesy/AFP

And if the question, “How will I get hold of that precious 1976 edition?” is on your lips, hang on. Bloomsbury has recently published Benaud in Wisden, a compilation by Rob Smyth (R599).

Here is who made Benaud’s all-time West Indies XI in 1976. It read: Conrad Hunte, Seymour Nurse, Rohan Kanhai, Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott (wicketkeeper), Frank Worrell (captain), Garfield Sobers (vice-captain), Wesley Hall, Lance Gibbs, Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine.

Of Frank Worrell, his opposite number in the epic 1960-61 series in Australia, Benaud wrote: ‘Frank Maglinne Worrell… now there was elegance for you. There was a man for all summers. I did not believe it when Miller (Keith) told me Frank used to prepare for battle by having a sleep with pads on on the massage table. True. A wonderfully relaxed person, and one of the great men ever to grace any sporting field.’ Benaud, of course, is no longer seen on our television sets after his April 2015 death, and is sorely missed.

Ask his mate and fellow great, Australia all-rounder Alan Davidson, who writes in the Foreword of this book: ‘I mourn that fair-headed kid I first bowled to all those years ago. He was my Test captain, he was a great man, but first and foremost Richie Benaud was my friend.’

Never mute that flute

Pic/Bipin Kokate
Pic/Bipin Kokate

Flautist Rakesh Chaurasia (in blue) with other young flautists and Anita Garware (back) chairperson, Indian Heritage Society. rehearse for the Mumbai Sanskriti Festival at Majestic Town Hall, Asiatic Library, Fort.

Rewind time with Pancham-da
Star brothers, Randhir Kapoor and Rishi ‘Chintu’ Kapoor are not only self-confessed die-hard fans of legendary RD Burman (whose death anniversary falls today) but were also his close buddies. Chintu recalls, “Pancham-da (RDB) who gave me chartbuster hits, used to compliment me for convincingly playing the guitar on-screen.

RD Burman
RD Burman

Especially since I don’t know to play musical instruments. While shooting for this RDB-sung track, ‘Dil Lena Khel’, he arrived on the sets to boost me. These days, it’s disheartening, when certain contemporary ‘hit-and-run’ songs with no lyrical value, seem to function mainly as brief caller-tunes. We miss your musical genius, Dada,” sighs the outspoken Kapoor while remembering the genius.

A champion cause
Recently, author Pushpa Palat published an e-book on her favourite dog, titled, Champ: My Favourite Child. We were delighted to hear that all the proceeds of this book are donated to the NGO, The Welfare of Stray Dogs.

“The book recounts amusing, difficult and touching aspects of our life with Champ. It is an attempt to make readers realise that dogs/animals understand much more than we give them credit for. And most importantly, they too have feelings — that we often trample upon, unknowingly and sometimes because we don’t care,” shares Palat.

The book is available on Amazon for R194. Now might be a good time to pick up a copy, no?

What’s cooking at the Taj?
A little birdie who frequently flies into The Taj Mahal Palace at Colaba, informed this diarist that Masala Kraft, the iconic Indian restaurant inside the five star will be getting a yummy new menu by new Chef Qureshi in the middle of this month.

A dish from the current menu at Masala Kraft
A dish from the current menu at Masala Kraft

And from what we hear, it’s going to be a lip-smacking spread that will celebrate India in all its rich culinary diversity. What else can we saw but, Bon Apetit!

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