Mumbai Diary: Monday musings

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

Dress circle, and dressing down!
All good things must come to an end. And so it was on Sunday, the last and final day of Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015 at Palladium Hotel. And if it's Sunday you can be sure that everyone would be in their Sunday best. Actually, it could have been any other day, for it was the case of save the best for last.

We're not talking about the designers' collections on the ramp but the clothes worn by the multitude of guests in the house. The celebrity guests, of course, were there to support their respective designers, donning outfits gifted or otherwise from them. Who are you wearing? That was the question posed to them by the journalists and style and fashion bloggers.

They answered and then they were clicked by the photographers or recorded by the electronic media. Guests who were informally attired all through the week turned up all spruced up, their T-shirts giving way to formal shirts, all buttoned up, jeans put into the closet and the neatly creased trousers taken out, sneakers given a run for the well-polished shoes, either black or brown. So much for the men.

As for the women, it was time to take trouble to dress up, no longer the street-style clothes, however chic and street smart they may look, but designer wear and gowns fit for a red carpet event anywhere across the world. Of course, there were the defaulters, the not-care-a-damn folk who dress as they feel like, in their grungy, casual, informal and often messy look, badly in need for a stylist or a proper dressing down, definitely not fit for a red carpet, but rather ripe to be swept under the carpet. It was also the time for the click-crazy crowd and the ubiquitous selfie. You saw people active on their mobile phones right through the fashion show.

And random people did not think twice of asking a celebrity, be it a model, TV star, Bollywood actor or socialite, to pose with them for that quick-flash pic that they, perhaps, shared with the world on Facebook that same day. Well, today is today and tomorrow is another day. - Marcellus Baptista

Rope over troubled waters
We have heard of ropeways serving as bridges in remote areas, and even schoolchildren taking such shaky routes every day. But it's happening even closer to home just off Karjat, in fact.

But it's all in a day's work for residents of Bendse village in Karjat taluka. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
But it's all in a day's work for residents of Bendse village in Karjat taluka. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

This makeshift ropeway across the Ulhas river has been made by villagers of Bendse, in Karjat taluka. To reach Karjat station they have to spend some R 40-50, whereas the ropeway takes them in about five minutes to Bhivpuri station which is just after Karjat, going towards CST.

Village youngster Rupesh Marade, in the blue shirt, says that he works in Virar in a private firm, and has become accustomed to using the ropeway to cross the river. In a long and convoluted commute, this is just one more twist in the tale.

96 going on 19
"Aaji was so excited about the release that she found it tough to sleep last night!" chuckled Vijaya Bopardikar, 96-year-old author Susheela Pathak's grand daughter-in-law, moments after Great Grandma's Kitchen Secrets was released at popular Bandra bookstore, Title Waves on Saturday evening.

Susheela Pathak with actor Sachin Pilgaonkar, Sarita Joshi, Tinu Anand and Juhi Babbar-Soni at the book release event. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Susheela Pathak with actor Sachin Pilgaonkar, Sarita Joshi, Tinu Anand and Juhi Babbar-Soni at the book release event. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Jam-packed with family and friends who showed up to cheer the ever-smiling Pathak, we couldn't help but notice how the nonagenarian patiently sat through the two-hour event. Adding stardust to the proceedings was actor Sachin Pilgaonkar who regaled the audience with his anecdotes and run-ins with cooking, also touching upon the importance of holding on to one's roots, with traditional cuisines.

Theatre icon Sarita Joshi and actor Tinu Anand as well as celebrity couple Juhi Babbar and Anoop Soni also turned up to support Susheela Pathak's labour of love. Originally written in Marathi (Panajikadoon Khadyapadarthancha Khajina) the English translation was done in record time, we learnt. With a quick kanda-pohe cooking session by Sachin from Pathak's just-released book, the event made for a fitting tribute to a keeper of culinary treasures. Salute!

App-solutely keeping in touch
The Navi Mumbai mayor recently launched a smartphone application which will keep members of the Christian community in touch with happenings and issues. The app has been brought out by Jayakar Ellis, city-based founder of news tabloid The Christian Observer (TCO).

Candle Careful
Colaba witnessed a peace march on Saturday, March 21 evening, organized by the alumni of Covent of Jesus and Mary (CJM) school, to condemn the recent gang-rape of a nun in a remote district of West Bengal. As the marchers wound their way from Radio Club towards the school grounds just 1.5 km away, they were given candles to hold as a symbolic expression of hope amidst the gloom.

The Colaba peace march. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

A little bit of the crowd at the entrance led to some crowding and a young lady almost had her hair burnt by another candle holder, who brought the flame too close. There was a bit of a shout and somebody said "take care, take care," startling the poor girl who was unaware that a centimeter here or there and her hair would have been on fire! Whew close one that.

The power of tree speech at Aarey
If all the people protesting the hacking of trees at Aarey Colony were not enough, the trees themselves are speaking up now. A letter from a Mahua tree has been sent to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, pleading against the planned felling of more trees in the area.

"Respected Sir,
"I am 30 years old, and I grow just off the Aarey Colony bus stop. I was brought to Aarey as a sapling. A herdsman dug up a pit, put me in, and left me in the loving hands of Mother Nature. As I fed on the rays of the sun, the drops of rain and the company of my family, I grew. I made friends with the birds, the cows, and the famously shy leopard.

"I made friends with humans. Yes, men and women; some of whom came for morning walks, and others who tilled the land and milked the cows. I found playmates in children, who made swings out of my branches, and squealed with joy as they swung around. At Aarey, I found home.

"This glorious life was enjoyed for a while, until people with loud music, big cars and plastic bags came rushing in. Just like that, my peaceful abode was ruined. Most of my family was cut down to make way for development. My friends were crushed under the wheels of urbanisation. And it has been painful to watch helplessly. Sir, I've suffered. And now I've heard that my pain is only about to get worse. I've heard that men in brown uniforms, with an axe in hand and bulldozers at their disposal, are out to get me, to make space for a couple of parking lots.

"Sir, I need you to step in and stop this. I've heard that India celebrates a festival called Raksha Bandhan. And that a man promises to protect his sister, come what may, as she seals this promise by tying a Rakhi on the man's wrist. I know Sir, that it's not time for the festival. But, it's certainly time for a Rakhi. Because I need your protection. I pray that you'll make the promise to save Aarey and me. I pray that you'll keep that promise. I pray that you, as the Chief Minister of this great city and state, will see how important Aarey really is. I pray you'll save Mumbai's lungs. And my life."

And the CM, we hear, has indeed received a rakhi from Mahua the tree.

We hope this plea does not fall on deaf ears.

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