Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

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

On the golden run
Tomorrow, 60-year-old visually challenged marathon runner Amarjeet Singh will complete his 50th marathon at Aarey Colony. The Kandivali resident, who has set many records, will run with his escort, 33-year-old BEST conductor Rahul Brahme.

Blind marathon runner Amarjeet Singh (left) with his escort Rahul Brahme. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
Blind marathon runner Amarjeet Singh (left) with his escort Rahul Brahme. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

“I lost my vision partially when I was 13, and turned fully blind by the time I was 40. I wanted to do something different and be recognised. When you get stuck in a rut, no one recognises a common man and especially, one with a disability,” says Singh.

“In 2004, I learnt about the first edition of the Mumbai marathon. They gave me an escort and I ran the 7 km Dream Run. Post that, I wanted to achieve more,” says the runner, who has also been an award-winning swimmer.

Singh won a gold medal in the 50 m free-style at the All India Swimming Competition for Disabled in Mumbai in 2004, completed the 300 km-long Mumbai-Shirdi rally walk for the blind in 2008, and is the only blind person to scale 19,830ft-high Dolma Pass in Kailash Parikrama, Tibet (China). He is also the only visually challenged person to have completed 1,100 ft rappelling from Takmak Point in Raigad Fort.

“The biggest problem is to get an escort. The escorts, who help here in the plains, are not equipped to do the same in the mountains. It also takes time to get used to new people every time. I have plans of running at least 101 Half Marathons and the same number of 10 km Road Races in the coming years. If I get appropriate escorts and enough sponsorship, I wish to climb Mount Everest too. By doing this, I want to break records and set an example for people that the visually impaired are no less than ‘normal’ people.”

Song for the soul


Pic/Sameer Markande

Asha Bhosle jams backstage with composer Nitin Shankar at a musical tribute to celebrate RD Burman’s 77th birth anniversary at Shanmukhananda Hall, Sion. 

The winner takes it all

Pizza delivery off the Gateway of India: Saurava Majumdar is the winner of our 37th anniversary #MumbaiOffTheGrid photo contest. Congratulations!

The real Rahul
Senior film journalist Chaitanya Padukone, who interviewed Rahul Dev Burman for mid-day back in 1983, and shared a warm bond with him, will unveil his memoirs, titled RD Burmania on the composer’s 77th birth anniversary week.

A young Chaitanya Padukone with RDB
A young Chaitanya Padukone with RDB

Padukone says, “It’s a yaadon ki baarat with rare pictures and glowing tributes from luminaries, including Amitabh Bachchan, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Rishi Kapoor, AR Rahman, Zeenat Aman, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Mahesh Bhatt and Sunil Gavaskar. ‘My songs have the signature of my ace musicians and my audio autograph,’ Burman would react modestly, when quizzed about the secret of his chartbusting scores.”

Footie diplomacy
Yesterday, Mulund saw an Indo-US collaboration of the heartwarming kind. NGO Magic Bus and the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy (JFSLA) have come together for an exchange programme.

At the session. Pic/Sameer Markande
At the session. Pic/Sameer Markande

The first segment saw girls from the Foudy Academy (incidentally, Julie Foudy is a former American soccer player who has been part of the US World Championship triumphs) visit India. The students, including women players and coaches, are here on a community programme, teaching and learning from Indian girls.

All exercises are designed to provide leadership skills and offer the girls a voice in the community. Soon after, 12 girls and two teachers from India will visit the US. The emphasis will be on leadership skills, promoting cross-cultural awareness and inspiring girls to be leaders of social change.

At yesterday’s session, the rain had made the ground slushy, so the participants played some games of skill, speed and coordination in a hall nearby. The lingo was Hindi, but, sport has a universal appeal and understanding, so you could see the Americans picking it up easily. Like the young ladies chuckled, “We cannot understand Hindi, but we goooot this.” We like.

When Virat rapped for Rahman

India’s current test captain is well-known for his on-screen ease and charm. This time, he shook a leg with music maestro AR Rahman while taking part in composing the anthem, Naam Hai Futsal of Premier Futsal, a multinational futsal league.

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