Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

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

Footloose in the city
If you happen to be at Cross Maidan, Churchgate, anytime this week, you’ll be greeted by two massive Kolhapuri chappals standing tall at 8-feet-6-inches and 10-feet-6-inches, each.

The woman behind the installation, interior designer Kanika Bawa, hopes to bring the traditional footware back into the mainstream. “It’s a small effort to connect with our roots. The Kolhapuri is such a simplistic slipper, but so good for health.

They cool the feet, reduce body heat and ease back pain,” she says, adding, “Shivaji Maharaja’s army fought battles wearing the Kolhapuris.” To make it more relevant, Bawa has infused the chappals with perky colours, kitschy print and accessories.

“I have transformed it into a piece of art — an art piece to possess and use,” she says. Executing each Kolhapuri took Bawa about 25 days. The biggest challenge, she says, was to make it stand straight without it sagging.

Bioscope mania
When a bioscope rolls into town, people are way too curious. This is what happened when Bhai-O-Scope, an installation by audio-visual duo Avinash Kumar and Gaurav Malaker, also known as Basic Love of Things (BLOT), got parked at Kala Ghoda.

Gaurav Malaker and Avinash Kumar of BLOT
Gaurav Malaker and Avinash Kumar of BLOT

BLOT’s kitschy and vibrant installation has videos of medicine men from the streets dealing in strange never-seen-before things. It also has “Good Boy” illustrations by Yuvraj Jha.

In fact, we were told that when the piece debuted at the India Art Fair, a policeman was very curious about the medicine-men’s whereabouts. The installation is part of BLOT’s larger project tilted Trick Or Treat and delves into alternative healing practices. It was conceptualised way before Coldplay’s Hymn for the Weekend video, Blot insists.

Ritu is taking Indian luxury to the world
Designer Ritu Beri has been keeping busy. She is hosting an event tomorrow in the city to talk about her recently launched not-for-profit Luxury League, which will, as the name goes, promote Indian luxury brands internationally.

“The main mission of the League is to make the world aware of the wealth of knowledge contained within India. This will also aim at creating employment for young Indians.” Some of the brands involved are Jet Airways, Forest Essentials, VLCC Health Care Ltd, Rohit Bal, Farah Khan Fine Jewellery and His Highness Maharaja Gajsingh II of Jodhpur, among many others.

“We have to strengthen the influence of India in the global luxury industry. The League will perpetuate traditional artisanal skills and subtly sustain the element of fantasy that Indian luxury has always inspired,” she says. Way to go.

Mumbai gets a taste of Lucknow
“Aapne mujhe Google kiya ya nahi?” Dr and chef Izzat Husain asks us over the phone. The Lucknow-based chef, who is a master of unani medicine as well, is in the city to host a Lucknowi and Awadhi festival at a five-star till February 25.

“Chefs will add the spices, but I understand why I am adding it,” says the 56-year-old, promptly giving us an example. “The garlic-ginger paste is a base ingredient in a biryani. Because, garlic reduces cholesterol. The mutton or chicken tends to increase the cholesterol, so the paste is added to cut the adverse effect.

Many chefs cook in curd. One should never do that. It kills the good bacteria,” says the chef, who belongs to the royal Awadh family. “Unlike Mughlai, Lucknowi food is health and light. We go easy on the ghee and spices too. Also, there is the option to separate the oil from a dish,” says Husain, who tempts us with his galouti kebabs.

Love yourself

Pic/Bipin Kokate
Pic/Bipin Kokate

Young girls click a selfie at the Selfie Point set up by MNS at Shivaji Park on Saturday. The party has said that they will use the day to express their love for Mumbai and Marathi culture.

Raising a toast to Caribbean punch
After England (22 Tests), Bishan Singh Bedi played the maximum number of Tests against the West Indies. His 18 India vs West Indies Tests were spread over 12 years that included two tours to the Caribbean in 1971 and 1976.

Shamar SpringerShamar Springer

In fact, he made his Test debut against the West Indies at Calcutta in 1966. On Thursday, Bedi was glued to his television set in his Delhi home, totally impressed with the way the West Indies played to beat hosts Bangladesh in the under-19 World Cup semi-finals.

The former India captain was amused by how medium pacer Shamar Springer celebrated each time he got a Bangladesh wicket. And while Bedi applauded every profitable stroke the West Indians hit en route to victory, he was reminded how the West Indian batsmen of his time hit the ball - without any inhibitions.

The “energy and passion” that the young guns displayed provided Bedi with hope for West Indies cricket. “The International Cricket Council must ensure the West Indies are back on top. The juniors have been impressive while their senior counterparts fighting pay disputes,” Bedi told Daily Dossier in a casual chat.

Not many aspects of the modern game gets Bedi’s nod. But the young West Indies did and they must have played very well to deserve that! Of course, Indian cricket fans will be hoping the sprightly West Indies are not on top of their game against India in the under-19 World Cup final today.

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