Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

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

All set for a hole in one
Olympian swimmer and Arjuna Awardee Rehan Poncha has decided to trade his speedos for a pair of golf clubs. And he plans to do it competitively, too! “I watched the film, The Greatest Game Ever Played, during a break from competitive swimming. I was very inspired. All it took was one day at the golf course to know I wanted to spend the next 20 years doing this, and hopefully, winning here as well,” Poncha tells this diarist.

After his stint as presenter at the Rio Games ends in September, he plans to move to Scotland, the birthplace of golf, to soak in some expertise. “I always plan my vacations around sport. Scotland is home to golf, and has so much history attached to it,” he says. But that’s not the only reason to head there. “I’m also a foodie, I think it comes with being Parsi. So, I am looking forward to taking off on some food trails as well.” Jumjo ji.

Role reversal

Pic/Shadab Khan

Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar takes a selfie with his fans at a store launch in Lower Parel on Saturday. 

Chowder Singh gorges on city street food
Stalking, at least on Instagram, is not a crime. Delhi blogger Mohit Balachandran, better known as Chowder Singh or the ‘head masalchi’ of Soda Bottle Openerwala, has been gorging on Mumbai delights. His feeds speak of trips to Kurla and Sion Koliwada.

We asked what the Dilliwala was eating in Mumbai. “Sion Koliwada has an authentic Punjabi scene going on,” he said. Did we hear right? A Delhiite has taken a liking to Mumbai’s butter chicken. “Yes, I know, most of the places here have a skewed, commercial taste. But the Sion Koliwada area has three gurudwaras and they serve authentic Amritsari fare. I love Hazara for its butter chicken, and Hardeep Punjab for its Prawn and Fish Koliwada.”

Chowder Singh
Chowder Singh

While he gorged on some aam ras and puri at a small joint called Raj Mahal near Kurla station, he discovered a woman who sets up a thela with her son. “They sell poha, sabudana khichdi and vada, and puri bhaji. You’ll find office-goers stop at her stall to pick up their lunch.”

When we prod him a little, he confesses, he’s not here just to gorge on street food. “There’s another SodaBottleOpenerwala on its way soon. That’s all I can tell you right now.”

Talent, for all it’s worth
DJ and producer Arjun Vagale and his brother Nakul are not the ones to let good musicians go, even if it means making charitable exceptions.

The brothers, who run I Love Music Academy — rated as India’s best school for DJs by Rolling Stone India in 2012 — is now helping deserving students fulfill their musical aspirations by offering financial aid for a course that costs over Rs 3 lakh a year.

“It’s still a niche industry, without much local infrastructure, so our new packages will empower more students to achieve their goals. The aim is to help dedicated students who lack the resources to pursue their dreams,” says Nakul.
The packages will be rolled out in early August. Meanwhile, we’d suggest that musicians dream on. Because nothing’s stopping great talent, really!

Muzumdar on course to Brisbane
Amol Muzumdar, the most unfortunate of modern-day Mumbai batsmen to have missed out on India colours, has impressed pundits with his television commentary in domestic cricket. However, the 41-year-old Vile Parle resident has other cricketing pursuits too.

Amol Muzumdar
Amol Muzumdar

Next week, Muzumdar will be Brisbane-bound to be at the Centre of Cricket Excellence to kick off a Level III High Performance Athlete Management Course coaching course with an eight-day stay in the Queensland capital.

All these years, Muzumdar was involved with cricket in the Netherlands, but this year, Australia beckons. This diarist remembers how Muzumdar was part of the Mumbai team to visit Down Under for a tournament involving other domestic champions the world over in 2001, but he was not allowed to board the plane due to petty administrators from his home cricket association.

A date with Tate
With no signs of slowing down, art collector Kiran Nadar is set to champion Indian artists worldwide. Earlie, her museum has collaborated to bring retrospectives of VS Gaitonde and Nasreen Mohamedi to the Guggenheim and the MET Breuer respectively. Now, she supports the first international retrospective of late artist Bhupen Khakhar, who was synonymous with the spirit of Mumbai.

Kiran Nadar
Kiran Nadar

The show opens this week at the Tate Modern, with three oil on canvases contributed by Nadar from her collection of 30 Khakhar paintings. “It is wonderful that museums in the West are taking an interest in seminal Indian artists,” she says, gearing up to leave for London for the preview, which will be followed by a private reception thrown by the Tate Modern.

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