Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

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

Dance to make a life
Dance India Dance winner and trainer to stars like Tiger Shroff, Price Gupta, has been inducted in the Golden Book of World Records for teaching dance to 2,500 students, at the same venue, for free.

Prince Gupta (left) teaches 2,500 children at a camp in Mehsana, Ahmedabad
Prince Gupta (left) teaches 2,500 children at a camp in Mehsana, Ahmedabad

"I knew I couldn't do this in Mumbai because of lack of space, so I moved it to a water park in Mehsana, outside of Ahmedabad," he tells this diarist. The kids, most of whom hailed from underprivileged homes, came from cities like Sundernagar, Badalpur, Ganganagar and even as far as Nepal and Andaman & Nicobar.

"I wanted to focus only on children who really want to be dancers. We took care of their stay and food, and the workshop was free. I had 10 teachers along with me who taught different genres for seven days." His famous friends including Shroff, Remo D'Souza, Terence Lewis and Ahmed Khan also dropped in to offer moral support. "I plan to do this more often." Good going.

Akerkar puts on the apron
The fourth season of Foods With Benefits, a charity event organised by Mangal Dalal and Nachiket Shetye, will be held on June 29. The venue this year is newly-opened Mag Street Kitchen, by the team behind The Table, in Mazgoan.

Rahul Akerkar
Rahul Akerkar

Proceeds this year will go to St Jude's Childcare Centre. When The Table's Alex Sanchez tweeted a picture of some of the nine chefs onboard for the collaboration, we were happily surprised to see Rahul Akerkar, among Irfan Pabanney of The Sassy Spoon, Gresham Fernandes of Impresario and Kelvin Cheung of One Street Over and Bastian. The nine-course meal will have three mains — light, medium and rich.

Akerkar will be dishing out the medium dish. "For the non-vegetarians, it will be a duck-based dish, stone fruits like peaches and plums which are in season now. I hope they are available on June 29, for if not, I'll just have to rustle something else up," he says matter-of-factly over the phone.

For the vegetarians, his core ingredient will be mushrooms. Why? "Because I love them," he laughs. Akerkar has always been an advocate of collaborations and sharing ideas. "It is through efforts likes these that the industry grows." May their tribe flourish.

Tattletales on Twitter
No one on Twitter is safe from trolls, especially if you are the kind who tweets against the reigning government. And, it seems that geography is also not a problem.

Rohit Chopra
Rohit Chopra

Last week, we saw a twitter exchange between professor of media studies at Santa Clara University, Rohit Chopra, and supporters of well… okay let's just call them Bhakts. While the two groups have been getting into twitter wars often, what we were surprised about was how it seemed more like a kindergarten fight.

The trolls ask Chopra, popular for his IndiaExplained handle, if his university knew about him (and of course the university was tagged). Chopra had to clarify that his University knew about it all and had even offered to provide security.
we did a search on one of his opponents, we found something interesting.

A few years ago, the lady in question, was on the other side of the battle, lamenting how NaMo supporters "accuse you of being dishonest and lying" simply because you don't agree with their point of view. What made her change hers, we wonder.

Tucker gets a Maati Baani redux
The fourth song in Maati Baani's web series is something fans of Indie-classical music will find hard to skip. Music composer Karthi Shah has brought together American clarinetist Shankar Tucker, and Hindustani vocalist Ankita Joshi to perform a rather dreamy and romantic number, called Payal. "It's a story within a song, where two women are waiting for their lovers," says Shah about Payal, which was shot in a picturesque forest-like setting.

Shankar Tucker
Shankar Tucker

What makes this musical project rather interesting is that the entire piece was ideated on the web. "Tucker was travelling between Europe and America when we approached him," says Shah.

"But we kept our conversations alive through Skype, and after a series of discussions, he recorded his part of the music and sent it to us." The end result is soul stirring and catchy. "The idea of this web series is to bring cultures together through technology," says Shah.

Kong Poush returns
Lokhandwala residents will remember Kashmiri restaurant Kong Poush, whose shutting down left them bereaved. Well, it's back. The restaurant opens its doors on Tuesday.

Sunil Mattoo
Sunil Mattoo

In February, this diarist had reported about how owner Sunil Mattoo had launched a functional kitchen in Oshiwara from where was running a catering business of Kashmiri food for corporate lunches, parties and food festivals at luxury hotels. "Fortunately, we managed to find a place, although it's not as big as my previous set up.

There will be no fancy shikaras here, but the vibe will be of a warm Kashmiri home," says the 44-year-old. This time around, Mattoo says the focus will be more on food and service than décor.

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