Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

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

How Thommo 'chased' his dreams
Jeff Thomson is playing host to a small group of Indian fast bowlers from the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Bowling Foundation in his hometown Queensland where he will watch them train at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.

Jeff Thomson
Jeff Thomson

The Sunshine State is the former Australian express pace bowler-turned-coach's second home after he first played for New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield. Thommo, we learn is going to show the boys around scenic Queensland and this diarist wonders if he will show them where and how he trained to be the most deadly non-West Indian fast bowler in the mid-1970s.

No, he didn't spend a lot of time at high-tech gymnasiums, but in the fields where he chased wild pigs in order to improve his strength and stamina to get at the Englishmen in the 1974-75 Ashes. His efforts were rewarded as he propelled Australia to Ashes-regaining glory with 33 scalps.

The boys will be shown the Gabba ground in Brisbane where Indian batsmen ML Jaisimha and Sourav Ganguly scored their famous centuries in 1967 and 2003 respectively. Also, the stands where the mother of his Queensland teammate (Greg Ritchie) on her first visit to a Test match ground, saw Thommo gesticulating and abusing while walking back to his bowling mark in a Sheffield Shield game in the 1980s.

The old lady was quite amused and when Greg introduced her to Thommo, she asked him about what the abuse was for. To her utter surprise, Thommo said he was abusing himself for bowling badly.

What's 'happn'ing with Warne?
That cricketer Shane Warne has a way with women is known. And now, it looks like Elizabeth Hurley's former fiancé is determined to put himself out there, even more.

Shane WarneShane Warne

He has been posting selfies — some even topless — on the dating app, Happn, which helps users discover the people you've crossed paths with. His profile bio is the self-explanatory, "Up for fun!!" Not-so-long ago, the 46-year-old was in the news for canoodling with a 20-something student in London. But, it seems Warne is very much available.

A euphoric rant
Singer Palash Sen doesn't consider himself 'mainstream'. "I make music from the heart," he tells this diarist, "…And not for any commercial benefit." His battle is against meaningless item numbers that are being fed to listeners in the name of entertainment.

Palash Sen
Palash Sen

That's why Sen's band Euphoria released its new song Halla Bol, under the One Digital Entertainment banner, this week. This one, doesn't mince words, and takes a dig at all that's wrong with the 'system'. Right from politicians, to businessmen, to Bollywood and newsroom heroes, everybody gets a fair share of Euphoria bashing, but musically.

"The thought behind this song was simple: we wanted to give a voice to those who are bullied by the system, and forced to stay quiet. This problem needs to be addressed," he says, adding, "even if it's through a song." It's also a track that carries the flavour of their hits from the 90s. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

The home chef masterclass
Come August, the Food Bloggers Association of India (FBAI) is planning an all-day conference for home chefs titled, Home Chefs Matter.

FBAI's Sameer Malkani, writer Ananya Banerjee and chef Munaf Patel
FBAI's Sameer Malkani, writer Ananya Banerjee and chef Munaf Patel

"It will be held across India. The idea is to provide a platform for home chefs to get together and share their techniques, and learn from each other," says Sameer Malkani, founder of the FBAI. Group discussions, one-on-one interactions and demonstrations by food experts will cover topics like FSSAI rules, how to run commercial kitchens and manage inventory.

While the FBAI is in the midst of adding star foodies to its guest list, we hear that Munaf Patel of The Bohri Kitchen will take a marketing class, while food writer Ananya Banerjee will talk about how one can move ahead from just cooking at home. It's time to scale up.

Taxi on our minds
Remember that Coldplay video which made the term "cultural appropriation" trendy? Remember how we went gaga when we saw that beautiful taxi interior, refashioned by Taxi Fabric? Well, turns out that Sanket Avlani, the curator of Taxi Fabric (he shuns the word 'founder'), is on to more things.

Sanket AvlaniSanket Avlani

Avlani will take the diligently graphic-designed taxi seat covers into a product line, following "feedback from designers". Last week, his workspace in a Lower Parel industrial estate, called Soul Patch, turned almost into some gig-space as more than 200 people turned up for the launch of the fabric line.

One of Mumbai's kaali-peelis refurbished with TaxiFabric
One of Mumbai's kaali-peelis refurbished with TaxiFabric

Soon, we'll be able to not just buy products but also the fabric, which has prints designed by some of the city's leading graphic designers, in satin, linen and silk. "Taxi Fabric is inspired by the local and the city, and we hope to tell these stories through these products," says Avlani.

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