Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

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

Spot the difference
Last month, digital publishing house Juggernaut, which of late has been publicising its “fresh, original books tailored for mobile”, pulled off an unexpected stunt on Indian readers.

Queer writer Mahesh Natrajan, whose last published work was a collection of 18 short stories titled Pink Sheep (2010), was Juggernaut’s ‘man of the moment’, when they announced the release of his book, My Gay Life, on their App. Natrajan also shared a heartfelt piece on ‘writing stories about people who happen to be gay’ on the firm’s community blog.

All said and done, many curious readers, including this diarist, went ahead and bought the book (priced at Rs 60). This diarist even suggested a friend of the LGBT community to get hold of this ‘new book’, only to be reproached days later. “What’s new?” the disgruntled person, who had specially downloaded the app to buy the book, asked.

“It’s the same old Natrajan book (by that he meant Pink Sheep)... Just a new title, a hot man on the cover and some clever branding.” There was some muttering under the breath about how precious time and money was lost. Now, Juggernaut may have thought, who remembers what they read five years ago... Should we say, “fresh, original, repackaged books tailored for mobile” be their new mantra?

Look here, Bips

Pic/Sameer Markande

Actor Bipasha Basu is captured in a mirror by fans during the launch of a beauty brand at a Kurla mall on Saturday.

No more status quo
Delhi-based electronica producer Curtain Blue aka Abhishek Bhatia, is using music to talk of his growing discomfort with the “status quo”.

Abhishek and Abhinaina Bhatia in a still from Let Go
Abhishek and Abhinaina Bhatia in a still from Let Go

In Let Go, he tackles the subject of how an Indian woman is supposed to be. “We see people worshipping women as ‘goddesses’ and then we see the same people going around beating women up for wearing short clothes/ for having jobs/boyfriends/exposure/a life...” says Bhatia, who has collaborated with sister Abhinaina Bhatia for the track.

The video focuses on a woman going through extreme mood swings, and then fixing her distorted self to go back to society as a prop. “Though the track is still very abstract, it reminded Abhinaina of her insecure moments as a girl. It reminded me of my personal insecurity of being a brother and friend to her and many others,” he says. Time to take note.

Get set, vroom
It’s not unusual for Sheetal Duggar to get stared at when she’s behind the wheel. That’s because the homemaker from Kolkata became India’s first woman Lamborghini buyer last month.

And now, she is gearing up for the brand’s first supercar drive for women in Delhi on July 10. “It’s not about the need for speed, but about living life to the fullest,” says the 40-year-old.

A lost and fond ‘piece’ of history
The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack can be a fine companion for a cricket lover on a rainy day. There’s always a statistic or story to enrich your knowledge and pass on to others.

Richie Benaud in his hotel room on the 1961 tour of England. Pic/Getty Images
Richie Benaud in his hotel room on the 1961 tour of England. Pic/Getty Images

This is exactly what this diarist discovered while flipping through his recently-acquired 2016 edition of cricket’s Bible. Wisden never fails to use the finest writers and the current editor Lawrence Booth chose well in John Woodcock, the doyen of cricket writers, to pen an obituary on Richie Benaud.

The late Australian Test captain and commentator was a fine journalist too. He was once asked to write a piece by Woodcock, who was compiling a book in tribute to Ron Roberts, who died in 1965. Roberts, a writer himself, was famous for organising international cricket tours.

Benaud duly typed out a 1500-word tribute and handed it over to Woodcock before they boarded an Adelaide to Melbourne flight in the Australian summer of 1965-66. For some reason, Woodcock placed it in the seat pocket and forgot about it as he landed in Melbourne.

The piece couldn’t be retrieved despite numerous calls to the airport authorities and Benaud had to be told what had happened. Without a fuss, he typed a fresh piece of the same word length and admitted to Woodcock that it was better than the original. What a man, what a pro!

As long as you don’t win
The city is up and running and we’d like to enter every race possible. However, not all races are open to everyone. Last week, this diarist registered for the Kutchi Rain-A-Thon.

The run will probably be over by the time you read this piece. It was only after registering that we realised that the run was open only to the Kutchi community. After much pleading, the organisers did let us in, but with a clause — “you have to promise not to win”. Well, we promised to try.

Earning her Parasol
It is but natural that a gallerist should be proud when one of her young artists takes a giant leap, and the same can be said of Priya Jhaveri. Artist Rana Begum, the Londoner who makes contemporary sculptures, will present an exhibition at Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art.

Gallerist Priya Jhaveri with a work by Rana Begum from her 2015 exhibition, Towards an Infinite Geometry
Gallerist Priya Jhaveri with a work by Rana Begum from her 2015 exhibition, Towards an Infinite Geometry

This is the Bangladeshi-British artist’s first solo presentation in a public institution in the UK, bringing together a selection of past and recent works. The young artist is known for her pristine cutting-edge works and is not afraid to experiment. “Rana’s exhibition will introduce her practice to a wide international audience in London, ensuring a degree of visibility that all young artists — indeed all artists — aspire to.

Parasol unit have also published an artist monograph to accompany the show and we are very excited to have supported it. Rana has worked astonishingly hard to get to this stage in her career,” says Jhaveri.

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