Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

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

There's Steve O'Keefe, there's also Kerry O'Keeffe
Steve O'Keefe is one of the most popular men in Australia at the moment for bowling the men from Down Under to victory in the opening Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy cricket series at Pune. But, he's got to do much more with his left-arm spin to become as famous as Kerry O'Keeffe, the former Australia leg-spinner who played 24 Tests for his country from 1971 to 1977. O'Keeffe (67) is a popular commentator who is much loved for his funny commentary and laugh (hear it on YouTube).

Kerry O'Keeffe and Steve O'Keefe
Kerry O'Keeffe and Steve O'Keefe

However, the cult figure on Australian radio was not in a humourous mood when he was enduring a highly forgettable Ashes tour to England in 1977. His former captain Ian Chappell was on his first overseas tour as a commentator and O'Keeffe was disgusted with Chappell criticising him and harping on the fact that Ashley Mallett was a better spinner to have on tour. O'Keeffe confronted Chappell and got some 'advice' in response.

"If you don't like what I say, there's a volume button. And, if you don't want to see me at all, there's the red button," Chappell is believed to have told him. O'Keeffe didn't get any more criticism from Chappell on air because he didn't play Test cricket after that tour, but the leg-spinner was part of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket. All the laughs came after that!

A thousand stepwells old
Philip Earis is a happy man. Barely, 11 months after he first launched Atlas of Stepwells (www.stepwells.org), an online encyclopaedia to locate and preserve India's ancient architectural marvel, the website has mapped its 1,000th stepwell. Though Earis had started the project when still in Mumbai, the British scientist, who moved back to Bristol late last year, continues to pursue the project, thanks to his friends who have been tracking down stepwells and visiting the sites to record photos.

Philip Earis
Philip Earis

The 1,000th stepwell has been mapped in Badnor, Rajasthan. "It is like a smaller version of the Chand Baori in Abhaneri and also similar to the Man Kund in Banera," Earis wrote in a recent Facebook post. "Most stepwells are in a perilous state, and there's so much more work to do. I'll give it my best efforts," he said. Indians, say, thank you.

Keeping his word
In April this year, one of Mumbai's coveted artists, Atul Dodiya, is headed to The Nantes Institute for Advanced Study in France for a three-month-long residency as The Raza Chair Holder. During the term of this residency, Dodiya will create small format oils and watercolour works on paper. He says he is looking forward to the immersive environment at the institute, where, apart from 30 seminars he will attend, even mealtimes are meant for vibrant discussions.

Atul Dodiya
Atul Dodiya

Dodiya shares that during his residency, he is also keen on writing prose in Gujarati. Friends obviously recall his contributions in the Gujarati annual literary magazine, Sahacharya, which has seen contributions from those other prominent artists.

No more a surprise
Chef Mohit Khilnani, who has prepared birthday cakes for actor Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan's daughter, Aaradhya, and for Rani Mukerjee and Adi Chopra's little girl, Adira, is planning to gift Rhea Kapoor a surprise as she turns 30 on March 5.

Rhea Kapoor and (inset) Mohit Khilnani
Rhea Kapoor and (inset) Mohit Khilnani

From what we learn, he's baking a gluten-free mud cake with caramelised almonds, just the way the young producer likes it. "It will have personalised characters of both Rhea and Sonam and is inspired from what she loves doing the most, styling her sister in unique outfits," he tells this diarist.

A magnum Mahatma deal?
Looks like one can never collect enough Mahatma memorabilia. We hear that a Gujarat-based company called Alexander Stamps and Coins Limited, is in talks with a German collector to buy a large bulk of photographs and films, all of which are centred around Gandhi. The price tag for each item, it seems, is a staggering 700,000 Euros and if the talks go through, then the point of sale will be Berlin. The collector wrote a letter to the company, which the latter submitted to BSE Ltd. as part of their exchange filing.

The unnamed collector was quoted in the letter, saying, "My collection of vintage Gandhi photographs and films is still lying with me, and not required for my day-to-day work any longer. Nevertheless, it's a treasure for collectors!"

 

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