Mumbai Diary: Sunday shorts
Nepal sees red
All of last week, Ahmedabad-based entrepreneur Aditi Gupta was busy dispatching a special batch of 1,000 comics to Nepal, hoping to reach out to young girls in rural areas of the hill country about menstruation.
The woman behind Menstrupedia, a fun online guide to menstrual health and hygiene launched in 2013, was part of Putali, a crowdfunding-campaign launched by German cultural anthropologist Anne Kukuczka and new media designer Linda Kuehne.
"In some parts of Nepal, locals still follow the illegal tradition of chhaupadi where women are made to live in makeshift huts during menstruation. They are considered impure. They even celebrate Rishipanchami, a festival to cleanse 'sins' that include touching someone during the cycle or eating food they aren't meant to.
Adolescent girls suffer in an atmosphere of ignorance and intolerance," she says. The comics, Gupta hopes, will help them understand the biological changes occurring in their bodies, how to take care of their health and to predict the next cycle." We like.
A sweet win
And, we have a winner. Sanjana Patel of Kala Ghoda luxury pattiserie, La Folie, is set to represent India at the Ladies World Pastry Championship, SIGEP 2016, an international exhibition of artisan production of gelato, pastry, confectionery and bakery.
Patel beat seven other participants in a pre-WC round held last week in the capital to book a slot in the finals in Rimini, Italy next January. Patel, inspired by the theme, Art of Dance, chose to make a sugar showpiece made by pulling sugar ribbons.
"To my surprise, I was able to pull a two-metre long ribbon, something I hadn't managed even during practice," she laughs. Usually, one metre is as far as most seasoned dessert makers go. Although Patel made a boo-boo (she forgot to add gelatin to her coffee jelly during the glass dessert round), but luck was on her side. "I knew I'd lose marks there.
But before giving a score, the judges checked if I had done it on purpose. I nodded. They were happy that I'd tried something most Indian chefs wouldn't."
Are you bawa enough to act?
The golden age of Parsi-Gujarati theatre may be long over, but a few drama-loving bawas are determined to revive it. Theatre veteran Burjor Patel, his daughter Shernaz Patel, lighting director Sam Kerwalla, media guru Sam Balsara, senior journalist Meher Marfatia and Jim Vimadalal are scouting for writers, directors and actors from the Parsi community across the country.
And to allow them to pick the best, a talent-hunt is on its way. Titled, Draame-Bawaas, it will invite Parsis aged 16 and above to present 30-45 minute one-act plays in Gujarati or English, spanning comedy, drama, thriller or mystery.
The kickback? The final four plays will be mentored by the best in the business, with talent standing the chance to be absorbed in the sequel to NCPA's hit production, Laughter in the House 2. "We don't see talent in the numbers we did when my parents acted," says Shernaz about Burjor and Ruby's Patel's reign on Parsi stage.
"The multiple stagings every weekend are gone. Now you have the one-off show on Parsi New Year. It's dad's idea and NCPA has been gracious to support it." May the natak live long.
Album virgins grow up
The boys from Mumbai-based cover band The Other People were known for gathering a ladies-heavy crowd at blueFROG on Saturdays, some of them more driven by lead vocalist Zarir Warden taking off his shirt than singing You drive me crazy. What started as a college band, has changed many members and survived 11 long years.
Front row (L-R) Zarir Warden, Garth D’Mello and Gavin Cason; Rear row (L-R) Samuel Berlie, Loy Henriques and Atish Thomas.(PIC/ Rahul Sawant)
And now, Warden, Aloysious Hemriques (bass guitar), Gavin Cason (lead guitar), Garth D'Mello (keyboards) and Atish Thomas (drummer) are set to release their debut album, #Dreamers #Believers #Achievers. "The hashtags in the name, we hope, help us connect better with the younger audience," says Warden, although aware that they have just as many women fans in their 50s.
The 11 songs are a mix of soft rock, up-tempo, acoustics and cheese, but Warden prefers to classify the album as modern-pop. We like the idea behind So damn beautiful, sung by female vocalist, Shazneen Arethna, although the video sees the boys mouth the lyrics. "It's our way of standing with the women. More power to them," he smiles.
Michigan bash for cricket's senior boys
Some of Indian cricket's finest names in the 'erstwhile' category will travel to America next month to indulge in story-telling and leg-pulling.
The diarist learnt that the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ajit Wadekar and Yajurvindra Singh (all incidentally residents of Sportsfield building in Worli) will be in Michigan on September 20 for a function that celebrates the 45th anniversary of India's epic triumph over the West Indies in the 1970-71 season.
Yajurvindra, 1979 World Cupper, will play host of the Roaring India Cricket event scheduled at San Marino Club along with aapro Farokh Engineer, who these days, makes it more often to Indian press than in papers back home in England.
All-rounder Abid Ali will arrive from California while Gundappa Vishwanath, Chetan Chauhan, Karsan Ghavri, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and domestic cricket's spinning stalwart Padmakar Shivalkar will have to survive a longer flight.
Among the yarns aplenty, we'll be surprised if Gavaskar & Co don't recall how the late Dilip Sardesai fooled Salim Durrani into believing that a fan wanted to gift him a transistor during the 1971 Caribbean series. Actually, it was Sardesai who made two crank calls, posing as a fan.