Mumbai Diary: Sunday shorts

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

What’s in a name, ask NZ cricketers
Our in-house cricket buff and book scavenger has managed to get, what booksellers the world over, term a “scarce” item.

Former India coach John Wright wrote a well-received book called Indian Summers not long after he quit in 2005, but he also wrote his autobiography called Christmas in Rarotonga towards the end of his playing career in 1990. It didn’t hit Indian bookshelves since it was published in New Zealand.

It’s a fascinating title and the Kiwi author, who also captained New Zealand on their 1988-89 tour of India was quick to clarify in the introduction that he never spent Christmas in Rarotonga (in the Cook Islands).

Rarotonga featured in a conversation between Wright and the coach Bob Cunis when things were not going well for New Zealand in the second Test at Mumbai. “If things carry on like this, you and I better think of spending Christmas in Rarotonga,” Cunis told his captain.

In an amazing turnaround, NZ managed to beat Dilip Vengsarkar’s team in that November 1988 Test. While they celebrated their win over India on the night of November 29, 1988, Cunis murmured to Wright: “Maybe, we’ll give Rarotonga a miss this year”. And Wright just said, “I guess we can put it off for a little while longer”.

And that’s how Wright thought about the fascinating title for his book. Had NZ lost that Wankhede Test, he would have entitled it, Wright Off. Incidentally, New Zealand cricketers have come up with interesting titles for their books.

Cricket historian Gulu Ezekiel provides a short list: Mad As I Wanna Be by Danny Morrison; Just the Drummer in the Band by Ian Smith; A Hell of a Way to Make a Living by Ken Rutherford. There’s also
Give it a Heave! by big-hitting Lance Cairns, the father of in-the-news-for-the-wrong-reasons Chris.

An ode to old times
There's something delightfully romantic about old, yellowed, well-thumbed books. More so, if they are of historical significance. On October 13, Bidsvilla and Conferro Heritae will host an online auction of rare collectibles worth Rs 12 crore.

This includes an original 1906 India Gazzette Newspaper, and a UK-based magazine, Picture Post, that carried a story on Sikh Sepoys in action in Italy during World War II, among others.

“The most expensive item on sale is an original copy of the book, Baapu Ke Path Par from 1948 (in pic) that is signed by the late JB Kriplani, which is worth Rs 5 lakhs,” says Girijesh Jha, co-founder of Bidsvilla.

They will also showcase various cartoons, advertisements and 50-year-old editions of The New York Times, Japan Times and The Times of Vietnam.

Of love and holistic fashion
Reshma Merchant and Priyanka Kaul Lakdawala have their husbands to thank for making them realise about the universality of love, a feeling that has resulted in them launching their fashion label, House of Milk.

Priyanka Kaul Lakdawala (left) and Reshma Merchant
Priyanka Kaul Lakdawala (left) and Reshma Merchant

“I am married to musician Suleiman Merchant and Priyanka is married to cosmetic doctor Muffasal Lakdawala,” says Reshma Merchant. “The fact that our husbands and us belong to different religions made us realise that love is universal.

So we are in the same space in life — this love has made trur to ourselves and give the best to everything. Also, we are Army kids, and mothers to young children, and that helped us bond. We also have the same sense of style,” says Merchant.

This friendship has given birth to a collection that aims to celebrate brand India. It’s also empowering women, working as household help, to learn a skill and be financially independent. Merchant, who is trained as a jewellery designer, is the design head while Lakdawala handles the business side of the initiative.

The first two collections is a jewellery line called Wearable Art, where all the pieces have been handpainted by Merchant, and a collection of healing garments, made using holistic fabrics that bring together natural healers like aloe vera, neem, rose, cinnamon and lavender. To take a peek, log on to www.houseofmilk.com.

Do let the dogs out
Come November 1, Colombo will see its first-ever all-breeds dog show, Unleash. “Until now, the canine events in Sri Lanka were restricted to pedigreed dogs. This one, however, will be open to dogs of any size, shape, colour, sex or breed,” says Mumbai-based dog behaviourist, Shirin Merchant, who conceptualised the event.

The show has an interesting line-up including the waggiest dog contest, cutest dog-owner couple, ice-cream eating competition, relay, fancy dress and more. Unlike the usual drill where a few lucky dogs walk home with prizes, this one will reward every mutt present.

“It’s no competition. Every dog will be a winner,” says Merchant, who is associated with the Ceylon Kennel Club, organiser of the event. The objective, she adds, is also to build awareness around animal care. “The dogs there don’t get a chance to socialise in public because there are no parks for them.” But as they say, every dog has his day!

Bringing art to Atria
Atria Mall, which has seen abysmal footwall in the past few years, may just become a go-to place for art lovers. Ravindra Mardia (in pic), director of International Creative Art Centre (ICAC), is thrilled about opening his new 2,500 sq. ft. gallery in the mall.

ICAC already has a gallery in Wadala, and Mardia wishes to showcase emerging and young artists at both venues. The new gallery opened yesterday with 42 works by Brinda Miller, Prabhakar Kolte, Seema Kohli, Arzan Khambatta and Suni Padwal, among others.

“There is a shortage of large showing spaces in this city. The only such space is Jehangir, but artists need to wait years to show there. We hope that this will become a place for art lovers and artists,” said Mardia. Will the shoppers at Atria be back following the way of art lovers? We will just have to wait and see.

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