Mumbai Diary: Sunday shorts

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

Sobering effect on Sri Lankan cricket
Sir Garfield Sobers, cricket’s true answer to Muhammad Ali, is in the Emerald Isles to witness the Sri Lanka vs West Indies Test series named after him and former Lankan batsman Mike Tissera.

Sir Garry with Arjuna Ranatunga. Pic courtesy/Cricket Talk Magazine
Sir Garry with Arjuna Ranatunga. Pic courtesy/Cricket Talk Magazine

The other day, Sobers reportedly got misty-eyed while speaking about the poor state of West Indies cricket and underlined how sad it is to see the decline. However despondent Sobers is, he would have been happy to be in Sri Lanka again.

It’s a country he visited in the early 1980s to help maximise the potential of young players and was particularly instrumental in the emergence of Arjuna Ranatunga, who famously led Sri Lanka to their World Cup win in 1996. Sobers was invited to coach Sri Lanka before their 1983 home series against Australia.

The great Barbadian sat in the selection committee meeting as a consultant and was amazed to discover that the selectors were not in favour of giving Ranatunga more opportunities. Sobers insisted and told the selectors that if Ranatunga was not in the side, he would take up the issue with then-Board president Gamani Dissanayake.

The selectors relented and Ranatunga scored 90 in the one-off Kandy Test against Australia and averaged 65.00 in the one-day series. Ranatunga has never forgotten that timely intervention and surely Sobers is proud of what he did.

Indie diva meets lone wolf
It’s rare that you find filmmaker Kiran Rao at the same venue as MNS chief Raj Thackeray.

Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

As they posed for pictures at the launch of a Lower Parel furniture store, they exchanged polite hellos, but kept away from lengthy conversation.

Weaving a sad Goa tale
WE are eagerly awaiting Goa-based fashion designer Wendell Rodricks’s next book, which is far removed from fashion. Titled Poskem, the book talks of the dark tradition of poskim, in which young children were “adopted” by wealthy families, often being retained as servants.

Wendell Rodricks
Wendell Rodricks

“It’s a tradition we are ashamed, of in retrospect,” he says over the phone from Goa. His book, a piece of fiction that will be out in 2016, is set between 1930s and 1975, and follows four children who were given up by their mother. The children end up leading starkly different lives.

“One makes up a fantasy world to escape reality,” he says, adding that his is the last generation to have seen this tradition. To give readers a breather from the dark plot, each chapter carries a recipe at the end, in true Goan spirit of feasting.

A life less ordinary
Celebrated conductor Zubin Mehta and wife Nancy Kovack enter Crossword bookstore at Kemps Corner to launch the paperback edition of Mehta’s autobiography, The Score of My Life. The audience included Anil Dharker, Shyam Benegal and Pheroza Godrej.

Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Mehta quit medicine and Bombay to move to Vienna at 18 to study music. Since then, his life has been littered with prestigious achievements. The book delves into the fascinating world of the distinguished musician.

No blind spot at this mall
We agree that most public spaces in India aren’t disabled-friendly. But there may be some hope. After being the first-ever mall in the country to launch an audio-tactile labelling system, floor maps and Braille menu cards for visually impaired shoppers, Viviana mall in Thane has now set up a computer knowledge centre for the visually impaired in the premises.

“There are about 5,000 visually impaired students in Thane alone,” says Rima Pradhan, VP, Marketing, who sought assistance from the Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC) for the initiative.

The centre can accommodate up to 30 people and is equipped with audio pens, tactile keyboards, audio software and tablets. The sessions are free of cost. “We have two full-time instructors to teach students the use of social media, basic typing and surfing,” she adds.

Ritu Kumar pays tribute to Kalamkaris
Designer Ritu Kumar has launched her new store at Kala Ghoda, and it seriously means to put the “different” back in it’s different. What it aims to do is bring back the focus to Palampores or Kalamkaris, the block printing technique that originated in Andhra Pradesh.

Ritu Kumar
Ritu Kumar

“Few are aware that the Kalamkaris were the ones who taught the world how to pattern with printing, and these prints are still the primary influence on print designs produced in Italy, France and other fashion capitals of the world. I just wanted to introduce it to India again,” said Ritu Kumar, in an email from France.

The designs, sourced from all over the world, have been mounted at the store. “It took me six months to identify them, redraw them, then feed the drawings into a computer, change the scale and add and subtract flowers, birds, foliage etc., to suit the measurements of the store.”

The store will also boast an installation of Benarasi cotton, which took about two months to mount and has a kaleidoscope of different designs. “Benarasi cotton is a fabric of antiquity. It supports the handloom workers of Benaras, and gives power to women who cut the weft thread to release the fabric of its heavy structure.

The installation lights up to highlight the technique, which is perhaps the only one of its kind still in use in the world.” Well, all the more reason to celebrate.

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