Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier

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

Write like an Indian
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize regional winners have been announced and once again, an Indian has won it. After, Siddhart Gigoo last year, this year’s award goes to Parashar Kulkarni.

The assistant professor of Social Sciences at Yale NUS College, Singapore, has said, “I have been trying to write for many years now and I feel encouraged to continue. I am thankful for the opportunity to share my work with Commonwealth Writers, and with Granta. I am also looking forward to reading new and exciting voices that emerge from this initiative.” We look forward to reading the story in Granta.

I can almost hear this voice

Pic/Bipin Kokate

Actor Tom Alter speaks at the release of Kamlesh Puri’s (centre) book, My Father The Villain: Madan Puri at a Fort bookstore last evening. The book is a tribute to one of Hindi cinema’s famous villains. Also seen in the frame is the author’s wife, poet and writer Jane Bhandari.

Lisa, the dancing Leicester fan

When Lisa Ray posted this frame on her Instagram account, we nearly missed the reason for this jig. She wrote, “Just stress testing my broken toe...and celebrating #LeicesterCity... you guys make great cheese.” A true fan, isn’t she?

Cuppa for a cause
We like our chai, and we like caring hearts, and this is a bit of both. Chai for Cancer Day will be held this Sunday. It will be the third year of this campaign.

The brainchild of Viji Venkatesh, Chai for Cancer Adda is A tool to assist patients and caregivers battling cancers like chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) to help generate awareness and raise funds for cancer patients by hosting a chai adda in the locality.

Over the last two years, the movement has grown, with addas having spread across 37 Indian cities. Addas have been held in the homes of well-wishers, hospitals and parks with requests pouring in from volunteers to host them in newer cities. Those keen to know how it works or attend, can log on to

No take-off as yet
The Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) takes a break after the Mumbai season, till racing resumes in the smaller western India race centre of Pune, in July. It usually is fly-the-coop time for the gentlemen of the RWITC committee who get into globetrotting mode; many head to Europe or the US.

The men on the dais at Mahalaxmi, post the Derby. One man in that picture (Vijay Mallya) is already in the UK, though. File pic
The men on the dais at Mahalaxmi, post the Derby. One man in that picture (Vijay Mallya) is already in the UK, though. File pic

Some have holiday homes in England where they catch up on the gentleman’s game or the races. This time though, work has extended beyond Mumbai season time, because of a controversy that arose recently after the curtains fell on the Mumbai season.

The RWITC committee has to find a way to present their case to CM Devendra Fadnavis, next week, to remove a condition that states only those who attend 15 per cent of racing are eligible to vote during the club’s committee election.

The need of the hour is some quick brainstorming and a convincing explanation about why this condition that has been attached to their ‘License to Race’ should be scrapped. Said one gent, rubbing his hands in glee, “They need to park their posteriors on the chair and work for a while; no flying off to UK or US or wherever. They have to earn their seats... ha ha.” Well, like they say, temporarily grounded for matter of work. The European summer can wait, gentlemen.

Battle of the soda
Recently, this diarist dropped by a new watering hole in Andheri that opened in place of Apicius, called Soda Water. Restaurateur AD Singh’s (in pic) hip BKC restaurant, SodaBottleOpenerWala popped in our head, and we wondered if there was a connect.

Soon, we learnt that the eatery that serves mainly Indo-Western fusion eats with cocktails like rum-infused Masala Chai and Pani Puri Mojitos, had no connect with AD. When we asked Singh if he felt the near-similar name was a breach, he said, “Yes, we would. Didn’t know about it,” adding, “We will request them to amicably change their name. Perhaps they were not aware.

If [we meet with] no luck, our legal team will take it forward.” Ouch.

Goila butter chicken at your doorstep
This diarist was invited to a secret supper club by Saransh Goila, author of India On My Platter, where he confessed that we were guinea pigs on whom he’d test drive dishes for a delivery service he plans to launch in Andheri at the end of this month.

Saransh Goila
Saransh Goila

He hopes to take it to the rest of the city, country and later to Dubai. Joining him is his friend from culinary school, Vivek Sahni. The conversation was flavourful with guests discussing their scuba diving expedition among saree-clad women in Tarkali to Delhiites swearing by the capital’s butter chicken, as they munched on beetroot tikkis, mutton kebabs and bao-like kulchas stuffed with mushroom and chicken.

Butter Chicken
Butter Chicken

Goila even donned his colourful aviators to demonstrate how he smoked his paneer makhani and butter chicken. When we dug in, both dishes lived up to the hype. While we devoured the baked mango rasgulla, a humble Goila confessed the tikkis were salty. All in a day’s work for guinea pigs, we say.

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