Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier

Aug 17, 2017, 11:00 IST | Team mid-day

Pic/Mandar Tannu
Pic/Mandar Tannu

Opening floodgates of memories
This week, Bill Gates reportedly donated $4.6bn worth of Microsoft shares, said to be his biggest contribution to charity since the setting up of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. While stock markets may value his worth in numbers, his down-to-earth attitude is what most people who meet him recollect.

Like Jyotindra Zaveri, who was one of the 40 privileged guests invited to meet Gates on his maiden visit to Mumbai on March 5, 1997. Having launched Windows 95 in the earlier part of the decade, the chairman and CEO of Microsoft delivered speeches at forums across Mumbai and New Delhi, outlining a number of imperatives that would enable India to transition to the global networked economy.

"I was invited because I had studied Windows 95 and MS Office 97, and was providing assistance to companies to procure licensed software. I also received a beautiful invite that read: The Future Is Now," recollects the 64-year-old Mumbai-born IT professional, who shifted to Pune three decades ago, and currently, offers training services in social media marketing.

Held at The Oberoi Hotel in Nariman Point, Zaveri reminisces about the session, "While there was a certain decorum, it was more informal than a seminar. Gates was excited about India being a huge market and lent his ear to our questions. I remember asking him how we could go about promoting the licensed software since pirated versions were available. He made a note of it and also shared how the upgrades in the software would work. What I found striking was his humility. He didn't have the arrogance one would associate with the richest man in the world."

Pic/Atul Kamble
Pic/Atul Kamble

Why the gaze, Swara?
Actress Swara Bhaskar takes a selfie using a tablet encased in a mirror after a show at the ongoing fashion week at a Lower Parel five-star.

The misal gets a new temporary home
It may have won the tastiest vegetarian dish of the world in 2015, but patrons of Aaswad Upahar and Mithaigriha have vouched for its misal pav and other Maharashtrian fare for 33 years. Now, we hear, the eatery is temporarily shifting base from the buzzing Sena Bhavan junction to another location in Dadar, as the building it is housed in is undergoing redevelopment.

"The new space, located opposite Amar Hind Mandal on Gokhale Road, will be functional in about 10 days. It will also have a banquet facility for small gatherings," owner Suryakant Sarjoshi told this diarist. Powering through a presentation over kanda poha may not be just be a foodie fantasy any more.

Bibliophiles can head to Lower Parel
The entire set of books from the Time Life Library of Art series featuring titles on Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Vemeer among other greats, another such invigorating set on photography, and other non-fiction treasures await anyone in quest of self-improvement at the newly launched Open Library Project in Lower Parel. The brainchild of Satyajit Roy, who owns a food start-up, the library has started out with an eclectic collection of 100 books and aims to offer 500 titles soon. "The books are lent for free for up to 30 days. The idea being that if you want one for more than a month, you should probably buy it," Roy told this diarist, adding that he felt the need for such an initiative as leading bookstores offer a limited choice. Ready to bury your head in a book? Roy can be reached at 8779702821.

Pushing boundaries
Aroop, one of the journals that The Raza Foundation publishes, has curator and cultural theorist Nancy Adajania as guest editor this time., who has christened the issue Some Things That Only Art Can Do: A Lexicon of Affective Knowledge, to be launched on August 28 at Max Mueller Bhavan.

Returning Home by GM Sheikh, one of the featured works
Returning Home by GM Sheikh, one of the featured works

Adajania has brought together 67 contributors, a number that she rightly describes as "a mini biennial". Instead of the conventional format of essays, she has invited contributors, among whom are artists, curators, poets and theatre personalities, to offer a word each, thus forming a lexicon of sorts.

Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh, for instance, offered "eclectic", as a manner of improvising the notion of the impure in art. With text and images, Adajania says that it's like an exhibition in a book, and she adds that she has also designed the edition.

Give it a twirl
For a while now, Twitter has been playing its emoji game well, be it with commemorative ones (for Ambedkar Jayanti) or branded emojis for film or event promotions. And yesterday, the social media platform launched India's first ever fashion emoji for the ongoing fashion week. A lehenga-style desi red outfit with a drape crop top, the stylish icon reminded us of the popular dancing girl in red emoji. Care to give it a shot?

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