Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Tales

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

Horse owner Deepak Khaitan passes away
Deepak Khaitan, renowned horse owner and industrialist from Kolkata, breathed his last on Monday morning after battling with cancer for about eight years. He is survived by his parents, wife, a son and a daughter.

Deepak Khaitan
Deepak Khaitan

“He was a swell boss, and a very fine human being,” legendary jockey Aslam Kader, who was retained as first rider for the business tycoon’s racehorses, told mid-day. “I had a very successful and long association with him.” Khaitan retained Kader in his prime, between 1991 & 2002, and together they swept a number of Classics and other important races at all racing centers around the country.

“He gave me complete freedom,” Kader added, “even when Johnny Lowe and Paul Cook came to ride for him, he saw to it I always got the first pick as a retained rider. I pray to God to give his family the strength to bear this grief, my heart goes out to them.”

The Ghosh who talks (and writes)
It's a pity the reading is not in Mumbai. Amitav Ghosh’s Flood of Fire, the third in his opium trilogy, which is releasing in May this year, will feature at Spring Fever in the capital, starting this week.

Amitav Ghosh, please come to Mumbai!
Amitav Ghosh, please come to Mumbai!

The preview of the book will open the festival, which is being held from March 14 to 22 at the Amphitheatre, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Spring Fever, now in its eighth year, is organised by Penguin Random House in collaboration with Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre.

The bit of blurb that came with the announcement is tantalising indeed: “It is 1839. The British whose opium trade to China has been blockaded by Beijing the previous year are planning an invasion to force their hand. Their demands an island base in the Pearl Delta from which to continue their trade and a princely sum in compensation for their losses.

... In Mumbai, Shireen Modi waits anxiously for news of her opium-trader husband, only to discover that he has died mysteriously in Hong Kong and lost all his fortune in the opium blockade.” We do hope Ghosh decides to include a reading in the city that plays a role in this book. (PS: It’s Mumbai!)

Get in tune with tradition
Stuck as we are in the city, it is difficult to experience traditional culture, especially music and performing arts, unless events are held in the city.

Vijay Chavan
Vijay Chavan

Not all of us can make it to the source of the art. Well, the National Centre for the Performing Arts is helping to bridge that gap, in its Living Traditions series, showcasing folk traditions of different regions of India.

This year, the focus is on Maharashtra and the NCPA is presenting an ensemble led by Vijay Chavan, featuring myriad folk drums of Maharashtra such as dholki, dimdi, sambal, dhol etc, along with folk forms such as lavni, jagran, gondhal, bhajan, bharud and others.

You could even, if you have time, pick up a little background perhaps, if you pop by the previous evening to watch two documentaries produced by the Films Division, which are free Setu: Selective introduction to the vast & varied heritage of Indian folk music (1987), and Folk Songs of Maharashtra (1955). These will be screened at the Little Theatre at 6.30pm.

What: Living Traditions: Folk Music of Maharashtra, Vijay Chavan & Group
Where: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point
When: March 14, 6.30pm
Tickets: Rs 300, Rs 250 from bookmyshow.com and NCPA

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