>> Could anyone be more worthy of Javed Akhtar’s immortal lyrics in his paean to young beauty ek ladki ko dekha in 1942: A Love Story (‘When I saw this girl, she seemed to me like a blooming rose, a poet’s dream, a ray of light, a deer in the forest…’) than award winning and ephemerally delicate actress Manisha Koirala?
And yet, after encountering a fair share of recent personal challenges like a failed marriage and a tryst with ovarian cancer, the actress appears to have emerged stronger and more beautiful if this recent photograph is any thing to go by. An impassioned subscriber to new age aphorisms, her recent post taken from the site True Activist seems to describe her situation best. ‘The size of your problems is nothing compared to your ability to solve them. Don’t over estimate your problems and under estimate yourself.’ We like!
A rockstar and a hero
>> It was not so much his post that caught our attention as the fact that its shares (74 at last count) revealed how profoundly Mumbai yearns for heroes. When Pentagrammer and music composer Vishal Dadlani described an accident he’d come upon early on Saturday morning, it appeared to be very much a routine SoBo TGIF crisis: ‘Driving back from Worli, we saw two cars that had been in a pretty severe accident. A silver Mercedes which was busted up, but not too bad, and a maroonish car that had overturned, and was so smashed up, I have no idea what make it was,” wrote the rock star that has time again proven to possess a sensitivity that breaks the head banger stereotype.
“People were already helping when we got there. The three people in the maroon car were badly injured. We tried to jimmy the doors, yank them open, but no go. Around 10 of us, then decided to flip the car to get the last guy out. He was severely injured and unconscious, but in a lot of pain,” he wrote, adding, “Each of the three were carefully carried to a car belonging to a guy called Pratik, who drove them to Lilavati. We followed, along with a couple of other cars from the site of the crash, to make sure that they were admitted safely. At the hospital, the ward boys were prompt, polite and efficient. An Inspector More, from Bandra police station, (again very polite, very calm, very efficient) took down details, and took possession of five phones, a purse containing personal effects and Rs 11,206 rupees in cash. He diligently noted down everything he had been handed.”
Given the way things are going in Mumbai it was no surprise that Dadlani’s words would warm the cockles of any cynic’s heart : “This city is seen as so heartless, in the media everyday. We’ve all sorta started to believe it. But the people I met tonight, were concerned, selfless, decent people. The city I love is still alive. I wish there was some way for me to convey my thanks to all those guys, for rekindling some hope in my heart.” Mumbai needs its heroes and we can think of few more likely candidates than Vishal Dadlani.
Pseud’s corner: Introducing an old favourite
“The implicit politics of Ramanujan’s scholarship bore in a different way on the politics of post-war America. Chicago, let us recall, was the site of many of the fiercest ‘culture wars’ in modern American history, with much ink and ire expended on questions about the idea of a literary canon: could there be such a thing, and if so, what should be on it? The literatures of the non-Western world were a constant bone of contention. Was there reason to include them in the canon beyond the demands of that much-maligned notion, ‘political correctness’? It was Ramanujan’s translations that first made it possible for the non-Sanskrit literatures of India to stake their claim at the canonical altar.”
— From Reading the Small Print an article on poet AK Ramanujan by Nakul Krishna in Caravan magazine
Salaam Mumbai : The end of hyperbole
And now that we are all going back to pre-reform poorness and desperate insolvency perhaps the only silver lining that we will have is a cessation of hyperbole in lifestyle writing. Think about it, until the late 80s, any commercial enterprise wanting to allude to exclusivity and class only had the use of such egregious terms as ‘olde worlde’ ‘shoppe’ and ‘chic’ (pronounced chick). That was way before the great designer boom, the lifestyle revolution, the luxury onslaught and the advent of the celebrity interior desecrator (sic) ruined our bank balances and language. When we were all young and innocent and no right-minded person would try and sell us an overpriced satchel by saying it was ‘a bespoke collector’s item that whispered uber luxe.’ Then it all began to go pear shaped with rising incomes and runaway hype. Designers were now couturier; every piece of luxury merchandise from a water faucet to a pair of shoes was ‘inspired by nature and a tribute to the art of living’; owners of boutiques were now ‘purveyors of luxury’; appointments to tailor shops were ‘by invitation’ and going to tea at a musty old palace converted into a hotel was ‘a heritage experience’. This was in the late 90s when copywriters and giddy young girls wearing Prada on their first jobs at luxury magazines were just discovering the wonder of the Euphuism. By the turn of the century all hell had broken loose. Every two bit housewife with a penchant for scattering cushions was a ‘design maven’, every cook with access to Jamie Oliver’s shows was ‘a Renaissance man’ and of course we had mavens and aesthetes and muses by the hundreds. You did not visit a spa, you ‘were treated to the divine experiences of Nature’s goodness’; you could not eat daal at a restaurant as much as it could ‘titillate your taste buds’ and of course, ordering a cup of coffee was as painful as a tooth extraction: (deep Colombian roast? Peruvian monsoon magic? Exclusive North wind dried natural extract?)
So now that we are all pitiably poor and can never buy the luxuries that we couldn’t afford in the first place and never needed at all, I for one am looking forward to a cessation of all hyperbole, excess and unnecessary overkill! That would be iconic, wouldn’t it!