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We heard a note of genuine excitement in BJP treasurer and spokesperson, Shaina NC’s voice. “This Saturday, author Chetan Bhagat will be talking to Devendra Fadnavis, president of Maharashtra unit of BJP and MLA from Nagpur,” she said.

In fact, it was at Shaina’s father Nana Chudasama’s birthday that we had met Fadnavis. We recall how we had noticed the queue of top industrialists and city movers and shakers lined-up to meet him.

Shaina NC
Shaina NC

“I will be talking on the same occasion on the importance of voting,” said Shaina, an impassioned advocate of exercising one’s franchise. “It’s such a shame when Mumbai puts up poor figures of electoral turnout,” said the lady, who is known to manage her two roles as designer and politician effortlessly.

Devendra Fadnavis Chetan Bhagat
Devendra Fadnavis and Chetan Bhagat

Go, Goan, gone football
“My father started a football team over 50 years ago and Dempo did it 40 years back,” says Raj Salgaocar, scion of a leading Goan industrialist family. “Now Shrinivas Dempo and I have combined our individual legacies with Venugopal Dhoot and Virat Kohli to create FC Goa, a winning team for the ISL,” he said, ahead of first match to be played over the weekend in Goa.

Zico and Robert Pires
Zico and Robert Pires

“ISL has provided us with the unique opportunity to infuse fresh enthusiasm and zest into the sport.” And how does the man, equally passionate about rock music as he is about the beautiful game, rate his team’s chance?

Raj Salgaocar
Raj Salgaocar

“Our biggest strength is our choice of Zico as our Head coach and Marquee manager. Zico is a legend and committed to build a superb team. We are also fortunate to have Robert Pires as our Marquee player. Pires has iconic status, and being part of the then Arsenal invincible, our players are very motivated by him.” As for football fever in Goa, Salgaocar says it’s doing quite well, thank you.

“There is already a palpable buzz about ISL here,” he smiles, adding, “All Goans are passionate about football. And deep down, everyone is a Goan!”

A fellow traveller
“Laveena and I, like most of our friends, love to travel. And the adventure for us begins, not on arriving at our final destination but in choosing an airline,” writes Sajjid Mitha who, when he isn’t writing his travel blog ‘Travel Mango’ is the founder-creator of India’s first petrochemical online real time news and price alert service and is a shareholder in a microbrewery.

Sajjid and Laveena Mitha
Sajjid and Laveena Mitha

“Most of my readers may have noticed that the name of my national carrier, Air India, is sadly missing from the above list,” says Mitha in his latest post ‘Air India: Scare India’ about a monumentally under whelming experience he had on the airline. This measured and devastating description of his experience so matched our own, that we read it twice.

Because like Mitha, we too had been appalled at the hygiene and service standards when we had the misfortune of flying Mumbai-Singapore a couple of years ago. “I asked our hostess for the menu. She said that on the Mumbai-Bangkok sector, they didn’t print special menus, even though this was an international sector,” writes Mitha.

(When we had asked for the wine list, our airhostess had said blithely, “We only keep two types: red and white.”) And like Mitha, we too had been severely depressed by the greasy furnishings, worn cutlery and smelly unclean toilets.

“We would have been happier cramped in a hot air balloon ride back home,” he writes. On reading Mitha’s blog, we felt we had found a fellow-soul. After all, there are very few of us who genuinely believe that it’s not the destination, but the journey that matters!

The other side of Gandhis
We know that it’s fashionable to diss the Gandhis now. Which is why we feel it’s timely to narrate this anecdote involving a Sobo doctor’s experience with them a few years ago when they were in their power days. “Rahul required a small surgery.

Rahul Gandhi with sister Priyanka
Rahul Gandhi with sister Priyanka

There was no fuss or fanfare. On the appointed day, the Gandhi siblings had shown up, not a chamcha in sight. And throughout her brother’s operation, Priyanka had waited alone, chatting warmly with the staff. And after it was done, they departed as quietly as they had come.” Not a very exciting anecdote, but we think one worth telling, now that they are the subjects of so much vilification.

North by northwest
By now, readers might have guessed where we stand on Mumbai’s famous geographical divide. Having spent our childhood in Juhu and adolescence in Sobo, we plead guilty to a bias towards the North. Which is why we were delighted to hear that Tata Literature Live! Mumbai’s own lit fest, now in its fifth year, is moving north!

Anil Dharker Kunal Kapoor
Anil Dharker and Kunal Kapoor

“Apart from the four days at NCPA from October 30 to November 2, there will be two days at Prithvi,” says Anil Dharker, the fest’s indefatigable founder. “This needed an act of generosity from Kunal Kapoor, who had to change his entire annual maintenance schedule to accommodate the two days just before Prithvi’s own theatre festival,” says Dharker.

Why the extra mile? “I go back a long way with Shashi and Jennifer. And the Kapoors go back even further in the support of culture,” he says. So the culture-vulture Prithvi theatre crowd will hear ‘the word’ in a different form on November 1 and 2. Want to bet which side of the city will have more bibliophiles attending?

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