>> We haven’t been to Jumjoji (‘Let’s eat’ in Gujarati) the Parsi diner at Bandra Reclamation that opened in February this year and so would love to hear what connoisseurs of Parsi cuisine have to say about it.
Naturally, we are dying to eat the wonderfully named dishes on the menu like Piroja Irani’s chicken sticks, Freni aunty’s mutton dhansak, but until then we can’t help but share this ad for the restaurant that a friend posted on Facebook. Depicting Parsi icon, the late great Freddy Mercury it encapsulates all the wit and self-deprecating humour the community is loved for.
Ironically, Mercury who died of bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS in 1991 was flamboyant about most things in his life (like his sexual orientation and penchant for cross-dressing) but tried to conceal his Parsi roots till the end.
A shame because members of his community mention his name with as much pride as they do their other cherished icons like Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw, industrialist JRD Tata and actor Persis Khambatta.
>> We all have ways we cope with bad days. Some people indulge in retail therapy, some withdraw under the blankets and some drown their sorrows in drink and food. Me? I read Nora Ephron.
Ever since the essayist, journalist, author, scriptwriter and director wrote her first book, Heartburn in which she transformed personal tragedy (the high-profile breakup of her marriage to the philandering journalist Carl Bernstein) in to a thing of beauty and a joy forever, I was hooked. How could someone write about something so painful and personal and manage to make it humorous and universal? To Ephron, I would turn at different stages of my life, for inspiration and entertainment. She, after all, is the one who gave us one of the most memorable scenes in Hollywood contemporary history when she had Meg Ryan fake an orgasm in a restaurant in the iconic When Harry Met Sally. She’s the one who had women go ‘awwww’ with Billy Crystal’s dialogue from the same film.
(“I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts.”) And she’s the one who had the best putdowns a woman could say about an ex: “He’s capable of having sex with a Venetian Blind.” So, yesterday when I leant that Ephron had died at 71 though sad I was not going to allow myself to be maudlin.After all we still have her works and that wonderful piece of wisdom she once shared with the graduating students of her alma mater Wellesly, “Above all, she said, “Be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” We like!
>> We have always saluted the wisdom in Satyajit Ray’s comment about ‘acting local thinking global’. In an age of escalating fuel hikes, traffic delays and the Internet we feel that the world would be a happier place if people ate lived engaged and socialised locally. This Tuesday night, the thought was reinforced, when we attended a discussion at a home opposite Oval.
The conclave of art deco buildings constructed opposite the Oval maidan is or has been home to some of Mumbai’s most talented, outspoken and interesting people for instance. Who? Well, adman, activist Gerson Dacunha, filmmaker Ayesha Poo Sayani, the late columnist Behram Contractor, author and journalist Mridula Sood Maluste, foodie Parvana, Boga Noorani, publisher and cultural impresario Padmini Mirchandani, the late writer and adman Kersy Katrak, the late theatre veteran Pearl Padamsee, civic activists Nayana Kathpalia, actor Farid Currim, adman Roger Pereira amongst others. What’s best of all is that residents of this area appear to meet, exchange ideas and onions and are a world unto themselves. Who lives in your area? We think it’s time you discovered.
When Rushdie met Dom
>> Yesterday, we were thrilled to receive the Ranjit Hoskote-edited Dom Moraes: Selected Poems published under the Penguin Modern Classics imprint. Dominic Francis Moraes, popularly known as Dom Moraes, was a celebrated Goan writer, poet and columnist and a familiar figure in and around Colaba (where he lived with his wife, the late wife the celebrated actress Leela Moraes).
Everyone has the favourite Moraes story, mine is this: according to Salman Rushdie, when he met Dom in the early ‘80s, the poet was in the throes of one of his most harrowing bouts of alcoholism and so was not a reliable potential host when he invited the visiting Booker prize winner to his home after they’d drowned a couple of drinks at the Harbour bar. Apparently, after somehow staggering a few blocks down to Dom’s flat, Rushdie was mystified to be kept waiting for a good 45 minutes in the living room after Dom disappeared into the bedroom and he heard a thud and a well modulated woman’s scream. “No Dommy. You invited him. You bloody well entertain him!” After a long and enigmatic wait, the author says a forlorn bearer led him to the dinner table saying, “Saab behosh gir gaya.” And what did Rushdie do? “I ate my fish and chips alone and went home recounted the celebrated author.” We shall read the poems with bittersweet memories.
Out of Africa
>> Ace documentary photographer, the celebrated Sudharak Olwe has just returned from South Africa and shared his amazing pictures with us. Having travelled across the world on assignment we were pleasantly surprised to note that far from jaded, Olwe still retains his enthusiasm for new places.
Of South Africa he was particularly excited. “It is one of the most amazing countries for a photographer to visit. While travelling you can spot zebras and giraffes. You are close to nature and animals and at some places you also become a part of it, which is amazing.” Of course, a trip to the region is not complete without a taste of its famous wines and meats.
“We tasted different types of wines with a traditional South African barbeque also called braai and yes, I ate amazing ostrich meat with no fats with different wines,” says the photographer.