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The great leveller

It’s that time of the year again. The week before the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon when the city gears up for what has become what is truly one of the few democratic and inclusive events of late.

No special VIP passes required, no exclusive enclosures for special invitees and mercifully no cars on the road for one blissful morning! And who better than Rahul Bose, actor, director, national sports star, philanthropist and avid marathon runner and fitness freak to capture the excitement of the event? “For me the Mumbai marathon is the most beautiful day in Mumbai’s year.

It is the one day where everybody, if only for a few hours, is equal. The street is the great leveller. Some of us run barefoot, some of us in Nike shoes, but all of us run together. Even if you watch, you are the same. No A/C boxes, no unshaded cement seats.


Rahul Bose. Pic/Farrokh Chothia

Everybody has a front row seat - for free. I have never felt as much love in my life as I have felt on the streets of Mumbai during the marathon. People call out to you by name and for a second we all share the same pride - of being part of a heaving, chaotic megalopolis that we all love and owe everything to.” We like!

The write stuff
When we spoke to author, journalist Namita Devidayal about attending an event coming up this week she informed us that it falls on her ‘writing day in Alibaug’. Intrigued we asked for more details. After all, there is a long and glorious tradition of authors getting away from the maddening crowd to peruse their muse.

Namita Devidayal

“I’ve marked out two days a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays to go to my gorgeous retreat in Alibaug,” said the noted writer whose first book The Music Room on Dhondutai Kulkarni, the legendary singer of the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana received high praise. “The day job is TOI and my 11-year-old! My Alibaug home is a minimalist courtyard house with a lotus pond in its centre. It’s perfect because this book is a contemplative musical journey, inward and external travelogue.” Nice!

North by north south
It was a party that brought together the beautiful people of North and South Mumbai. Hosted by Natasha Poonawalla to bring in the birthdays of her husband Adar and best friend Kajal Anand, the ‘small get together’ turned out to be a 150-200 guests or more spectacular bash at the couple’s sprawling Breach Candy bungalow.

Natasha and Adar Poonawalla

And, of course, given that Kajal Anand and Adar Poonawalla - both gregarious and popular in their own right - have many sets of friends, the party saw the likes of Bollywood star wives Gauri Khan (Kajal’s BFF), Suzanne Roshan and Bhavna Pandey meet and mingle with denizens of SoBo like Jeh Wadia, Tania Dubash and Avanti and Yash Birla. We’re all for cross sea-link pollination!

Gauri Khan

Designs on you
For someone who avoids shopping like the plague, finds all kinds of excuses to avoid it and aspires to be free from the entire business of retail, the fact that an announcement of a sale has whetted our appetite must mean that there are some things even we can’t resist! Stationery is one such. We feel faint when we enter stationery shops: the sight of Lamy and Moleskin note books and Mont Blanc writing accessories makes us weak in the knees. Ditto for exquisitely designed industrial products like Droog from Amsterdam, Anything from Japan, Haniboi from London, Bookman cycle lighting system from Sweden, unit portables systems of bags and pouches from Copenhagen, industrial playground visual furniture designed by Ajay Shah, and Rubberband files and folders. And so, when we were informed that all these and more are available at Everyday Projects’ first sale between January 18-27 at Mahalaxmi we reminded ourselves to put it down in our diary. But wait! What diary? We never got around to buying one thanks to our aversion for shopping! Oh well…. 

Dog day afternoons
In the past we have been asked to judge essay writing contests, music contests, beauty pageants and even most awkwardly of all - Mr Universe! All these have been painful exercises and we find ourselves cringing under the demand of declaring winners and losers. How to break so many hearts and destroy so many hopes?

Guardian Minister for the island city Jayant Patil poses with Farzana Contractor
Guardian Minister for the island city Jayant Patil poses with Farzana Contractor

Which is why when the redoubtable Farzana Behram Contractor, the spirit behind ‘Dog A’Fair,’ the annual doggie carnival held at the Radio Club asked us to be a judge at the doggy pageant we declined.The thought of facing hangdog looks from so many losing dogs was not for the faint-hearted. But regardless of our doggone cowardice we hear that the pageant and the carnival was a barking success.

“There was much tail wagging and happy bow-wows that resounded in the charming and cheerful atmosphere dotted with red and blue tents and yellow sun umbrellas, even as the sail boats and speed boats bobbed on the Arabian Sea on the waters skirting the Radio Club at Colaba, the venue for the event,” said Contractor, publisher of Dogs and More.

“Guardian Minister of the city of Bombay Jayant Patil, and son Pratik, inaugurated the carnival and were totally stumped,” she said, adding, “He stayed on for over an hour, strolling leisurely, taking in the breeze and all the doggie info coming his way… accompanied by Buster, his chocolate brown Lab,” she said. 

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