This food and music showcase in Mumbai will offer a unique multisensory experience

19 June,2024 09:15 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Devashish Kamble

A food and music showcase this weekend centred on the idea of fermentation, aims to offer a unique multisensory experience in the city

(From left) Ustad Farooque Latif Khan, Ashish Ragwani, Sangeeta Lahiri, Vishal Dhumal

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What chocolates are to the Swiss, pickles are to Indians, believes Pinank Shah, founder of food venture Goosebumps, and the brains behind the Food and Ghazal Show. It's this conviction that has been brewing, or rather fermenting, in his mind that has set him on a journey to present the culinary art, paired with various performing arts. "We chose to begin with music because good music, and good pickle, must both leave you with the same feeling - goose bumps," Shah elaborates.

Making a good pickle, Shah believes, is nothing short of an art form. "While a musician marinates words in emotions and mixes ideas with rhythms to create music, a pickle comes to life when you put love and fruits in a jar and let them ferment," he shares.

Deepak Marathe at the rehearsals

With that analogy in mind, the event will unfold in four parts. "We will present our audience with a fermentation-themed fare to pick from as they enter the lobby that leads to the auditorium. Welcome drinks are passé," he laughs. The tasting session features eight pickles, including experimental strawberry and kokum pickles, served with unflavoured crackers.

"The idea is to contemporise the pickle," he explains. To that end, the pickles are served in wine glasses, in taco shells, and as dips. "Whatever it takes to draw the younger populations in," he adds. While participants savour the treats, a line-up featuring names like Sangeeta Lahiri, Vishal Dhumal, Ustad Farooque Latif Khan, Ashish Ragwani, and Deepak Marathe, will prepare to present a curated set of ghazals.

Pickles made using pineapples, strawberries and kokum will be on the curated tasting menu at the event

"When I first heard Shah's analogy for fermentation of thoughts, I realised that he had put in words what musicians like me have been practising for years," admits Ragwani, a senior percussionist. "Even if you dissect the journey of a musician, you'll see how he/she ferments in the influences of their guru, their family, and their riyaaz to shape their art," he points out.

The ghazals, we learn, are handpicked by Ragwani and his long-time collaborators to fit the theme of patience, stillness, and longing. Be it Ulti ho gayi sab tadbiren by Begum Akhtar, or Zindagi mein toh sabhi pyar kiya karte hain by Mehdi Hassan, Ragwani tells us how these ghazals, while familiar to avid listeners of the genre, will be a good introduction for others.

Pinank Shah (right) serves pickled treats to visitors at a previous pop up in the city

A break from the ghazal session will give Shah the opportunity to present another set of culinary experiments. A fermented mango drink made with khatta paani (the water it is fermented in) will be served alongside snacks like anarse, a Maharashtrian rice-based soft biscuit, and handvo, a Gujarati staple.

"When people say they're not a ‘pickle person', it's usually because they don't know how diverse the ingredients can get. For a country where pickles exist in more shapes and forms than you can try in a lifetime, they are under-represented in modern culinary spaces," Shah shares.

Ragwani draws a parallel, adding, "In a similar way, the reason why classical music from the Indian Subcontinent remains unexplored by the younger populations is their preconceived notions. When they come witness what classical music really sounds like, I'm sure it'll change some minds and give the traditional art form new patrons."

ON June 23; 7.30 pm onwards
AT Rangasharda Auditorium, Reclamation, Nityanand Nagar, Bandra West.
ENTRY Rs 799 onwards

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