Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

30 May,2021 07:40 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Team mid-day

The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Pic/Atul Kamble

All the world’s a field

A band of boys play cricket during low tide at the waterfront in Khar West.

Telling the Tata story

Mircea Raianu

A professor at the University of Maryland, Mircea Raianu, has turned his interest towards India with a forthcoming title, which will offer a portrait of the 150-year-old Tata corporation. The book, Tata: The Global Corporation That Built Indian Capitalism (Harvard University Press), which will be published by HarperCollins India, is a one-of-its-kind attempt to trace the fortunes of the family-run business. Raianu, who is a historian of global capitalism and modern South Asia, dipped into the company’s archive for his research, to understand the lessons its story may hold for the future of global capitalism. Among other things, the book will look into Tata’s connections with America, its control over natural resources, and most importantly, its understanding of philanthropy.

Pedal mission

Cycling enthusiast Anand Vanjape has started a new mission. He wants to donate old, unused cycles to the needy. When we spoke to him, he said, “In metros and towns of India, a large number of unused, old and faulty bicycles are lying on the premises of many housing societies. I am engaged in promotion of cycling and have started an initiative to repair old bicycles and give them to the needy students through public participation. I am receiving help from Nilesh Shinde, a social worker from Kothrud, Pune, with logistics.” His Pune initiative has even reached Mumbai and Panvel now. If any philanthropist would like to donate their old/new bicycles please contact Vanjape 9890998644 (Pune) or Pallavi Girish Oak 9820298180 (Mumbai).

The chef’s chef says goodbye

Ramesh’s place was Goa’s best-kept food secret since the late ’80s when he set it up with his wife, Sushma. Pics Courtesy/Bawmra Jap (right) Chef Bawmra Jap often spoke of Ramesh as the “chef’s chef”

But, how do we find Ramesh? The instructions to that oft-posed question were specific. And they came from Goa boy and designer Saviojon Fernandes. “Turn right from German Bakery at Anjuna into a snaky lane. Take the road up to Wanderer’s Hostel, and take the left to follow the red-soiled road until you see a non-restaurant. Ask for Ramesh. Don’t leave without trying the smoked mackerel.” Ramesh Laxman Kambi (it took a while for this diarist to unearth the full name of a man who was simply known as Ramesh in Goa’s food circles) ran a restaurant that was sincere, much like the gharguti khanayalayas that dot the Konkan coast.  In a shirt (that soon came off in the heat), Hawaiian print shorts and flip-flops, he stood at the entrance, flashing a big smile. That picture bore no trace of a man known as the “chef’s chef”, by some of India’s well-known culinary talents, including Bawmra Jap.

His famed smoked mackerel was rubbed with rock salt, stuffed with Goan green chillies and wrapped in banana leaf before it was smoked on a makeshift brick oven in the courtyard

A blackboard scribbled with the day’s menu reflected the simple fresh catch he served using local produce, rustled up in the adjoining yard where his wife, Sushma, assisted him, the day’s laundry hung to dry and cats roaming like neighbourhood thugs. Ramesh was always on his feet, shuttling between the kitchen and outdoors in quick strides, popping by our table to revisit short stories of famous chef friends. A five-minute break while the bangda cooked in banana leaf on a makeshift oven saw him pour a drink and have a smoke with his feet up. He was unhurried, unrehearsed as the smoked mackerel with a side of lime and crab curry he served, while reprimanding us, “You city girls don’t eat.” We couldn’t have left the place without taking a bite of his jaggery-coconut pancakes. Ten minutes ago, we had heard Sushma scrape the coconut for it. With local gud and a pinch of nutmeg, it was a burst of flavours and texture. Ramesh was Goa’s best-kept culinary secret. Just as he had lived quietly, he passed on silently last Wednesday. He is survived by Sushma and two daughters, Divya and Mithali.

Great pair figured out