Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier

Sep 08, 2017, 10:12 IST | Team mid-day

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

Co-work and create art
In the last couple of years, a number of co-working spaces have sprung up in the city. However, here's one with a difference. Meghana Biwalkar, who curates various art holidays under her firm The Travel of Art has launched an art community space by the same name that operates from Bliss store in Versova. Open to creative entrepreneurs, artists and even those who just wish to spend some me-time with a canvas, the two-week-old space offers a variety of art supplies - from watercolours to design scrolls, easels and brushes. "After interacting with a lot of artists, I realised there was a need for a space where artists could co-create, teach and showcase their talents," Biwalkar told this diarist. The venue also conducts pop-up sales and workshops like one on kitsch art watercolour with Bengaluru-based artist Parinitha Konanur slated for tomorrow.

Pic/Sameer Markande
Pic/Sameer Markande

Behind every superstar
Actor Kangana Ranaut fools around with celebrity hairstylist Daniel Bauer at a Bandra studio last afternoon.

The chef, the red carpet and 70 dishes
While most mortals get overwhelmed if they have to cook a three-course meal, chef Vikas Khanna managed to host a dinner featuring 70! The dishy chef, who attended the 74th Venice International Film Festival, was also the toast of the night when Buried Seeds, a film by Andrei Severny was selected for a special preview screening at the Villa of Giornate degli Autori.

Andrei Severnei, his wife and Vikas Khanna
Andrei Severnei, his wife and Vikas Khanna

Khanna hosted an exclusive dinner to celebrate 70 years of India's Independence with 70 dishes. He tells us, "This was the first time only two people from my team could travel to Venice because of visa issues and hence, we had to work with a motley group of people who couldn't speak English at all [and spoke] French, Danish, Italian and so on.

We connected over the language of spices and food. It was a lovely experience meeting and working with chef Mario Dalena and teaching him how to make the Lucknowi Tundey Kebab." Other dishes from the vast menu included Bhupali Saffron Sheermal, Kerala Duck Roast, Pondicherry Crab Cakes, Modak with coconut, pine nuts maple syrup and candied sugar stuffing. Yum.

Sumeet's act of rewiring
"I fared poorly in school... simply because I was really dumb," confessed actor Sumeet Vyas before students of the BITS institute in Goa recently. The talk, which was part of a TEDX event, revealed a little-known side of Vyas, who hit the right notes with the web series, Permanent Roommates.

Vyas minced no words describing his initial struggle, but if there was one takeaway for the young students from the talk, it was this: "I keep rewiring myself as an actor every few years. What my priority was until a few years ago, doesn't feature in my bucket list today. But that's what life is."

What's your zodiac tree?
Mention your birth date in a casual conversation and it would most likely evoke a straight jacketing of your personality according to your zodiac sign. But what if you said you were born in the Rohini nakshatra (lunar mansion) and the subsequent response was, 'So, did your parents plant a jamun tree when you were born?' That's what Wadhdivasache Jhaad (Marathi for birthday trees), a book released earlier this week, does.

Eaknath Kumbhar
Eaknath Kumbhar

Authored by retired school principal Eaknath Kumbhar, the book marries his interests in botany and old scriptures. "There are 27 nakshatras in Hindu astrology, and each nakshatra has a corresponding aaradhya vriksha [revered tree]," the Goregaon resident told this diarist. He also shared interesting trivia like those born in the Rohini nakshatra are believed to be prone to diabetes, hence the prescribed jamun tree for its medicinal benefits.

The banyan tree is associated with Magha nakshatra
The banyan tree is associated with Magha nakshatra

But isn't it all about belief ultimately? "When you call these trees 'revered', it doesn't generate the kind of interest a 'birthday tree' would. These are all ayurvedic plants with useful properties. If it encourages people to plant trees on their birthday and take care of them, it is only doing some good for the environment," Kumbhar replied. Now, who would have a problem with that?

Busting myths about Sita
Despite being strong characters, some of the women in our epics were subjugated given how we've been a patriarchal society since time immemorial.

Now, Talking Myths, an initiative by Dr Vidya Kamat, Arundhuti Dasgupta (in pic) and Utkarsh Patel, who bring their experiences from diverse backgrounds to explore mythological themes, is setting up an online archive of the myths, legends and folktales of the subcontinent.

As part of the initiative, they are also organising a session where the focus will be on these female characters. "We all know Draupadi as a feisty woman indebted to Krishna for saving her honour. But what about the fact that she, too, is revered as a goddess in many parts of the country?" Dasgupta explains. Plus, many women over the years have written the Ramayana.

How did they portray Sita, who's played second fiddle to her eulogised husband in every other version of the epic? To find out more, head to Studio Tamashaa this Saturday.

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