Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier

Jul 12, 2017, 10:02 IST | Team mid-day

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

The ringside view
A week after the sudden collapse of a ball girl during the match between Ernest Gulbis and Victor Estrella Burgos in the ongoing Wimbledon championship, the social media team of the coveted tennis tournament dedicated a video to the hard work put in by the kids.

The footage - through the eyes of Olivia Mellet, who has been dealing with the ferocious rubber since 2013 - captures the unpredictability of their job. "Even if you've done it before, anything can happen. You have to practise every day to make it look perfect," she says in the video, which also has glimpses of Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic. The tournament, according to reports, has at least 250 ball boys and girls scurrying through the court.

Pic/Sameer Markande
Pic/Sameer Markande

All guns blazing in Andheri
Actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Bidita Bag cut quite a picture with their antics at the trailer launch of their upcoming film in Andheri yesterday.

Nature, books and some art
For the Mumbai launch of his biography of Indira Gandhi that chronicles her life as a naturalist, MP and former environment minister Jairam Ramesh was keen on releasing the book at BNHS, an organisation Gandhi was deeply connected with, thanks to her friend, Dr Salim Ali.

His plan came to fruition recently when BNHS played host to the launch, but what made it more special was the gesture of an elderly gentleman seated in the audience. As Ramesh walked up to the podium, the man got up to stand at a distance from the politician, took out his sketchbook and started drawing his portrait! The BNHS officials were stumped by this impromptu sketching session.

"We have seen him in our library often. And all we know is that he is a sketch artist for movies," Bilwada Kulkarni, PRO, BNHS, told this diarist. "By the end of Mr Ramesh's address, he was ready with this beautiful sketch!" Now, isn't this so much better than a selfie?

Keep writing, Mr Ghosh
Tweaking the oft-repeated phrase by a whiskey brand, we had just one birthday wish for Amitav Ghosh, when the acclaimed writer celebrated his 61st yesterday - to keep on writing. The few meetings that this diarist has had with Ghosh were lessons in intellectual coolth. With a smile, and sagely calm, the wizard of historic fiction, is an interviewer's delight.

Of course, we lived the fangirl moment, throughout. Ghosh's interviews were like globetrotting joyrides, as he revealed anecdotes from his plots, his thirst for research and how far he would travel to source information (all the way to the heart of the Indian Ocean - Mauritius, even), his culinary pursuits, and his three working desks in New York, Goa and Kolkata.

He even shared his simple writing mantra: "Writing books is an extended act of concentration." And here's an admission that will bring a smile to all his Goan fans -"Having Goa in my life has been a gift," he shared. Thank you Goa, and Mr Ghosh.

The Nawabzadi pens a memoir
If you are one of those who closely follows the news about royalty, Soha Ali Khan will soon give you another reason to keep your passion alive. The actress is all set to join the bandwagon of celeb writers with her memoir, The Perils of Being Moderately Famous, which releases this December.

Soha Ali Khan
Soha Ali Khan

The book is a collection of humorous, and sometimes, bizarre stories on her life as a royal princess and a "moderately famous" celebrity, as she likes to call herself. Coming from a truly well-known family, we like how Khan had no qualms about evaluating her own stardom, and giving herself this intriguing tag.

An Asian extravaganza
Progressive Oriental House or POH, the latest entrant to Kamala Mills, may still be a few days away from its official launch, but the Asian fine-dine is already tickling the taste buds of the city's famous faces.

Chef Vikramjit Roy and Avik Chatterjee
Chef Vikramjit Roy and Avik Chatterjee

As part of its Asia on a Plate series, The Asia Society India Centre (ASIC) recently organised a members-only evening at the restaurant, where owner Avik Chatterjee played host and the guests tucked into a 12-course dinner designed by Chef Vikramjit Roy.

"We started this series with Burma Burma in 2014, where apart from savouring good food, the aim is to know more about Asian cuisine from the chefs themselves," Karishma Talwar, programme officer, ASIC, told this diarist. "Our next venue would be a restaurant from a Japanese chain."

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