Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
All roads lead to Baba's iftar
While the President has decided to do away with the annual iftar tradition at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Baba Siddique's iftar is going to have a 'red carpet' like a fashion show would, leaving photographers disgruntled because earlier they had access to the dinner venue where they were able to get candid shots like the legendary hug between an until-then-warring Salman and Shah Rukh. This diarist has learnt that chefs from five-star hotels of eight cities are being flown in for the party.
The menu, however, will be all-out authentic Mughlai fare prepared by veteran khansamas from Lucknow, Delhi and Hyderabad. Among the starters will be roti pe bhuni boti, khaas seekh kebab, and bhatti ka murg. The main course will include a lip-smacking spread of Hyderabad haleem, mutton rogan josh, and tandoori murg masala. The vegetarian options include subz handi and white fungus, bamboo and broccoli in garlic sauce while expect a sugar rush with desserts like shahi tukda, gulkand ice cream and malpua with rabdi. The starry do will take place at a Bandra five-star this weekend.
Meluha no more?
As fans wait with baited breath for author Amish's third book in his celebrated Ramachandra series, Raavan: Son Of Aryavarta, the writer broke some news that is both ensuring and shocking. At actor Sonali Bendre Behl's book club yesterday, the writer announced the name of his new book and disclosed that it will be part of a new series, titled Indic Chronicles.
"The story of Raavan is long, his life was difficult and I want to showcase the emotions right. The book is coming right on schedule. It will be out by the end of the year or early next year," he said, much to the relief of his fans. The new book, which is a homage to Raja Suheldev and the memorable battle he fought against the Turks in 1025 AD, marks Amish's debut in historical fiction. The announcement of Suheldev and The Battle Of Bahraich is representative of not only the author's foray into a new genre, which might yield another bestselling series, but also a note on how books are finding quirkier and newer avenues for a launch.
Back in 2011, when this diarist had interviewed Kamila Shamsie at the Jaipur Literature Festival, we recall the sense of pride in her voice when she spoke of her family that boasted of three generations of women writers. Now, the British Pakistani author has been conferred with the Women's Prize for fiction for Home Fire.
The award is a salute to Shamsie, who has been a staunch supporter of women's rights. In fact, in 2015, she had thrown an open challenge to publishers to dedicate an entire year to publish books only by women writers to combat inequality in the industry. With strong voices like hers creating milestones, we wonder if the publishing gods might actually blink.
Fasten your seat belts for nature
It is only when the environment ceases to be the sole responsibility of activists and starts becoming a cause that involves all will change occur. We saw that happen recently when Swarathma, a Bengaluru-based Indian folk/fusion band released a video, spoofing an airline safety demonstration to talk about the pitfalls of plastic use.
The video features the band's vocalist and rhythm guitarist Vasu Dixit demonstrate witty instructions like when plastic-induced emergency strikes, no fluorescent lighting will guide you to any exit. Dixit then goes on to present an eco-friendly alternative of bags by Small Steps, hand-made by women affected by the 2001 tsunami. We like the sound of this.
A voice for the voiceless
Expressing your views without receiving backlash is becoming increasingly difficult. A new online initiative by the popular Facebook page, Humans of Bombay, in collaboration with hedge fund manager Chintan Bhagat aims to change that. Called We the People, it is a platform for people from all walks of life, irrespective of caste, class, religion or sexual orientation, to voice their opinion.
HOB founder Karishma Mehta told this diarist, "We felt that people don't have the opportunity to express their opinions freely, without any judgment, and this movement will be an aid to all those whose voices are suppressed." But how will they keep the trolls out?
Something seems to have taken actor Shamita Shetty by surprise as she arrives at the Mahalaxmi Turf Club on Thursday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
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