Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Pulling a stunt
It looks like Varun Dhawan is a true acrobat until you notice a person aiding him in the background at the launch of a song he features in with Nora Fatehi. Pic/Sameer Markande
Future of stores
According to a recently released study by the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), e-commerce as we know it is going to change. On one hand, we are set to become the second largest market for it by 2034, and concepts like Augmented Reality (AR) and dark stores that have only just begun will see a boom.
AR is set to become more mature and you may be able to try every product you buy online, from clothes to accessories. Distribution centres or dark stores will be far more common and will continue to expand making hyperlocal shopping on the web truly real. So, latch on to your purse strings until then!
Is the food on track?
The stalls at Chowpatty come to mind first when one thinks of local food, but Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus station is looking to give tough competition to them. The railway landmark has now been conferred with Eat Right Station certification, a five-star rating by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, which states that the food available there is safe and healthy.
The oily vada pavs don't seem to say that, but then, earlier this year both Juhu and Girgaum Chowpatty were declared Clean Street Food Hubs by the Food and Drug Administration. And yet, both hubs remain littered with trash, except that the stall wallahs now sport a hairnet cap.
The Cardinal's Christmas
On Christmas eve, this newspaper ran an insightful interview with Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay on his 75th birthday. On Christmas day, the leading visionary of the Roman Catholic church in India, celebrated the day, as he usually does, by spending Christmas with an underprivileged group. In the past, he has celebrated Christmas with members of the tribal and Dalit communities, slum dwellers, pickers, and migrant workers, to name a few.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias talks to the gathering at Archbishop's House
This year, it was with parishioners from Pestom Sagar Church and Shivaji Nagar Church. Situated within slums of Chembur and Govandi, 65 people from 23 families were hosted at the Archbishop's House on Christmas morning. He welcomed them, blessed them and led them in prayer along with cutting a birthday cake that was then distributed. The kids in the group played games, after which he gifted the families hampers.
This diarist remembers watching an Indian Ocean concert in Kolkata's Jadavpur University in 2005, where the open-air auditorium was bursting at the seams with people. The band brought the house down and people talk fondly of that concert even to this day. But there has been a change in the line-up since. Percussionist Asheem Chakravorty died of a heart attack on December 25, 2009, after suffering another one first at Qatar airport while the band was returning from a tour in the US.
(From left) Asheem Chakravorty, Amit Kilam and Rahul Ram
Coincidentally, December 25 is also when Amit Kilam, the band's drummer and vocalist, was born. That means Christmas has been a bitter-sweet occasion for the remaining members for the past 10 years. The outfit shared the same on social media, resulting in an outpouring of condolences from fans from across the world. The caption started with the line,
"Life can do strange things." Indeed it can.
For the love of dogs
It's always surreal to bump into known faces in unknown places. As it happened for Bombaywaali Farzana Contractor on Christmas Day. Contractor was celebrating the festival with her Lhasa Apso, Tasha, and a little boy took a serious liking to the doggo.
(From left) Kiran Rao, Farzana Contractor and Amir Khan with Azad
Turns out the toddler was Azad, Amir Khan and Kiran Rao's son and they were at a resort in Panchgani, enjoying a solitary Xmas, where Contractor was, too. They are good friends, but Azad's love for animals was little known to Contractor, who through the incident also learnt that the little one has a Fox Terrier with a lovely name — Imli. "Azad Amir Khan is such a sweet child. Sensitive and tuned in to animals. Well done, Kiran, every mum should be like you," Contractor wrote.
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