Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce.
Follow the lea-deer
A herd of spotted deer walk through a verdant Sanjay Gandhi National Park on Thursday. PIC/Satej Shinde
What's the way forward?
FOR months on end, the city has witnessed the closure of many businesses due to the ravages of the pandemic. So, yesterday, when author Vivek Kaul tweeted that one of the city's finest bookstores, Wayword & Wise (W&W) in Fort, was downing its shutters, while stating, "Personally this is a big loss for me," it saddened many city bibliophiles.
Kaul told this diarist about how he stumbled on the news, "I entered W&W yesterday (Tuesday) and it gave me a semblance of a bookstore that is shutting down. Some sections were empty. So, I asked the employees who shared that the store would be shuttering in the eight to 10 days."
Industry watchers and sources close to the bookstore confirmed Kaul's observations. However, when we reached out to owner Atul Sud to confirm the news of its closure within the said duration, he said, "There is no such news. We haven't taken a call yet. Also, the bookstore was shut for the past five months. Whenever we arrive at a decision, we will let it be known."
W&W opened in October 2015 and was known, particularly, for its curation. As Kaul puts it, "Although all these titles are available online, you wouldn't really look them up. The beauty of W&W is that you can find books you wouldn't have otherwise known about."
At the time of going to press, the bookstore had not released any official statement on their website or on social media. Let's hope Mumbai doesn't lose another bookstore.
It's the end of an era. The Bombay biryani is often scoffed at by people who dismiss it as the country cousin of the Awadhi, Hyderabadi or Kolkata versions. But even such critics would smack their lips at the prospect of a mutton biryani from Jafferbhai's Delhi Durbar – arguably the best version of this classic dish in this city. The founder of the eatery, Jafferbhai Mansuri, is no more. He passed away yesterday, leaving a gaping void in Mumbai's culinary heritage.
One of the people who confessed that he is heartbroken is funny man-cum-foodie Kunal Vijayakar. "It's quite incredible how he separated from Delhi Durbar and grew Jafferbhai's into this huge brand. I know that he was cooking till even two months ago. His son called me saying that he had made some biryani and they would like to send it over to me. I would have rushed [to pay my respects at this time] had there been no pandemic. I am truly heartbroken," Vijayakar told this diarist.
Veteran chef-restaurateur Hemant Oberoi corroborated that Mansuri was active till the end, saying, "He was full of passion for his work and worked till recently. He was one of the greatest people in the industry, who was humble and down-to-earth." The legend will be missed.
A collection that's print perfect
Chennai-based Tara Books is well-known to bring out the best of handcrafted, sustainably-produced books in the country. And tomorrow, they're releasing a collection of prints themed on a resource we often take for granted — water. The set is titled Water Flows. It excluded extracts from the works of artists Moyna Chitrakar, Rambharos Jha, the late Pulak Biswas, Subhash Amaliyar, Christiane Pieper, Mayur and Tushar Vayeda, Joydeb Chitrakar and Joelle Jolivet.
Elaborating on the idea, Rohini Srinivasan, publishing associate at Tara Books, said, "The flow of water is one of the hardest things to render, and through the course of history artists have come up with their own ways of capturing its shifting qualities. Each of the six art prints in this exquisite collection depicts the particular and universal characteristics of water in motion. Fluidly moving across a range of graphic styles, water drifts, gushes, trickles, and ripples across the surface of paper." What's also interesting is that these prints are made using eco-friendly soy-based inks on a risograph machine, which makes the publisher among the first to experiment with riso-printing on a commercial scale in India.
All that glitters is gold
The red ribbon stands for HIV/Aids awareness. The pink ribbon is for breast cancer, but are you stumped when it comes to awareness about childhood cancer? That is our point, said Access Life Assistance Foundation, a non-profit which provides support and care for families with children battling cancer. To create awareness about Childhood Cancer Awareness month, marked in September globally, Mumbai's two iconic sites Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) headquarters were illumined in golden colour for two days ending last night. The internationally recognised symbol for childhood cancer is the gold ribbon, and what better way to learn about that than through two Mumbai landmarks.
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