Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Take it on your chin
Is Shabana Azmi getting something off husband Javed Akhtar's chin or is she saying, oh, cho chweet as he finds an admirer at the airport on Saturday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Mystic magic in the air
The spotlight was firmly on Bhubaneswar when the city hosted the Men's Hockey World Cup earlier this month, which Belgium eventually went on to win. And now, the capital of Odisha is gearing to host another interesting event, which doesn't involve sport. Some of the leading literary lights in the city and across the country - such as Jerry Pinto and Devdutt Pattanaik - will head there in early January for a festival that is as Indian as it gets.
For, Mystic Kalinga is a three-day event that is dedicated to mythology and the Bhakti movement in particular. It will have over 100 authors, dancers and musicians like Parvathy Baul in attendance. And at the end of it, three prolific writers, poets and performers in Odia, in one Indian language and in an international one will be conferred with the annual Mystic Kalinga Awards. Who will they be? Your guess is as good as ours.
Words that matter
As part of a tradition that he began during his presidency, Barack Obama shared his top picks of the year for books, films, and music in a Facebook post. His No 1 book comes as no surprise - "Becoming by Michelle Obama (obviously my favourite!)," he wrote, adding that compiling the list gave him a chance to pause and reflect. "It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors, artists, and storytellers - some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before," Obama said. So, it's nice to see Indian writer and Guggenheim Non-fiction Fellow Amitava Kumar's Immigrant Montana, in which the author meditates about migration, race and politics, on that list. And acknowledging the gesture, Kumar tweeted, "Mr President, Thank you for reading my novel."
The natural choice for an award
If you have been on a nature trail at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, chances are you have gained your knowledge of its flora and fauna with the help of Mumbaikar Shardul Bajikar's expert guidance. Bajikar, who was chief naturalist at Sanctuary magazine before becoming the director of a publication called Adventure Sports and Beyond, has been awarded the Naturalist of the Year at the recently concluded Think Wildlife Awards in the city. While the nature lover feels that such awards encourage more people to work in the field, he told this diarist, "If somebody asks me how many forests or tigers I have saved, I don't have an answer. In fact, since the time I started out, the tiger has only become more vulnerable. Till the day all environment-related problems are solved, there are no awards worth celebrating."
Can you do it?
Rocky Singh, one of the funniest foodies in the country, seems to be a man of hidden talents. But the one that we are amounting to much doesn't amount to much more than a one-rupee coin. For, Singh recently started a challenge on social media, which involves placing a coin on your elbow and then catching it without letting it fall to the ground. "Don't laugh if I fail," he says in the video, before expertly acing the feat. Which isn't easy, by the way. Trust us, we tried it.
The master's voice now on TV
If you had to choose one Indian most worthy of judging vocal talent on a reality music show, who would it be? Our choice is AR Rahman. The man has firmly cemented his place as the most global face of contemporary music from India. But he has always been known to be somewhat media-shy and reticent. So it came as some surprise to us to hear the buzz that he might soon present himself in a new avatar - as a mentor and super judge on The Voice, a show that hunts for talented singers from across the country. If that is indeed the case, then this will be the first time that Rahman will make an appearance as a jury member on a Hindi entertainment channel (Vishal Dadlani and Kanika Kapoor are expected to be some other names on the panel). And we must say that whoever Rahman picks as the eventual winner will have fully deserved the accolade.
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