Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
No more pointing fingers
Drag queen Harish Iyer puts up a show over the weekend as part of the Queer Freedom Tour, which took place in Mumbai. Pic/Satej Shinde
Ghostbusting in the bay
Your diarist noticed a post uploaded by city foodie Nikhil Merchant, where he talks about his discoveries inside the "haunted" Mukesh Mills in Colaba. "While I was there for the better part of the day, it was sunny, bright and quite noisy — but there was sense of uneasy calm about the space," he wrote.
Turns out, Merchant was there attending an F&B event with MasterChef Australia Season 10 winner Sashi Cheliah, whose interview appeared in this newspaper earlier this month. The gourmand says, he read up about the history of the space while trying to find the location on his phone.
An image of the mill's back end that Merchant captured while there
"I know that a lot of it is psychological, but the space is a little eerie. It's like this other world bang in the middle of the city, and the back end is spectacular," he told this diarist. Quite a choice of venue for a culinary event, no?
Sarah is back on her feet
A month ago, we learnt of Sarah Todd's injury when she lamented its timing on social media, just before she was about to fly to Australia for a major event. The celebrity chef had twisted her ankle while playing with her kids and had been put on crutches. Four weeks since, Todd is looking much better, without her crutches and in these cool moonboots. "I've not completely recovered as my leg is still swollen but, I am looking forward to the months of September and October, when I will be back in India.
Antares [her restaurant in Goa which was devastated in a fire] is up and running like never before and I just got done with a few cover shoots. Despite the broken leg, I feel energetic. A new menu is on its way for The Wine Rack in Mumbai, too. Can't wait to be back," Todd told this diarist. It's good to see you back on your feet, Sarah!
Drumming up for Ganesh Chaturthi
There was a video doing the rounds recently in which American drummer Greg Ellis is seen jamming with a bunch of dholak players during Ganesh Chaturthi. They give him a core beat, and then Ellis steps in and plays solo on a single percussion instrument, evidently having a whale of a time.
Screengrab from the video
It's also set industrialist Anand Mahindra thinking. He wrote, "The Ganesh festival has already gone global but this fusion on Mumbai's streets is exciting. Do you think our cultural team should organise an international street drums festival every year during the Ganesh immersions?" That's a thought that we put to Gino Banks, one of the city's premier drummers. He felt that it was a definitely a good idea, but had certain doubts.
"There so many things happening during the Ganpati festival, what with the monsoon and processions. So, it's a hectic time as it is. And having a world street festival would mean getting buskers from all over to come down to the city. Plus, you must also understand that this period means a lot of work for local drummers. They plan and practise for a long time. So, I think it would be a better idea to have the festival before or after Ganpati," Banks told this diarist. Either way, the fact that it's a good idea still stands.
Visions of a museum
It's our oldest museum, and yet, few are aware that it is named after a Bombay visionary. So, when the museum, formerly known as Victoria and Albert Museum, posted a warm note to remember Dr Bhau Daji Lad on his birth anniversary, we decided to do some digging.
Dr Bhau Daji Lad's (centre) portrait alongside other greats
Turns out, not only did he play a key role as one of the two secretaries [Indophile Dr George Birdwood being the other] of the Museum Committee, but was also responsible for raising funds to build the structure, which was completed in 1872. His persuasion led to the raising of a whopping R1,16,141. So, that the museum was named after in 1975, makes it a truly deserving tribute.
A poster child
It has been a year since the Supreme Court scrapped Section 377, decriminalising homosexuality in the country, which has been celebrated in many ways. And a film called Sheer Qorma, starring Swara Bhasker, Shabana Azmi and Divya Dutt, which follows the struggles of Indians belonging to the LGBTQ+ community, seeks to do just that.
It was nice to see how the film's team roped in city-based artist Jayesh Sachdev, who is known for his quirky and radical work, to create a rather sassy poster for the movie, which shows two women (possibly in hijabs) kissing. "Love has no religion nor gender," Sachdev wrote. Amen to that.
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Amrita Rao and Environmentalist Chinu Kwatra collect broken Ganesha idols