Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

Updated: Dec 17, 2016, 08:33 IST | Team mid-day |

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Standing the test of time
Mumbai’s iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel turned 113 yesterday. The hotel opened its doors to guests in 1903, charging a (then) princely amount of '10 for a room. Today, the hotel is a legendary landmark, as well as a place that evokes one of the city’s most painful memories — the 26/11 terror attacks.

Taj Palace Hotel
Taj Palace Hotel

The hotel has 560 rooms, and was converted into a makeshift hospital during World War I. Its roster boasts of guests such as George Bernard Shaw, Prince Charles, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Yehudi Menuhin, Mick Jagger, and, more recently, Barack Obama.

Around 450 people were staying at the hotel during the terror attacks that left the city shaken in 2008. Of these, 31 people, including guests and staffers, lost their lives before the gunmen were finally taken down after a three-day battle with Indian commandos. The hotel was restored to its former glory by August 2010, and continues to be the venue of choice for the who’s who.

When santoor met electronic music
The auditorium was filled with the santoor’s melodious tunes blending seamlessly with the peppy beats of electronic music when maestro Rahul Sharma and Grammy award winner Eric Moquet came together for a jugalbandi in the city recently.

Rahul Sharma and Eric Moquet. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Rahul Sharma and Eric Moquet. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

The duo dipped into their album Deep India for the performance, which was a culmination of their meeting in 2012. The proceeds from the concert will be used to support children from the drought-affected areas of Marathwada and Vidarbha.

To Syria, with love
It always is heartening when food goes beyond sensory gratification and uses its appeal for a worthy cause. A case in point is the month-long #CookForSyria campaign curated by Instagram London’s food editor, who goes by the name Clerkenwell Boy. The month-long campaign that focused on Syrian cuisine encouraged UK’s top chefs and people at home to cook, host suppers, or attend one, and raise money in aid of UNICEF’s Syria Relief fund.

Nigella Lawson. Pic/AFP
Nigella Lawson. Pic/AFP

The campaign recently culminated in a non-profit cookbook with Syrian-inspired recipes. Popular chef Jamie Oliver and his restaurant are participants of the campaign, which also has support from well-known gourmet Nigella Lawson.

Brit wit in India
We agree that social media is a double-edged sword, but at times, there can be gems there, like the message doing the rounds on phones right now about the current English cricket team. It goes: This English cricket team is amazing.

England captain Alastair Cook. Pic/AFP
England captain Alastair Cook. Pic/AFP

The thinnest guy is called Broad, the slowest fielder is Trott, the guy who is behind the stumps is called Prior, and the guy whose father’s name is John is called Peter-son ... and the guy who is named Monty goes in with his clothes on. No doubt, this cricket team deserves to be led by a Cook. And yes, they have a Butler too! How very British-wittyish indeed.

Uri Baba!
Baba Sehgal has been back in action for a while now. Apart from being one of the rare political analysts to predict Trump’s victory he has penned some immortal lines like, News mein bane rehna usko aata hai, good for him mere baap ka kya jaata hai.

Baba Sehgal
Baba Sehgal

As the country now reels under the demonetisation wave, how can we expect him to remain silent? The man has spoken and spoken eloquently with lines like, "India is a nation, Dadar is a station; Modi ji ne kar diya demonetisation" in his new video. He has also assured, "Arey haddi aur pasli thoda weak ho jayega, don’t worry uncle sab theek ho jayega."


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