Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

Jun 25, 2017, 08:12 IST | Team Mid-day

What is it like to raise two Indian kids in the West? Two years ago, former Mumbai journalist Vinati Sukhdev, now settled in London, first began asking this question to herself

Vinati SukhdevVinati Sukhdev

A guide for raising kids in the West
What is it like to raise two Indian kids in the West? Two years ago, former Mumbai journalist Vinati Sukhdev, now settled in London, first began asking this question to herself. With two grown-up daughters, it seemed like a defining point in Sukhdev's life to look back at how difficult parenting had been. Her new book East or West: An NRI Mother's Manual On How To Bring Up Desi Children Overseas (Westland) was born out of these ruminations. The book that deals with a range of NRI problems, including food, peer pressure, racism, marrying foreigners, explores how parents who were born Indian, deal with their NRI children on whom 'Indianness' is thrust. "Since I never had any help or advice when raising my kids abroad, I thought this book would be a good reference point for other NRI parents," says Sukhdev, who helms the UK arm of NGO Pratham.

Natania LalwaniNatania Lalwani

An ode to the songwriter's muse
LA-based Colaba girl Natania Lalwani is back in the city for a bit, with a brand new single in tow. Her song, Enough, she says, is dedicated to the "a muse who never ceases to inspire". The song, which is trademark Natania, has heartwarming lyrics and a lilting melody, which will surely get stuck in your head. "I think I could write another 1,000 songs, and I still wouldn't run out of material," she told this diarist. Lalwani, who is soaking in all the attention back here in the Bay, is also making a killing in Los Angeles, where the singer-songwriter is now coming into her own. She recently wrote the song, When I Was Young, by Neo Noir, that peaked at No. 3 on the Spotify US and Global Viral charts, a rare feat by an Indian songwriter. Her songs have also been placed on TV Shows in the US such as the X Factor, Late Night With Seth Myers and Teen Mom. She's headed back soon, but is already planning a December release. This, too, will be a love song, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Henry BlofeldHenry Blofeld

Henry Blofeld's old heartache at Brabourne
After 45 years of commentating all around the cricketing globe, Henry 'Blowers' Blofeld (77) feels it's time to call it a day this English summer. Sub-continental cricket fans will remember him for his earring-spotting among fashionable female cricket watchers during televised games at Sharjah in the 1980s. His commentary was loud, but entertaining and it's a pity that the Indian audience didn't get enough of Blofeld. Not many of his admirers know that Blofeld came very close to playing a Test for England. In a book of anecdotes compiled by Barry Johnston, the son of Blofeld's late fellow commentator Brian, he reveals that David Clark, the England team manager on the 1963-64 tour of India, asked him to be ready to take the field in the second Test at Mumbai because four of their players were down with Delhi Belly. Blofeld, who was on the tour as a journalist, had played first-class cricket for Cambridge University. Clark had captained Kent, but was 20 years younger than Blofeld, so the manager was ruled out. On match eve, Blofeld was asked by Clark to get to bed by midnight which he did. He woke up next morning all set to become a Test player, but vice-captain Micky Stewart, who was among the ill four, got fit and Blofeld was no longer needed. Wonder what Blofeld must have felt in the press box when the stomach bug caused Stewart to leave the Brabourne Stadium turf in the last session of Day One without returning. Replacements were called in for the next Test in Kolkata so Blofeld's Test dreams ended.

Singles welcome, but only Ivy League
So on July 15, a social media site tells us, there's a IVY singles meetup at a hip Bandra restaurant. "The event is planned as a speed-dating meetup, where you'd meet 15 single, fabulous and like-minded people from your city in one night! When you arrive, our lovely host will welcome you with a drink, sign you in and give you a name badge. Your badge will match a table in the room. Once you find your spot, you will be paired up in a series of quick 5 minute 'dates'. The ladies stay seated while the men move when the bell rings." It did sound like a fun speed-dating session except when we read the first line again: "You're invited to Ivy Singles Meetup, a unique opportunity to mix and mingle with single alumni from the top global universities." The session is only open to those from the Ivy league of colleges. Now, we wonder, wouldn't an alumni meet have worked better instead?

A theatrical turn for Cafe Zoe
Even as several eateries in the city double up as performance venues time and again, the concept of supper theatre - one that integrates a meal with a performance - has not exactly been tried out. Until now, that is. Come June 28, Café Zoe will unveil their latest venture, Café Zoe Theatre, that seeks to be their own spin on supper theatre. A R1,000 can buy one a cocktail, appetisers and a 70-minute performance. "The idea is to create a unified experience, something, that to our knowledge, has not been tried before here. The setting at our restaurant can provide a far more intimate experience. The audience is close to the stage, and the set-up is not elaborate either. We are looking at 75 seats, and of course, during the performance, there won't be any service," says Tarini Mohindar, managing director and founder. Their first presentation is an English play titled Bayan, and they want to expand to music and other kinds of gigs as well. They may try their hand at production as well. Mohinder doesn't rule out the possibility. "If it's a win-win, then why not?"

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