Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier
The city -- sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
The Jarawas get a book
Popular author Sachin Garg, who shot to stardom with his bestselling book Never Let Me Go, is now travelling a different road. The writer’s next book, We Need a Revolution, is set in the Andamans.
It’s about a bunch of youngsters living on the same island as the reclusive tribe of the Jarawas, and who are trying to fight for their cause to remain uncivilised. “What I am advocating in the book is that they should be allowed to remain reclusive.”
His research included staying in the Andamans for a month, travelling to Delhi to meet tribal activists and even heading to London to meet activist and anthropologist Stephen Corry to get more insight. “The book talks of all the different view points on the subject, but it’s also about the youngsters and their back stories, which make them relate to the tribe.” This promises to be thought-provoking.
Hye li'l dancer
Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Actor Hema Malini interacts with a young dancer at the launch of a film on ISCKON at a Juhu school campus. The event was also attended by Padmanabha Acharya, Governor of Nagaland, Assam and Tripura, and Anant Geete, Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
An Epicurean delight
Whether it is trundling through vineyards, dining at Michelin-starred restaurants or signing up for an immersive cooking class, culinary tourists are increasingly fanning the globe in search of authentic dining experiences.
And to cater to the new-age traveller, Ricky Barot, Dhaval Udeshi and Shaival Chandra have launched The Culinary Social, the first bespoke luxury culinary travel concept in India. “We take only 12 people at a time and all our attention is on you.
Unlike other tours, you don’t need to wake up at 8 in the morning and run around,” jokes Udeshi. The itinerary includes visiting some of the best clubs, mingling with master chefs and rejuvenating at a zero gravity spa, among other things.
“It’s more than just the food, it’s learning about new cuisines and cultures, networking with like-minded people and getting exposure to a world otherwise inaccessible,” says Barot. While curated holidays to Hong Kong, Cambodia, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Dubai and Amalfi Coast have already commenced, next in the offing is India-bound vacays. “We are also working on bachelor parties, all-girl trips and corporate retreats,” he adds.
New chef on the block
Our eyes are on chef Pablo Naranjo Agular who’s in the city to partner with pal Pooja Dhingra (who introduced him on Instagram as #brotherfromanothermother) to set the savoury menu for her upcoming Cafe Le 15.
Pablo Naranjo Agular and Pooja Dhingra. Pic/Satej Shinde
“I am half-Columbian and half-Hungarian, and that itself is a weird combination, since there are 15 million Hungarians in the world, but hardly any in Colombia. My grandfather had moved there for work,” says the 27-year-old.
“I came with a few ideas in mind and it turns out that most of the city is doing them — all-day breakfast, egg’s Benedict, gnocchi and waffles. So my version has a twist of secret ingredients,” says Pablo. “My waffles batter has Parmesan and brown butter. This, I will serve with tomato jam, basil and poached eggs.
I’m also doing a teriyaki sauce and pulled pork waffle.” While he swears by his Colombian grandmother’s slow cooked pork, deep fried and served with chimichurri, he grew up eating his Hungarian grandmother’s pasta with carrots, mustard and lemon too. “Can you imagine the burst of flavours?” he asks us. We just can’t wait to try his food.
A good find with some Mamsa masala
It's always a joy for book and magazine scavengers to come up with a find. That thrill and value doubles when the ‘scalped’ publication is no longer in circulation. Just the other day, a sucker for old magazines stumbled upon a 30-year-old bound volume of Bombay magazine.
AM Mamsa and a copy of Bombay magazine
The first issue in the volume had a delightful piece on the city’s top cricket umpires. Way back then, in 1986, they were Messrs AM Mamsa, Judah Reuben, Madhav Gothoskar, Piloo Reporter and his fellow Parsee, Dara Dotiwala. All narrated their memorable moments to the feature writer Austin Lobo. Mamsa came up with a fascinating story to illustrate how umpires did not get too friendly with players then.
He recalled the 1966 India vs West Indies Test at Brabourne Stadium. Budhi Kunderan, that cavalier India batsman-wicketkeeper, hit the first ball he received from Charlie Griffith (Mamsa inadvertently referred to Griffith as Gilchrist). The bowler’s next two deliveries were deemed illegitimate by Mamsa.
“What am I doing?” asked a frustrated Griffith. When Mamsa informed him that he was overstepping, Griffith asked: “By how much?” Mamsa did not feel the need to explain further. “Your mid-on or mid-off fielders would be able to tell you,” he said and carried on with the game. Probably realising the importance of not antagonising Mamsa, the Barbados pacer uttered: “Ump, no hard feelings.” Oh for those hard, but gentlemanly days of cricket.
Get a ‘dope’ music lesson
Four-time Grammy award-nominated American producer and DJ, Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez, is being brought down to India by the Red Bull Music Academy to “educate the younger audience about the history of music”. The Brooklyn-based musician, who is known to be an encyclopedia of music owing to his experience of creating music across genres, says, “India, WOW! I’ve always wondered about this market. I’m so excited about speaking to audiences here and also interested in learning more about Indian music as well. This is going to be a dope experience.” Word.