Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

Updated: Feb 04, 2018, 08:53 IST | SMD Team

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

Those treasures at Churchgate
As the Dr HD Kanga Memorial Library waits for its new premises at the Wankhede Stadium (wonder how long will that take), this diarist is thrilled that efforts are on to restore the numerous antiquarian books by reconditioning and digitalising them. Leading the restoration project is chairman of the library's committee, Dr Unmesh Khanvilkar, who happens to be the Mumbai Cricket Association's Joint Secretary.

The 1970 and 1972 editions of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. Pic for representation
The 1970 and 1972 editions of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. Pic for representation

Flipping through the booklet circulated among members before February 16th's 67th Annual General Meeting, one reads that a library member has donated R5 lakh, "for reconditioning of library books". It's a magnanimous gesture and it is gratifying to note that Asia's only sports library is in for some good times.

This newspaper has been critical of the library's past condition and for good reason, but we only want to see this institution in better shape and that magnificent collection of Wisden Cricketers' Almanacks among other treasures be well looked after. Now, the MCA has to be generous with space allocation for Wankhede Stadium's most valuable treasure. Having a Mumbai cricket museum and the library under one roof would inject some soul in the city's third Test venue. Mumbai cricket's most well-meaning administrators need to show up.

A stitch in time
"If there's one thing that was impressive about my mother, it was her art of mobilising people. It all stemmed from the zeal to spread macrame," says former TISS professor Lina Kashyap about her mother Ila Desai. For over a decade, 90-year-old Desai taught the craft to hundreds of underprivileged women free of cost in order to make them self-reliant. "It all started with a trip to the US 30 years ago, when her American host gifted her a Japanese book on macrame.

Ila Desai. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Ila Desai. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Although, my mother couldn't read it, she learnt it through pictures," says Kashyap. Her philanthropy wasn't restricted to under-privileged women alone, but also hearing-impaired children. As fate would have it, she passed away a day before we could meet her for an interview. But Ila ben being herself, must be spinning her magic in heaven, we are sure.

Goodbye Impact Index
THE celebrations around Jaideep Varma and his team's brilliantly researched book, Numbers Do Lie, which emerged from their findings of Impact Index (II) — an alternative statistical system analysing cricketing performances — had barely begun, when Varma recently revealed to friends and well-wishers on Facebook that Impact was shutting down. The system, which was first unveiled with much pomp and show at the ICC Centenary Conference, Oxford in 2009, had managed to win acceptance among a small community of cricketers, including the likes of Aakash Chopra and Greg Chappell, despite all the criticism.

Jaideep Varma
Jaideep Varma

Varma, in his emotional post, didn't mince words when expressing regret over the non-acceptance of Impact. "The biggest disappointment is not that we barely fulfilled 25 to 30 per cent of our potential in our eight-and-a-half years of existence; there were so many interesting things we were looking to attempt, but now never will… The biggest disappointment is to see so many people in the cricket world protecting their territories without realising the scope in enlarging those same territories, so that everybody can win," he wrote.

Office art
We have become used to the idea of corporate collections, but, the Piramal Museum of Art has decided to take that a step further. Headquartered at a corporate park in Lower Parel, the museum's ongoing show is homage to the creative juices of the employees who work there. Art Here Art Now, which opened on Wednesday, has works by 75 employees, across a variety of mediums.

Shirke and Skull candy by Trishna Parkash
Shirke and Skull candy by Trishna Parkash

The exhibition may have sprung from the interest that employees showed in the previous exhibitions that have been held here. For those of the employees who couldn't afford expensive art material, they were offered access to the art foundation's resources. The exhibition is divided into five sections, which include portraits and also Expressions and Experimentations, where more abstract works, some inspired by Jackson Pollock, can be seen.

A quirky New Yorker love story
If the world were divided into 'glass half-full' and 'glass half-empty' people, then Meghna Pant would have been among the former. On Saturday morning, the acclaimed author and journalist posted a screenshot on Facebook, of an email she had received from the editors at The New Yorker. It seems she had sent them a story to be published in their fiction section, that they politely rejected, "even though we enjoyed this raunchy satire of India's cultural mores".

Meghna Pant
Meghna Pant

Curious, we turned to the author to know more. Turns out, she's been sending her stories to the magazine for a decade, and these 'rejection mails' have become a pattern of sorts. "Being published in The New Yorker has been on my wish-list forever. I always receive these standard rejection letters that offer no explanation. This is the first time they have actually written a little bit about the story. The word 'enjoyed' made my day, after 10 years of coveting something!" she laughs. We hear you, Meghna.

Meghna Pant

A fashionable entrance
Simone Tata

A graceful Simone Tata looks calm as others around her scramble to get her seated at an ongoing fashion week in the city. Pic/Satej Shinde

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