Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
The hug that wasn't
Actor Sonam Kapoor seems to be telling her body guard to chill as she visits a shani mandir in Juhu on Saturday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Mixed bag for Shane Warne's half century
Shane Warne completed his life's half century on Friday and as expected, there was no shortage of birthday greetings for the spin wizard on Twitter. Responses to former England skipper Michael Vaughan's birthday wishes to Warne were mostly sweet, but one user stated that he was blocking Warne since he did not pay tribute to Abdul Qadir, the legendary Pakistani leggie, who passed away in Lahore last week. Piers Morgan called Warne, "the greatest bowler that's ever lived" and that didn't go down well with a lot of the British television personality's Twitter followers. Some felt Warne was not greater than Muttiah Muralitharan and Wasim Akram. Another reckoned Glenn McGrath was the greatest. Meanwhile, our in-house cricket nut felt Warne has done enough to deserve The Greatest title when it comes to spin bowling. In overall terms, it is Warne's compatriot Dennis Lillee who should get that honour because Lillee was feared, revered, forged a successful career when his doctor told him he would never be able to bowl again. There's another reason: Lillee played an important role in cricketers getting a better financial deal through the role he played in the formation of World Series Cricket in the late 1970s.
Here's to the environment
Filmmakers Aleya Sen, Amit Sharma and Hemant Bhandari, who run Chrome Pictures, a Mumbai ad production company, rarely wrap up an outdoor shoot without planting saplings at the location. "We carry biodegradable bags and eco-friendly crockery. Placing signboards helps communicate to our staff about our policies. We also have no littering policy on locations," says Sen.
Not child's play for Anita
In a major boost for children's books, Mumbai-based writer Anita Vachharajani's illustrated biography, Amrita Sher-Gil: Rebel With A Paintbrush (HarperCollins Children's Books), has been nominated to be part of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honour List 2020. The nomination means that the book will now be on the roster of the biennial IBBY Congress in Moscow, in September 2020 and the Bologna Children's Book Fair of 2021. If that wasn't enough, the book is also going to be part of the collections at the International Youth Library in Munich, the Swiss Institute for Child and Youth Media in Zurich, Bibiana in Bratislava, the World of Words at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and Russian IBBY at the St Petersburg Children's Library, and the Japanese Board on Books for Young People. "I was surprised to receive news that my book was on IBBY's Honour List 2020— nominated by their Indian arm, AWIC. It is published in Switzerland every two years. The featured books are exhibited internationally. Our kids read about Western artists all the time. It's wonderful that children the world over will be able to read about one of our artists too," Vachharajani said.
A culture and cuisine bonanza
TODAY is the 20th edition of the Consular Corps Charity Carnival (popularly called the Melting Pot). Twenty-nine consulates based in the city will spend an evening showcasing aspects of their cultures, including their cuisine, dance, tradition and customs. But among all the other consulates, this year will mark the Canadian consulate's 9th consecutive participation. Annie Dubé, consul general of Canada in Mumbai, told this diarist, "Canada boasts of a rich and diverse cuisine and this is why we are proud to participate for the 9th consecutive year in the Melting Pot. From coast to coast, Canada offers both tradition and innovation when it comes to pleasing the palate of discerning travellers. Whether you prefer food trucks, local brew pubs, or a luxurious dining experience, we've got it all! This year, we are delighted to offer a taste of Canada, with recipes co-created in collaboration with chef Suprakash Tripathy at the Trident."
Khorshed Bhathena, inarguably one of Mumbai's most-loved swimming coaches, passed away last week. The 84-year-old, who is said to have learned swimming by literally throwing herself into the sea, had won several open-sea competitions and famously swam 15 hours straight from Dharamtar to Gateway of India. After suffering a muscle tear Bhatena ceased competitive swimming and took to coaching. By her own account, she's kept "three generations of South Bombay from going under" including Olympian, Michael Klim who took his earliest lessons in swimming from her when his father, a diplomat, was posted in Mumbai in the late '70s and early '80s. Among those who counted Bhatena as their coach was Bhavna Faizullabhoy. "Not only did Miss B teach me how to swim with grace and perfection, I learnt lessons in parenting from her too," she told this diarist. "Tuesdays and Thursdays were the best days of my week. My 11-year-old daughter Zahra and I would head to Breach Candy Club for our swimming lessons with Ms Bhatena. She would always welcome us with a sweet smile. The way she would explain the code of conduct during the lessons, it felt like that code needed to be applied to our daily lives. Zahra and I would bond during these lessons and Miss B would look at us and smile knowingly. Recently, I went through a rough patch and a friend suggested that I talk to a therapist. And while I did visit one, my therapy were my swimming lessons. She was the only teacher who made me feel like I could really be something special," she said.
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