Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
The big birthday
As the legendary Amitabh Bachchan turns 78 today, it's befitting to stare at this tribute to him. This painting at Jogeshwari East shows him in all his glory from his 1983 hit, Coolie. Pic/Ashish Rane
The write line: A tornado and some gentle breeze
Mohinder Amarnath, who stood out in the 1982-83 series; (right) Sandeep Patil’s first tour of Pakistan was not an easy one
Our in-house cricket nut reckons the instantly instant format of Twenty20 cricket doesn't always lend itself to good writing and reportage.
There's not enough time to think and throw in a memorable line, even if most reports are produced by watching this year's Indian Premier League on television.
Test cricket, on the other hand, has generally been reported with layers of class. He points to a 1982 India v Pakistan Test at Lahore, where Imran Khan began his winter of splendour (40 wickets in six Tests against Sunil Gavaskar's Indian team). It was a Test in which India didn't succumb.
Replying to Pakistan's first innings score of 485, the Indians hit back through the skipper (83), Arun Lal (51), Mohinder Amarnath (109) and Sandeep Patil (68 in 56 balls, (11x4, 1x6). An extract from R Mohan's report for The Sportstar reads: "The high watermark of the Indian innings was Mohinder's century that cemented the foundations and completed the task of constructing a meaningful reply."
"In between, there was the typical hustle and bustle of Sandeep Patil. Sandeep was the tornado while Mohinder the gentle breeze. Both brought relief to India." This is fine writing on two forget-me-not cricketers, who would not be misfits in the shortest of formats. Sandy's broad blade would've caused many a T20 storm and defiant Jimmy may have excelled more as a bowler.
Raghu's tribute to Thunti
Indie artiste Raghu Dixit released his new song Tsunami, which is a duet, with animal activist and Kannada actress Samyukta Hornad, and talks about the selfless love that pet animals shower us with. It's also a personal tribute to Thunti (Raghu's pet dog) and Gunda (Samyukta's pet dog). The video was made to encourage people to adopt pets from rescue centres and give them a second chance and a forever home. Speaking to this diarist, Dixit said, "The song was originally composed in memory of my dog, Thunti [which means naughty girl in Kannada], whom I had adopted from a rescue centre. Thunti came into my life when I didn't want to live. She became a reason to wake up every morning with enthusiasm.
She taught me to live in the moment, not carry baggage of the past, find joy in little things and be grateful for every little blessing that life bestowed upon me. Over the two years that she was with me, I healed and started to believe that everything will be fine. I lost Thunti this January when she escaped after jumping over a compound wall from a foster home, where I had left her with my ailing mom. I am sure she is helping someone else fall in love with life all over again now. It's as if she had a purpose to have walked into my life."
Making Todi cool again
Once a hospitality hub, it's been a while since Todi Mill Compound witnessed a new restaurant launch. It's where restaurateur Vishal Karia is starting his new venture, Epitome. "It's a first-of-its-kind vegetarian restaurant to have a sushi and Arabic menu. We have 27 signature handcrafted cocktails," he told this diarist. Karia says he locked Todi Mills as the venue because it has always been the epicentre of music, indulgence and food.
Karate champion fights back
Mumbai-based businessman Sujay Jairaj has made it his life's mission to spotlight Indian sports personalities, particularly sports women. One such sports woman he has been an ardent supporter of is Delhi-based Amritpal Kaur. Coming from modest means, Kaur has gone on to win several medals for India. The karate kid is a Commonwealth Games gold medalist (2015), who also won a gold at the South Asian Karate Championships (2019) in Dhaka most recently.
Amritpal Kaur and Sujay Jairaj
"Karate has given me the strength to tackle any hardship and focus on my goal of becoming a world champion. Being bedridden for seven months because of a torn ACL hasn't been easy, but it has made me even more determined to win another medal for India," said Kaur. In addition to promoting sports all over India, Jairaj had secured the rights to ace shuttler Saina Nehwal's life story, which will soon be seen in the form of an eponymous biopic by T-Series. He has now also secured the rights to Kaur's journey and hopes to tell her tale in an inspiring manner. "I would like to thank Sujay sir for his belief in my dream and supporting me, along with working on a sports biopic that will hopefully inspire young girls to realise that nothing is impossible," said Kaur.
A double treat for Dalrymple
There's good news galore for historian and author William Dalrymple. His book, The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company (Bloomsbury), which was published at the end of 2019, has been shortlisted for two major awards this month—the Historical Writer's Association Non-fiction Crown Award and The Cundill History Prize 2020.
The Cundill prize, administered by the McGill University in Montreal, is considered most prestigious within history circles, with the winner being awarded $75,000. The shortlist includes other fine historians such as Roderick Beaton (Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation), Richard M Eaton (India in the Persianate Age: 1000-1765) and Camilla Townsend (Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs). "I'm completely thrilled," Dalrymple told this diarist. "Both shortlists are incredibly strong. Now nervously awaiting the result. Time will tell."
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