Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
A family forgets for a moment about COVID-19 on Children's Day, frolicking at Juhu beach. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Chota packet, bada dhamaka
Vivaan Porwal of Navi Mumbai has set three records in the India Book of Records. The six-year-old answered 102 questions on the Ramayana in eight minutes and 37 seconds, recited 172 antonyms and 108 names of various animals and their infants. His interest in the Indian epic grew during the lockdown when it was telecast on TV all over again. Speaking to this diarist, the Standard I student's mother Neha said, "When Vivaan was two, we observed that he memorises colours, logos, shapes, numbers and alphabets very quickly. He learns with complete interest and that makes me happy. We are very proud of him."
The enchanted book
A photograph by Jung of a Fly Catcher
If you spend time at all on Instagram, we can guarantee that wildlife photographer Shaaz Jung's account will be a value-add to your following list. But, there's another reason to follow the 31-year-old.
Forced to sit at home, and away from the forests due to the pandemic, Jung found time to work on a book he'd been writing for a while—one on an enchanted forest, complete with elder trees, folklore, tribesmen. And, of course, because he's so familiar with Indian forests, unlike the many enchanted forests of western folklore, this book will see tales of a Bael tree, deer, and includes names we'd recognise. Jung is in talks with a few publishers, but, nothing has been finalised yet.
Still, with the few lines he's already posted online, it promises to be something to keep a bookmark ready for.
Manjrekar's daughter raises a toast
Food entrepreneur Devika Manjrekar, daughter of former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar, is all set to launch a new café in Lower Parel. "I wanted to open Toast since I was 19," she told this diarist.
The name is inspired by British food writer Nigel Slater's autobiography by the same title. "The thing about toast is, when all else fails, a slice of toast with butter fixes everything." The food is inspired by her travels to the Middle East, Italy and the UK, where she spent her formative years. "I've always felt that there is a dearth of nice cafés in the city, the way you have in Europe. At Toast, you'll feel like you're not in Mumbai for a few hours. We've done our very best to be COVID-safe. Our kitchen is transparent, so you can see your food being cooked. The seating capacity is 10-14 with a cute little patio space as well. We'll be opening for delivery and takeaways soon."
When Ayesha met Avni
On November 19, during the 2020 Booker Prize winning ceremony, actor Ayesha Dharker will be performing a dramatic reading of shortlisted author Avni Doshi's book, Burnt Sugar, published in India as Girl in White Cotton.
Dubai-based Avni, who is thrilled about the reading, took to Instagram to share a little known fact: "When I first moved to Mumbai, everyone thought I was Ayesha," she said. When this diarist reached out to Avni, she shared a funny anecdote, "I once attended a fashion show at Lakme Fashion Week [in Mumbai] and Ayesha was there, too. When my friend introduced us, Ayesha said, 'Are you the reason I am getting into trouble with all my friends?' I was perplexed. That's when she told me how she was getting calls from people saying that they didn't know she was in town for the last one week, when she had just only flown into Mumbai that morning. Apparently, newspapers had been using my pictures, and writing that Ayesha Dharker was at an event! And now she is reading from the book. It made me so happy to see they had chosen her."
Where there is a Will, there is a way!
Will Pucovski during a Cricket Victoria training session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 27, 2019. Pic/Getty Images
Will Virat Kohli's Indians see David Warner walk out to bat with a new opening partner in Will Pucovski when India and Australia play the first Test at the Adelaide Oval on December 17? There's a good chance of that happening considering Pucovski's domestic performance Down Under. This means Joe Burns could get the axe.
Could Pucovski score a hundred on debut? There's no ruling out that either considering his talent. If he achieves the incredible, he'll make history because no Australian batsman has scored a Test debut hundred against India on Australian soil; Michael Clarke got his at Bengaluru in 2004.
Pucovski is as exciting as they come and veteran writer Ron Reed's piece on Sportshounds.com.au does justice. "There have been some high-impact players to emerge in the past 20 years. But none of them had quite caught the eye beforehand in the way that the 22-year-old Victorian has been doing for three years now, and the last couple of weeks in particular," wrote Reed.
Kohli had better watch out.
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