Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
To serve with love
The staff in a creperie in Bandra accost Anil Kapoor for a picture on Wednesday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Malad residents (left to right) Nicholas D'Souza, Sunny D'Souza, Ryan D'Souza and Joe Miranda with Amitabh Bachchan at the World Cup Fan Identity Card Collection Centre in St Petersburg, Russia
Bumping into Big B in Russia
Mumbai boys Sunny D'Souza, Ryan D'Souza, Joe Miranda and Nicholas D'Souza ended up getting much more than they bargained for when they purchased tickets for the FIFA World Cup semi-finals online. On landing in Russia on Monday, guess who they bumped into? None other than the Shahenshah of Bollywood — Amitabh Bachchan. As it turned out, Bachchan Sr and his son Abhishek were at the counter collecting their fan identity cards in St Petersburg as was our Malad-based foursome. "Ryan immediately spotted Big B, and informed us. We were stunned and simply kept staring at him with our fan passes in our hands. Then Ryan yelled, 'Arre he is leaving', and we rushed towards him," Sunny, who owns a rink football team in the city, Uncle's Kitchen United FC, told this diarist yesterday. Ryan, who coaches the Union Bank of India football team, continued: "Amitabh saw us and gauged that we are Indians but he probably didn't expect us to be from his city. He asked us, 'Where in India are you from?' and when he heard our answer, he was thrilled. 'Oh, aamchi Mumbai, that's great,' he said, inviting us over for a photograph on seeing us ready with our phone cameras anyway." Joe said, "We came here for the World Cup semi-finals but this selfie with the legend of Indian cinema and our childhood hero is nothing less than the World Cup trophy for us."
Keeping the whiff of Mumbai alive
Two months ago, this newspaper had published a story on Lou Sompairac, a PhD scholar from France, who was in the city for her comparative research on the anthropology of odours. From the sweet smell of fresh and shrivelled jasmine that she associated with fellow women passengers on a local train to the metallic whiff emanating from shops selling ironware knick-knack in the Khar market — the olfactory character of Mumbai, when seen through the eyes of a Nice resident, seemed quite fascinating. The 28-year-old returned to France in June, but she hasn't quite forgotten the sensory explosion that Mumbai is. Sompairac has been posting olfactory nuggets from the interviews she conducted in the city, on social media. Sample this: "My nose is much more sensitive when I fast. I remember, when we were in college, the sandwich guy once put a lot of chutney [in a friend's sandwich]. Normally, the smell wouldn't have made a difference, but this time, I got a taste of the chutney without tasting it!" Petrichor, the aroma of freshly fried puris, and dry-cleaned sarees find their way in her notes, because as Sompairac puts it, "When you dig deep into the lives of people through the sense of smell, the stories that emerge are fascinating."
Shatrughan dons a new role
Shatrughan Sinha is the latest Bollywood face to have jumped on the animal welfare bandwagon. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India contacted the Member of Parliament and former Health Minister, after which he sent a letter to the Medical Council of India President Dr Jayshree Mehta urging her to ban all animal dissection and experimentation in the teaching of postgraduate medical courses in favour of using superior and humane non-animal methods. In the letter, Sinha points out that such alternatives include cost-efficient computer-assisted learning, clinical exercises, and human-patient simulation technologies — training techniques that are already used in top medical schools worldwide. PETA India buttresses its case, pushed by Sinha, saying that medical schools in the United States and Canada have replaced the use of animals to train medical students with modern non-animal methods, so it is time for India to do the same in a global world.
Water is by Challapalli Swaroopa Rani, Shohei Emura and Bhagwati Prasad
Drawing on themes of exclusion
Indian graphic novels seem to be enjoying their moment under the sun. We had written in these pages only recently about Longform, an anthology of comic books by desi writers. Now, a second such compilation follows, called First Hand (Yoda Press). But this one's a lot more serious. It focuses on exclusion, be it of the Dalit community, transgenders, or women. And we don't have to tell you how important that discussion is given the socio-political scenario in India, do we?
Bald truths according to the Pants
We are all for sibling revelry, but it's the tongue-in-cheek nature of this friendly sport that we absolutely love, especially when both ends of the corner happen to be familiar faces.
Like this particular post that funnyman Sorabh Pant posted recently about his sister, and author, Meghna, recalling a rather funny frame where she saw a guy in the US and forced him to pose because they "looked the same". Sorabh, of course, wasn't thrilled; just look at the frame.
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