Mumbai Diary: Wednesday Dossier

Updated: 02 December, 2015 09:06 IST | Krutika Behrawala, Suprita Mitter and Benita Fernando |

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

Spot of tea with Deborah Abela
When we heard that Deborah Abela, an award-winning Australian children’s author, was going to be in town, we shot her an email to ask what’s on her to-do list in Mumbai.

“I am here to conduct workshops on writing and story telling in select city schools. “It is to encourage a love for reading in kids as it can change their lives,” says Abela after which she will head to Pune and Goa to attend the Bookaroo festival. While she has written about spies, soccer and flooded cities — her popular works include Max Remy Superspy and the Ghost Club series — she is presently working on two books.

“One is the story about a young girl who survives the war in Europe before migrating to Australia. The other is called the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee, about a shy girl whose family and town encourage her to enter the spelling bee,” she says, adding that tea is the answer to a writer’s block. “I start at 6 am. Even if my writing isn’t going well, I stick to it. I always have lots of tea.”

What’s the joke, Sush?

Pic/Bipin KokatePic/Bipin Kokate

Actress and former Ms Universe, Sushmita Sen found something amusing at an exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery in Kala Ghoda last evening.

Raghavendra rides on royal
Raghavendra Rathore is back at doing what he does best — designing classic royal lines. Deriving inspiration from the Raj, without a literal reflection, his Imperial India Company line includes classic Nehru jackets, Jawar waistcoats, riding breeches, pocket scarves, shirts and Achkan.

A new design for the modern Indian Kurta has been prominently positioned in the collection, making it easy for it to be sport with Western outfits, with trousers, denims or other lowers versus the usual breeches. The collection was unveiled at a show last night where actor Saif Ali Khan walked the ramp as showstopper.

An outfit from The Imperial India Company line
An outfit from The Imperial India Company line

“Over the years, the brand has built great chemistry with Saif, that has helped inspire heritage clothing across the Indian diaspora. The ready-to-wear line appeals to a younger audience but draws its values from the British Raj, in that regard too, no better person could connect more suitably than Mr Khan.” shares Rathore. We think so too.

Devanagri, je t’aime
In case you’re headed to Paris anytime soon, don’t be surprised to find Indian quotes like ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ and ‘Vidya Vinayena Shobhtey’ painted at public spots.

Achyut Palav
Achyut Palav

What’s more, you’ll read these in Devanagri script and that too, in calligraphy (decorative handwriting produced with a pen or a brush). Pune-based calligraphy artist Achyut Palav announced that he has been roped in by a noted French design company to beautify a commercial business hub in Paris.

The lone Indian to feature in this endeavour, Palav will join five other calligraphy artists from across the globe to paint texts in parking lots, restaurants, public areas and conference rooms. Along with Devanagri, artistic scripts from Iran, Russia, France and China are also part of the project.

How Punjabi princess Sophie wowed the UK
Here’s some interesting trivia for the history buff. A descendent of Sikh royalty, granddaughter of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, goddaughter of Queen Victoria and pioneering suffragette, princess Sophia Dulip Singh’s life will now be presented for TV audiences.

Princess Sophia Duleep SinghPrincess Sophia Duleep Singh

After her parents’ demise, Queen Victoria gave her and her two sisters a grace and favour residence at the edge of Hampton Court in the UK. She transformed from a darling of the aristocracy to a revolutionary.

The British Library houses a diary that she wrote in 1906 on her second visit to India, from London. It talks of her getting acquainted with the legacy of Ranjit Singh. National leader Lala Lajpat Rai introduced her to people as the granddaughter of the Lion of Punjab.

The bold and fearless Princess Sophia marched alongside Emmeline Pankhurst in protest outside the British Parliament, and refused to pay her taxes until women got the vote.The protesting women were thrown to the ground, kicked, punched, crushed by police horses, and also sexually assaulted.

When she saw a policeman slamming a woman, she put her herself in between her and the policeman. He recognised her and fled but not before she noted his badge number. She wrote a letter to then home secretary Winston Churchill complaining about this, post Black Friday.

He ignored it. She then put up a poster on the Prime Minister’s car, that read: ‘Votes for Women.’ Many such unheard stories about her will come to life in a show titled Sophia: Suffragette Princess scheduled over the weekend on BBC World News.

First Published: 02 December, 2015 08:05 IST

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