Book inspired by Sunday Mid-day column launches at Kala Ghoda Festival

Updated: Feb 11, 2020, 12:23 IST | A correspondent |

Meher Marfatia's Once Upon A City launched in association with Mid-day celebrated by city's cultural stalwarts at literature evening

Shanta Gokhale, Gerson daCunha and Meher Marfatia at the release of their titles
Shanta Gokhale, Gerson daCunha and Meher Marfatia at the release of their titles

Bombay was there. And, so was Mumbai. From the classy chic Altamont Road senior to the Boho Bandraite and everyone in between interested in the city's history and good writing, was at the Sir David Sassoon Library lawns on Saturday evening. The Kala Ghoda Festival session that saw the release of two titles by city chroniclers was spilling over with attendees. Meher Marfatia’s Once Upon A City, a book presented in association with mid-day and inspired by her fortnightly column in Sunday Mid-day, was released by Gerson daCunha, who also launched translator-critic Shanta Gokhale’s Shivaji Park, Dadar 28: History, Places, People.

Ranjit Hoskote, Brinda Miller, Atul Kumar Ranjit Hoskote, Brinda Miller, Atul Kumar (left, back row) Pics/ Pradeep Dhivar

Ameen Sayani sings a line from Pepsi ColaVeteran radio personality Ameen Sayani regaled the audience with a song 

A standing ovation welcomed the grand old man of Indian advertising and theatre. The launch was followed by a  discussion on the importance of oral history chronicles in mapping neighbourhood histories, moderated by Tinaz Nooshian, editor-in-chief, mid-day, as the audience, who had braved a 200-metre-long traffic jam, listened to the speakers. Gokhale oscillated delicately between then and now, sharing a warm anecdote about Shankar, Shivaji Park's once-famed barber to how the BMC springs "beautification" surprises on unsuspecting residents today.

mid-day editor-in-chief Tinaz NooshianTinaz Nooshian, editor-in-chief, Mid-day, moderates a discussion with Meher Marfatia and Shanta Gokhale

Marfatia was at her frank best when she admitted that the complex fabric of Dongri was intimidating to approach, one of the 50 neighbourhoods that she has mapped for the book. In the crowd sat cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote, artist Brinda Miller, curator and art critic Nancy Adajania, industrialist, environmentalist Cyrus Guzder, publisher Maneck Davar, sculptor Arzan Khambatta and theatre veterans Burjor and Ruby Patel.

 Industrialist and environmentalist Cyrus Guzder was spotted in the audienceIndustrialist-environmentalist Cyrus Guzder was among the attendees 

The most famed member of the audience, radio czar Ameen Sayani, would've slinked away had he not been asked to say a few words. And so he did, breaking into an impromptu Gujarati natak track called Pepsi Cola, that reminded everyone why they love this city. 

Tinaz Nooshian, Shanta Gokhale and Meher Marfatia prior to the sessionTinaz Nooshian, Shanta Gokhale and Meher Marfatia prior to the session

Ranjit Hoskote shares a video byte about Once Upon a City at the Sunday Mid-day standeeCultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote’s poem features in Once Upon a City 

Audience members interact with author Meher MarfatiaAudience members interact with author Meher Marfatia

A panoramic aerial view captured from the first floor of Sir David Sassoon Library of the audience at the sessionA panoramic aerial view captured from the first floor of Sir David Sassoon Library of the audience at the session

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