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Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

Updated on: 19 November,2023 06:49 AM IST  |  Mumbai
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The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

All Aboard!

Children play near a railway engine mounted atop a truck at Wadala

Morning has broken and the nerves will soon disappear

India’s 1983 World Cup hero and current BCCI chief Roger Binny. PIC/GETTY IMAGES
India’s 1983 World Cup hero and current BCCI chief Roger Binny. Pic/Getty Images

How would members of the Indian cricket team feel when they wake up today to play the World Cup final? Pretty nervous, we guess. At the same time, nice and confident too. World Cup final or big match pangs save no one. This diarist remembers asking a few former players at Johannesburg before the 2003 final between India and Australia as to how they felt on the morning of a World Cup final. Michael Holding, the great West Indian fast bowler said he didn’t remember his state of mind in 1979 or 1983, but admitted that sometimes big match pressure made him skip breakfast.

Derek Pringle, the England all-rounder said he didn’t feel as nervous in 1992 than in 1987 when he didn’t make the playing XI in the final against Australia at the Eden Gardens. K Srikkanth said that whatever tension he and his roommate Roger Binny felt on the morning of June 25, 1983, vanished once they entered Lord’s to take on the West Indies.

By the way, Binny could be a bit tense today too as he heads the BCCI. Sandeep Patil, who also featured in the 1983 final, recalled being very impatient for the match to begin and the thought of facing the mighty West Indies gripped him. As for today, Indian fans would like to believe that the Australians could be stressing over how they can possibly topple the best side in the competition. Game on in Ahmedabad!

Dost ki yaad mein

At the debut edition of Art Mumbai at Mahalaxmi Race Course, the Vadehra Art Gallery’s stall evokes memories of the city’s fabled “reading rooms”—havens for many generations of book lovers, students and thinkers. The piece at the centre of this stall is reminiscent of something else that is essentially Mumbai: park benches installed in memory of families and friends; a tangible reminder of our love for them, enabling rest and leisure for others.

Anish Gawande
Anish Gawande

Bhupen Bench, an oil, acrylic and epoxy work on an RCC cement bench by Atul Dodiya, is an homage to his mentor and friend Bhupen Khakhar. It invites attendees to pause, sit down with a book and read, says curator Anish Gawande. “Inspired by the iconic Bombay bench, found everywhere from Marine Drive to your local neighbourhood park, it plays upon forms of memorialization,” he explains.

He draws our attention to the bench’s inscription, saying it brings to mind the idea of chosen families, as well as the curatorial note urging artists to re-imagine what giving back to the city’s literary spaces might look like. Don’t miss the innocuous little notebook that is hung on the seat’s back by a set of earphones—akin to notebooks made by the city’s micro-communities and inspired by Dodiya’s own childhood in Ghatkopar.

A hotelier’s love for words

Colaba girl Xenia Lam, a hotelier by profession, and food writer, is out with not just one, but two books—Sonnets of Space, which is an anthology of poems, and Thresholds of Time, which is a love story. “I had been wanting to write a book for a long time. I finally decided to be brave, and write about something I didn’t know much about—love. I maybe a hotelier, but have been always a right brain person, so have always been writing, painting, drawing. It’s a way to express myself, even when I may not be able to say it out loud.” The covers of the both the books have been designed by her brother, Jiaan Lam, who is well known in the city’s hospitality circles. “I have kept it all in the family,” she says.

A family that reads together...

One of the few independent publishing houses in India, Roli Books, completed 45 years this week. We spoke to editorial director Priya Kapoor, who runs it with her brother Kapil, under the guidance of their father and founder Pramod.

“This is a proud moment for all of us. Our strength continues to be an obsession with quality, being mid-size therefore nimble and staying true to our core competence of eclectic narrative non-fiction, sumptuous art and illustrated books. Today, we are a 360-degree company, with publishing, distribution and retail. We are independent, thriving and excited about the future,” she says.

From taboo to YouTube

The COVID 19-induced lockdown put the spotlight on mental health, for long shrouded in taboo, and we are happy to note that COVID is gone, but conversations around mental health are still on. This Diwali, Dr Sagar Mundada, a consulting psychiatrist and deaddiction specialist, started a YouTube channel called Mann Ki Baat. Dr Mundada’s channel has episodes on depression, anxiety and deaddiction. “Mental health is extremely vast with so many issues on the spectrum. My channel is in Hindi, but I want to expand to other regional languages like Marathi and Gujarati, eventually for better connect,” he tells this diarist.

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