Malavika’s Mumbaistan: In opposite directions
“Minimalism is not about minimalising the irrelevant, as much as it is about maximising the important,” says Sanjana Shah, daughter of gallerist Kalpana Shah, of the Tao gallery, about her first curated show titled Maximising the Minimal, opening this evening. The 20-something Sanjana Shah, creative director for the gallery, has chosen an eclectic representation of artists, including SH Raza, Jin Sook Shinde and Jaideep Mehrotra to illustrate the subject. “Minimalism has largely been understood as the reduction of excess clutter, in order to embrace a simpler way to be,” Sanjana Shah elaborated. “In being minimal, one is allowed to be free of the burden of overt expressionism and is able to stay true to their essential self.” Though, we are not fans of minimalism as an aesthetic, and veer towards a more maximalist bias, we understand the attraction that younger generations of Indians have, for subtlety and order. In the chaos that appears to surround them, they yearn for order and simplicity. But, both can exist. In fact, the last time we had dropped in at Tao had been a few months ago, for Mehrotra’s exhibition. We remember, how his profound, but simple abstracts had cast a meditative hush on the gallery, even as the usual Mumbai rush-hour evening traffic whizzed past us outside.
It’s emblematic of the times we live in, that even yoga has become politicised and that World Yoga Day, yesterday, evoked many an interesting debate. Delhi-based human rights activist, John Dayal, whose views on most issues we find ourselves agreeing with, encouraged a heated discourse yesterday with his opening gambit on social media: “Am I the only person on Earth with Zero faith in Yoga?” In a bygone era, this perfectly reasonable questioning of a form of wellness therapy would have brought forth a debate about alternative forms of fitness etc; but of course, given our times, it was seen as a voice of dissent. Dayal is, after all, also the secretary general of the All India Christian Council and has been outspoken in his opposition to polarisation and the alienation of minority communities in India. So, the post saw many weighing in, with what appeared to be anti-yoga statements, as though they were joining a protest march. Unfortunately, this is what extremism does: it reduces great and wonderful things like yoga (which we personally swear by) into a silly political argument and often forces the usually gentle and reasonable to become shrill and extreme, themselves. Incidentally, amidst all that stretching, heavy-breathing, intonating and downward dog, June 21 also happened to be World Naked Hiking Day. Jus’ Sayin…
FOOTBALL OR HIS WIFE
Designer Wendell Rodricks is a worthy ambassador of his beloved home state of Goa. Besides opting to reside and work from there, Rodricks is also creating a unique museum in tribute to the region’s arts, craft and traditions. This week, his post on the particular brand of FIFA-fever Goa is experiencing had us laughing out loud: “If anyone is interested, my friend bought a World Cup ticket and now realises it’s on his wedding day,” began his post. (As is known, football and Goa are like feni and vindaloo — just made for each other — and so, his next sentence was unsurprising.) “If anyone is interested to go in his place, the church is St Francis in Colville and the bride’s name is Sharon,” Rodricks quipped. Of course, the post was met with great chuckles, especially from other Goans. “You forgot to attach a snap of the bride,” said one Johnny-come-lately. “Better. You may change your mind,” replied Rodricks, tongue firmly in chic.
WARM AND COZY DINNER
Singer Shweta Shetty, of the famous wild curls and throaty voice, hosted a warm and cozy birthday dinner, at the Luna restaurant at St Regis, on Wednesday evening. Over avocado toast, sea food, linguini and morels, and asparagus risotto, the likes of Sanjay Patel, Kailash and Arti Surendranath and Laila Furniturewala broke bread. Shetty had known those gathered at the table for decades and as expected, the conversation was a series of trips down memory lane. Surendranath, the son of the popular Bollywood star of yore, narrated, how as a 17-year-old college student, he’d been one of the first disciples of Rajneesh, when the guru was in his early Woodland days, way before Pune even happened (and before his good friend Vinod Khanna discovered him). Furniturewala spoke about her upcoming art exhibition and her amazing weight loss after the birth of her son, (through a combination of yoga, pilates and strength-training and mainly, a vegetarian diet); fittingly, the most vivacious revelations were from the birthday girl herself.
Shetty, who has some chart-breaking Indo pop hits to her credit, is now an impassioned yoga teacher, who uses the practice to impart learning and healing at her SoBo studio. “My biggest high is to see my students fight depression, insomnia, asthma and back problems,” said the daughter of a family of dedicated yoga practitioners for generations. It occurred to us, only later, that it happened to be not only the eve of her birthday, but the eve of World Yoga Day too, when she said this.