Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Will she? Won’t she?Updated: Aug 19, 2019 08:35 IST
Yesterday, friends and fans of Imtiaz Dharker, the erstwhile Mumbai girl who now lives in London, woke up to headlines in the British press that the graceful poet and artist, who’d been born in Pakistan and had once described herself as a ‘Pakistani-Scottish Calvinist Muslim’, was set to replace Carol Ann Duffy as Britain’s new poet laureate. Dharker, who’d earlier been married to Literature Live’s Anil Dharker, (their daughter is the critically acclaimed, UK-based, film and theatre actress Ayesha Dharker), and had played a prominent part in Mumbai’s cultural life in the 1980s and 1990s, working at what was then the city’s most creative advertising agency Lintas and creating memorable AVs and films (her documentary on Café Samovar on the occasion of its 25th anniversary for which she composed a delightful rap song is one such), however, put paid to such notions with her characteristic modesty and gentleness later in the day with A social media post. “Thank you all for the flood of good wishes; but I wouldn’t take on such a public role even if I was asked (which I haven’t!) Looking forward to seeing which brave soul follows in Carol Ann’s footsteps,” she wrote. But of course, her admirers were not easily dissuaded from hoping that the lady, who’d received the Queen’s Gold Medal in 2014, would occupy the prestigious role. “I thought you’d be ideal,” was one response. “Wish it could be you, but I completely understand,” went another, while a third said, “We’re looking forward to you, brave Pakistani, Scottish, Calvinist, Muslim lady who married into Wales, following Carol Ann’s footsteps. No pressure tho!” Meanwhile, since Duffy’s tenure ends today, Dharker’s friends and fans around the world, as well as the poetry-reading and general populace of Britain, are eagerly awaiting an announcement of the name. If it happens to be Dharker’s, it will bode well for India too. The erstwhile Mumbai chi mulgi has not forgotten her former adopted homeland and it occupies a special place in her heart till today. Apparently, in 2014, when she’d been invited to take tea with the Queen on being awarded the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry, her audience with Her Majesty had been scheduled for the usual 15 minutes, but had gone on for 45 minutes, as the two ladies had reminisced about India. And if sources are to be believed, “especially Nehru who Her Majesty had remembered with great respect”.
Heard at South Mumbai kitty party:
- Will there be a/c in the booth?
- Need to book my hairdressers
- This Milind looks like a cool dude, vote for him
- I’m told vote for NOTA-which party is he from?
- No yaaa, who’ll go out in this heat?
- Industrialist Harsh Goenka’s caustic tweet on South Mumbai’s voting patterns
A Pooja Before Poha And Polling
Yesterday was a particularly poignant one in the home of South Mumbai candidate and Congress leader Milind Deora. It was the first time that his father, the charismatic Murli Deora, who’d served as mayor of Mumbai, Member of Parliament in the Upper and Lower Houses, and cabinet minister, while also being president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee for 22 years, would not be around as his son faced the electorate. An emotional Hema Deora, his bridge-champion wife with daughter-in-law film-producer Pooja Shetty Deora, however, did not let this faze them, we are informed. According to sources, the Deora ladies performed their ritual pooja asking for blessings for Milind Deora’s successful candidature and then invited members of the Marathi press, who had been camping at their door, for a traditional Maharashtrian breakfast prepared by the Maharashtrian Hema. “It was a typical hearty repast with additions of sheera, hot chaha and poha,” said a source. “What made it even more delightful is that Deora’s little daughter was all over the place making her presence felt, before her parents and grandmum left to cast their vote at the New Activity School next door.” Incidentally, when we spoke to a source in Deora’s camp a little before going to press, he said, “The numbers look favourable for us.”
At Least He Showed Up
As expected, videos of Naresh Goyal casting his vote in South Mumbai attracted much interest and comment. The founder of the beleaguered Jet Airways, who, along with wife Anitha Goel had exited the airline’s board after financial woes grounded the enterprise earlier this month, looked his cheery self, but refused to make any comments. With employees of the airline not having received salaries for over three months and tempers running high Goel was prudent to zip up. But the fact that he showed up to cast his vote and play his part as a responsible citizen, when he could have saved himself the embarrassment of public exposure at a time like this, was not lost on many. “When things are so bad for him and he is at the center of so much negative attention, he could have easily skipped voting and saved himself some embarrassment,” said one commentator on the ongoing Goel saga that has been attracting headlines and passenger ire. “Can one say the same for other high-profile tycoons under similar scrutiny? They’ve all flown away or are in hiding.”
First Published: Apr 30, 2019 02:01 IST