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Rooted in tradition
Organiser: Bombay Durgabadi Trust, 87th year of celebration
Bombay Durga Bari Samiti is one of the oldest Durga Pujas of Mumbai dating back to 1930. This year’s theme is based on the Bengalis saying Dhana, Dhanya, Sasya Purno Basundhra. It refers to Ma Durga being in the middle of a field, blessing all of us with sonar dhaan (golden paddy) and the fields are covered with kash flowers.

The idol at Tejpal Hall dressed in traditional shola work. PIC/Suresh Karkera
The idol at Tejpal Hall dressed in traditional shola work. PIC/Suresh Karkera

“The figures at the pandal are made of dhaan and the decoration is created with paddy and kash flowers found in rural Bengal,” says Sushmita Mitra, Chairperson of the Social & Cultural Committee Cultural programmes will showcase a devotional tribute to Shakti and Shiva in Classical Oddissi Dance performed by the girls of Adruta Childrens’ Home, Bhubaneshwar.
Till: October 11
At: Tejpal Hall, Gowalia Tank, Near August Kranti Maidan.

For star gazing
Organiser: North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja, 69th year
In 1947, few Bengalis from Santa Cruz approached Padmashri Sasadhar Mukerji, requesting him to start a Durga Puja. The Pujo was first was held in Shri Mandal Hall in Santa Cruz and today , will celebrate its 69th year. Over the years, this Puja has only grown bigger.

Bappi Lahiri with son Bappa at the North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja
Bappi Lahiri with son Bappa at the North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja

“Initially, the Bhog was served by family members with the devotees seated on the floor; today they are served on the table in an airconditioned environment,” says actress Sharbani Mukherji who spearheads the puja with musician Bappa Lahiri. The star-studded family that serves the bhog includes actresses Kajol and Rani Mukerji.

“This is my family puja. I have been coming here for ages. Myparents were regulars here too,” says composer Bappi Lahiri who will also perform in Kandivali, this year. “I also have fond memories of the Shivaji Park puja.” Cultural progammes include performances by family members, Alisha Chinai, Bappi Lahiri, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Shaan and Sajid-Wajid.
Till: October 11
At: Hotel Tulip Star, VM Road, Juhu.

From Kolkata, with love
Organiser: Spadan Foundation, Powai, 4th year
This young Pujo was started four years ago by inhabitants of Powai. The idol has been made by Shri Shish Paul & Sons, a famous idol maker from Kolkata. It is designed in the traditional ekchala fashion (all the idols in the same platform).

The goddess is mounted by a craftsman at the Spadan Foundation pandal in Powai
The goddess is mounted by a craftsman at the Spadan Foundation pandal in Powai 

“We are partnering with Dignity Foundation who will help senior citizens showcase their talent,” says commitee member Indranil Ghosh. Cultural programmes will include performances by an in house band, Bollywood Singer: Nakaash Aziz and Tirtho Baul, Sa Re Ga Ma fame
Till: October 11
At: 6-D, Orchard Ave Rd, MHADA Colony 19, Powai.

Take a trip to Shobhabazaar
Organiser: New Bombay Bengali Association, 37th year
In 1980, 50 families from New Bombay got together and started this puja with a budget of Rs 1.4 lakhs. This year, the pandal recreates an eco-friendly version of the Shobhabazar Rajbari, a zamindar’s house in Kolkata. The commitee aims to feed 15,000 people at the bhog ceremony.

Last minute preparations at the New Bombay Bengali Association Puja. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
Last minute preparations at the New Bombay Bengali Association Puja. Pic/Sneha Kharabe

“We are expecting a footfall of over a lakh,” says Ajay Banerjee, one of the organisers of the puja. Cultural programmes will include performances by Kolkata-based dance group Banhishikha, Bollywood singers Antara Mitra and Kavita Krishnamurthy.
Till: October 11
At: Vashi sector 1, Behind Vashi market.

Recreating rural Bengal
Organiser: Chembur Durga Puja Association, 62nd year
Started in 1954, this Pandal has interesting themes every year. “This year a team of artists from Bengal will replicate a temple in rural Bengal,” says commitee member Debu Sengupta. The pandal hopes to serve bhog (a delicious serving of Khichdi (a mix of rice and lentils, Labda (mixed vegetable), Begun Bhaja (eggplant fry), Payesh (kheer) and mishti (sweet) to atleast 4,000 people.

A craftsman dresses up the idol at the Chembur pandal. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
A craftsman dresses up the idol at the Chembur pandal. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

The food stalls will serve specialities like chops and fish fry. Cultural programmes will feature Bengali artistes from Kolkata as well as local ones and will include a dance ballet by Odissi dance exponent Swapnokolpa Dasgupta and her troupe and songs by Trijoy Deb and Somchanda Bhattacharya
Till: October 11
At: Chembur High School Grounds, Chembur Naka

For nostalgia’s sake
Organiser: The Bengal Club, 81st year
One of Mumbai’s oldest pandals, The Bengal Club’s puja has been part of sweet childhood memories for most probashi (non-resident) Bengalis in the city. Located beside the Ram Leela festivities held on Shivaji Park grounds, the pandal has always had a cosmopolitan audience. The idols are always made using eco-friendly material, like mud and special water soluble chemical free paints.

A painter gives the final touch to the idol at The Bengal Club Durga Puja, Shivaji Park. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
A painter gives the final touch to the idol at The Bengal Club Durga Puja, Shivaji Park. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

The tableau will be adorned in traditional décor of shola (a white coloured extract of plant Aeschynomene aspera, a herbaceous plant that grows wild in marshy waterlogged areas) and golden ornaments. The 12 feet tall idol will be dressed in a red Benarasi saree. This year, however, the puja will not host it’s customary stalls selling food, clothes, accessories, books, Bengali films and music, and neither will it serve bhog or host cultural programmes.

“Under the previous puja commitee many violations were made, due to which this year the BMC has refused us permission. We only have enough space to put up the idol. Even the entance can’t be covered due to the rules. We will be better prepared next year,” rues General Secretary Bibek Bagchi. The probashi Bengali (diaspora) will surely miss the revelry of one of its favourite pandals.
Till: October 11
At: Shivaji Park Maidan

For glitz and glamour
Organiser: Lokhandwala Durga Puja Association, 35th year
Known for its high glamour quotient, celebrity spotting and extravagant settings created by art director Bijon DasGupta, this Puja is one of the city’s most popular ones. The pandal also sees performances by some of Bollywood’s biggest names, every evening.

Dhakis play traditional drums at the Lokhandwala Durga Puja. Pic/Satej Shinde
Dhakis play traditional drums at the Lokhandwala Durga Puja. Pic/Satej Shinde

Established in 1996, the puja is helmed by playback singer Abhijit Bhattacharya. Lalit Das heads the group of internationally – renowned dhakis (traditonal drum players), which is one of the highlights of the puja.
Till: October 11
At: Lokhandwala Garden, Lokhandwala Durga Puja Ground, Andheri (W).

Also visit

Old school
Organiser: The Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Mumbai
Known for its rituals that are performed strictly according to age-old customs, this is one of the most revered Puja’s in the city. Don’t miss the book sale here
Till: October 11, 5 am to 1 pm, 3 pm to 11 pm 
At: Ramakrishna Math, 12th Road, Khar (W).

Southern touch
Organiser: Natunpally Sarbojanin Durga Puja
With celebrated patrons like Shakti Samantha, Salil Choudhary, and RD Burman, visiting it, this puja located in Bandra is in its 44th year. “The seat of the goddess is inspired by a temple from South India
Till: October 11 
At: Behind Link Road Mall (33rd Road), near Patwardhan Park, Bandra.

Artist’s choice
Organiser: Kallol Sarbojonin Durgotsav
This Puja was started in 1964. “This year, the specially designed set inspired by Jamini Ray’s creations will be the hallmark,” says General Secretary, Utpal Chowdhury. The food court will offer authentic Bengali cuisine.
Till: October 11
At: Ayyappa Temple Road, Bangur Nagar, Goregaon (W).

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Famous frequent fliers give tips on how to tackle air travel

What the doc prescribes

Beware of Clots: With long flights, frequent fliers are at risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis, in which blood clots are formed in your leg. These clots can travel to the chest and even cause heart attacks, so that’s something one needs to be careful about. Instead of sitting still for all those hours on an international flight, walk every one or two hours.

The Dehydration Monster: The low air pressure on a flight can cause dehydration. It’s important to keep yourself hydrated throughout the journey. Avoid consumption of alcohol and caffeine.

Eat Smart: The body’s metabolism also slows down while in the air. The solution to this is to not stuff yourself with food. It is a good idea to space out your meals, and to eat light food in small portions.

— Dr Abhay Vispute, medical director, SRV Hospital

Stay hydrated
Divya Palat, theatre personality
Flights per month: 3-4

Divya Palat with husband Aditya HitkariDivya Palat with husband Aditya Hitkari

As odd as this may sound, I absolutely love flying. Right from being on a flight to exploring an airport, for me, everything is an experience. I have several ways to deal with long-haul flights and jet lag. Start by keeping yourself hydrated throughout the flight, and with only water; I’ve found juices can be dehydrating. It’s also important to get up from your seat and walk a bit every once in a while to keep your feet from swelling up. Lastly, once you arrive at your destination, fight the urge to catch a wink. Go about your activities, and sleep only at night. That’ll take care of the jet lag.

Eating right
Vicky Ratnani, chef
Flights per month: 1-2

I don’t like the food served on flights. I’ve learned to avoid the eggs; they’re almost always overcooked. In fact, I prefer to eat at an airport rather than on the flight itself. Eat a light meal before you fly, and, if there is a layover, get yourself some fresh food at the airport. Make sure you have small, light meals and consume a lot of liquids.

Sleep matters
Ravi Subramanian, author
Flights per month: 5-6

My biggest issue with travelling overseas is that, no matter what, you can’t arrive fresh at your destination. First of all, the food served on a flight isn’t fresh, and if you end up drinking some wine, it ultimately makes you feel worse. To avoid looking tired, I always check into my hotel first and freshen up, and only then head to work. It also helps that I can sleep very comfortably on a flight. While most stay up watching movies, I make it a point to catch as much sleep as I can.

Get the right seat!
Vivan Bhatena, actor and model
Flights per month: 3-4

Flying economy when you’re a tall person comes with its own set of problems. It’s a task fitting myself into the tiny seats on aircrafts, and I always end up with cramps in my legs. Unfortunately, the only solutions to this problem are either getting a seat next to the emergency exit, or getting a business class seat, for which you end up shelling out extra money.

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100 carpet pieces to be displayed during 10-day exhibition in Mumbai

Luri and Tulu lazing on Danny Mehra’s carpet collectionLuri and Tulu lazing on Danny Mehra’s carpet collection

When Danny Mehra says, “I don’t lock them because they get lonely,” you’d be forgiven for thinking that he’s talking about a pet animal. Instead, the 57-year-old retired gentleman is sharing his love for carpets over telephone lines from Bengaluru. He calls them spontaneous, naïve and has even christened each of over a few 100 pieces that he owns. In fact, his pet dogs are also named after carpets — Luri, after a weave in Southern Iran and Tulu from central Iraq.

Danny Mehra with wife Renuka in Turkey
Danny Mehra with wife Renuka in Turkey

Later this week, Mehra will debut 103 pieces from his collection at a 10-day solo exhibition titled, Carpet Stories, presented by Cymroza Art Gallery. “The exhibits cover a range of weavings from the 19th to early 20th century. These include works by ethnic groups like the Qashqai, Luri, Bakhtiari, Afshar, Arab, Turkic, Baluch, Turkmen and Christian tribes,” informs Mehra.

Bombed by carpets
UP-born Mehra worked in USA for over 30 years as a management professional before settling down in Bengaluru two years back. Mehra’s love for carpets began in 1983. “At our wedding, my mother-in-law gifted us two Turkish tribal carpets. Every time I saw them, I’d spot something new. Over time, I started collecting more and now, there’s enough to cover a football field,” laughs Mehra, who has sourced the pieces from collectors and auctions.

Famous five
Mehra collects tribal carpets from five regions — the Caucasian mountains, Persia, Anatolian villages, Central Asian republics and Kurdish enclaves. “These carpets don’t have a defined pattern. Women would weave them as pastime between household chores. As most tribes were nomads, they used makeshift weaving looms. Today, the weaving traditions are extinct, and hence, it’s difficult to source such carpets,” he says.

Woollen wonders
A majority of the carpets in the collection are made from wool, considering the nomadic groups had easy access to sheep as part of their life-stock. Initially, they acted as strictly utilitarian products, either insulating the floor or as curtains. Over time, the tribes began to weave them as bags and beautiful works of art to support sacred prayer rituals, or include in a bride’s trousseau.

Replete with iconography of flowers, plants, birds, animals and mythical objects, the carpets are filled with colours from natural sources like flowers, roots, tree bark, and even insects. Mehra hand-washes piece he acquires. While the oldest carpet in his collection dates back to late 18th century, the largest one is 7x11 feet. On display will be carpets with an average size of 6x9 feet.

Did you know?
The yellow carpets from the Konya region and Tulu long-piled carpets from central Anatolia are particularly sought-after

From: September 29 to October 9, 10 am to 8 pm
At: Cymroza Art Gallery, Bhulabhai Desai Road.
Call: 23671983

Know your carpets

Caucasus: Located on the western edge of Asia, between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, the Caucasus Mountains house regions like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Dagestan. Weaving tribes included Azeri Turks, Kurds and Armenian Christians, and their specialties were piled carpets and flat-weaves. The most prolific weaving groups lived across the Karabagh (Black Garden) area.

Persia (Iran): Here, the carpets were largely produced by the Qashqai, Luri, Afshar, Bakhtiari, Baluch and Khamseh tribes, along with Shahsavan group. Nomadic tribes from the Zagros Mountains area of southwest Iran wove rustic Gabbeh (Farsi: unclipped) carpets, which are often compared to the modern Bauhaus school of design from Germany. Persian Luri carpets known as Pardeh were popular too (in pic).

Central Asia: The area features weaving groups from the Turkoman tribes, Khazaks, Uzbeks and other ethnic groups including Tajiks and Arabs. More rare weavings from the area include pile carpets woven by the Karakalpak Turkoman-Mongol tribe inhabiting the Oxus delta, and Julkhyrs (bear skin) long-pile carpets woven by Arab tribes inhabiting regions in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Kurdish enclaves: Though it doesn’t have recognised political borders currently, Kurdistan is the ancient homeland of Kurdish. It occupies areas of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Armenia. Prominent weaving groups include the Kolyai, Jaff, Sanjabi, Herki and Shikak Kurds. Their tribal products are often distinguished by bold designs and bright colours.

Mumbai 360 degrees: Your weekly go and do handbook

An evening of Lavani
Today, Attention, all dance lovers. Start your week with Lavani, a traditional Maharashtrian dance form, presented by Reshma Paritekar and group from Pune. There will be direct interaction with the audience as the art requires the
performer to sing and act too.
Time: 7 pm onwards
At: Prithvi Theatre, 20 Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road.
Call: 26149546
Cost: Rs 300

Paint for love
Ongoing, If you love paintings, head to this exhibition by a pool of talented artists — Uttam Chapte, Shyam Sharma, Gajraj Chavan, Supriya Wadgaonkar and Anil Gaikwad. The show is titled Colourful Expressions of Soul.
Time: 11 am onwards
At: J Nehru Centre Art Gallery, AC Gallery, Discovery of India Building
Call: 7715006844

Theory of life
Today, Attend an art exhibition, Saffire, by artist Neelam Sharma showcasing nuances about the theory of life. It reveals her unique perceptions about vivid realms of life on a spiritual and aesthetic plane through different visual icons and metaphors.
Time: 11 am to 7 pm
At: Nehru Centre Art Gallery, Discovery of India Building, Dr AB Road, Worli.
Call: 8696866689

Taste of Japan
Ongoing, Attend a Sushi and Teppanyaki Food Festival featuring authentic Japanese dishes. The set menu includes four varieties of sushi and sake served on the teppanyaki table, as well as a soup, salad, fried rice and dessert.
Time: 12.30 pm onwards
At: E.A.S.T, Hotel Sahara Star, opposite Domestic Airport, Vile Parle (E).
Cost: From `1,600 plus taxes
Call: 39807444

Caffeine high
Thurs, Sept 29 Celebrate International Coffee Day with a special curated menu. Begin with a Corn and Coffee Soup, then indulge in silky Parmesan and Coffee Risotto, Coffee Kazi Lamb chops, and more. There are also aromatic coffees to sip on.
Time: 8.30 am to 1.30 am
At: Fable, 3 Ashiyana Apartment, next to Arogyanidhi Hospital, Juhu.
Call: 60226400

Wine and dine
Tues, Sept 27 Experience the best Chilean wines with Nicolas Kowalski from Viña Ventisquero over a specially curated four-course sit down dinner. The meal will feature delectable dishes, all paired with a selection of Viña Ventisquero wines.
Time: 8.30 pm onwards
At: Olive Bar & Kitchen, 14, Nargis Dutt Road, Union Park, Khar (W)
Call: 43408229