If you do meet Rashmi don't tell her that I called her the 'Grand dame' of restaurant reviewing in Mumbai. She prefers it if I call her 'Marilyn'. She is even willing to call me Marlon (Corleone ref) in return if I do that. Yes, neither of us belong to the 'Twilight' generation as you can figure out from our cinematic references.
A year back my masi in law had gifted me The Times Food Guide, Mumbai, on my birthday.
A set of three books by Rashmi Uday Singh which would seem to be an obvious choice to give as a gift to someone know who loves food.
Little did I know that less than a year later I would suddenly receive a call from the grand dame of food writing in Mumbai, Rashmi Uday Singh, herself and that the next day we would go out eating together. Since then I have come to know Rashmi as one of the most positive and warmest and kindest human beings that I have come across.
Imagine the look of joy on my face couple of days back when K got me the latest Good Food Guide and I saw my name (albeit with an extra r) in the acknowledgments in Rashmi's 'My knights in shining armour and family section'.
And a few pages later once again in the section on 'Bhojohori Manna'.
This is one lady in mass media who believes in crediting her sources. In fact if you read her column on Fridays in the Bombay Times, you will notice that she always writes about the folks she went to a place with and about what their reactions were. As she says, and as I have seen, Rashmi drops in unannounced in the places she covers and pays for the meals.
A few more pages down and one reaches the newly introduced section on 'Foodie Finds of Top Food Bloggers'.
The section is a very significant one as it is a recognition of the role of bloggers by Rashmi, one of the city's first mass media restaurant reviewers, and the Times Group, one of the India's largest mass media groups.
When I receive mails from PR folks where one is part of a 'media list' I often question the use of the word 'media'.
'I am a blogger' I often reply. Not the 'media'.
I think what Rashmi and The Times have reminded us is that 'media' can take various shapes...mass as well as social...and that both can coexist.
Do pick copy of the guide and look up recos including those from Rushina Munshaw Ghildayal, Nikhil Merchant, Gaurav Jain, Adarsh Munjal, Snigha Manchanda Bilkola...some of the first set of Mumbai bloggers that one has known. Sunayan and food enthusiast Jarna Gandh whom one has met recently and many others and one whom I have not met yet including aapri Roxanne Bamboat or the 'Tiny Taster' whose earnestness and freshness makes her's one of my favourite blogs to follow.
As good old Rashmi says, 'May God make your life (like He has made mine) a series of miracles punctuated by great lunches and dinner'.
Thanks for the warm wishes and encouragement Marilyn,
You are the best.
Love, Marlon ;)