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Bombay Dreams

ENJOYING THE SCENES: Jasmine on holiday in India

I TOOK my mum to India for 10 days for her birthday treat.

When exiting the airport in Mumbai every sense is assaulted simultaneously. The heat is like walking into an oven. The unrelenting noise and sound of the people and cars honking is a shock. The sheer volume of people, cars, motorbikes, colourful clothing, animals and extraordinary buildings is mesmerising. The smells of exotic flowers, spicy cooking, piles of sewage and religious incense are suffocating.

I travel a lot and have noticed that many American, European and African cities all resemble each other, but it’s really in parts of Asia that I truly feel I am experiencing something new. So it was a little disappointing to discover that the capital of Bollywood - Mumbai is becoming the same city as everywhere else! I’ve been before, but this visit showed how fast the country is developing. I loved it more when it was not really influenced by western corporate brands, but now there are name brands everywhere. Body shop, Costa, Starbucks, KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and many more!

On previous trips I’ve been used to seeing herds of ox, cattle, bull etc walking by in the roads. There was nothing quite that wondrous this time around, aside from the fact that tailors out there charge 200 rupees to make a copy of any item of clothing I liked. That’s just over £2!

Then I popped to a McDonalds (which amusingly had a Maharaja Mac and MCspicy Paneer) to find out that a fillet-o-fish costs more than what the tailor charged to make a bespoke piece of clothing! Shocking! No wonder Primark prices are so cheap?! Surely India needs a better chart of fair pay?
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BACK TO WORK FOR JAS

On my return I was home was off to the annual CDN Awards at the Hackney Empire, which saw a huge audience of the media’s great & good, including Tim Davie, acting BBC Director General who hosted the awards alongside Amanda Rice - Head of BBC Diversity.

Davie praised the work of the broadcasters for their behind the scenes initiatives like the Hackney Weekend (Radio1) project and indie company Shine's 'The Hatch' project which aims to give young marginalised people the opportunity to work on media production.

Entertainment was provided by Shappi Khorsandi and Stephen K Amos. It was a great evening full of positivity - even Lenny Henry’s presence didn’t irritate me as much as usual!
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JAS FINDS THE CURE FOR POST HOLIDAY BLUES


MAD HATTER: Comedian Slim performed at Strictly Come Laughing 4

Finally hats off to the organisers of Strictly Come Laughing 4 at the Hackney Empire. This fantastic event showed the big-hearted side of comedy as all performers donated their time - free of charge - to raise money for the impoverished town of Kwahu Tafo in Ghana.

The sold out show was hosted by BBC London's top broadcaster Eddie Nestor with film and TV star Robbie Gee and kicked off to a brilliant start by the up and coming and very funny comedian Axel.

He was followed by a very risqué but funny set by Rudy Lickwood who suggested that one way to ensure young children were in their houses by 8pm would be to “Release all paedophiles onto the streets at that time!” Other comedians included one of my personal favourites Slim, who tells me he is planning another one man show sometime in 2013.

Eddie Kadi and Kevin J who had the crowd in stitches with a short preview of their forthcoming show Ed'n'Kev, Stephen K Amos, Glenda Jaxson who had the men squirming with her stories about boring sex, Quincy, Mr Cee and the always funny, Tony Hendrix.

Remember the name, Jermaine Jackman, the 17-year-old Hackney singer (fresh from performing at the Apollo theatre in Harlem) received the nights only standing ovation and is set for big things. We were also blessed with a heart-thumping, toe tapping treat from the cast members of award winning West End musical Stomp.

There was also a plethora of celebrities doing their bit on the night including Britain’s answer to Denzel Washington the gorgeous Hugh Quarshie, also Holby City’s Jimmy Akingbola who plays Malick and Chizzy Akudolu who plays Mo. Star of the television programme Waking The Dead and the person who is about to become the first black full time cast member of Emmerdale Wil Johnson was also in attendance.

A great night full of belly laughs and we could all feel good about ourselves knowing every penny was going directly to help build a better life for the people of Kwahu Tafo Roll on Strictly 5(to find out more about where the money goes or to make donations www.friendsoftafo.org). Over £11,000 was raised on Sunday for Kwahu Tafo! Now that’s people powered change!

Jasmine Dotiwala is a TV producer, director and broadcast journalist. Email her atjasmine@hiphop.com Follow her on Twitter: @jasminedotiwala

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