A candle for David

Here's a story about David Bowie, which is only tangentially about David Bowie. Around the mid-eighties, we found ourselves lunching in London at a trendy restaurant with our friend, Willie Landels, editor of Harpers and Queen, London's go-to social chronicle and its Features Editor, Nicholas Coleridge.

David Bowie had been one of our teenage heroes. Pic/Getty Images
David Bowie had been one of our teenage heroes. Pic/Getty Images

The eatery was one of those places that attracted London's smart set: models, media, PYTs and the occasional rock and film star. And on this occasion, seated diagonally across from us was none other than David Bowie. In flesh and very pale blood, with his stardust all around him. We were thrilled. Bowie had been one of our teenage heroes, and 'Let's Dance' had been an enduring favourite. But now, in our mid-twenties and hoping to project an 'In London town' poise, we had tried to look nonchalant, when Coleridge had excitedly exclaimed "Gosh David Bowie's here."

Nicholas Coleridge. Pic/AFP
Nicholas Coleridge. Pic/AFP

Yes, David Bowie's here, we had said, looking in his direction, with spurious cool. At which point, Coleridge had explained helpfully, "He's a very big star here."

That's when we realised the meaning of context and the fault lines of cultural chasms (and also how observant Coleridge was). No surprises then, that by the time we'd returned to India, we received a mail (snail mail in those days) that Coleridge had become the editor of Harpers and Queen; that he is now President of Condé Nast International, which publishes more than 100 magazines and 80 branded websites in 24 markets globally, is only par for the course.

As for David Bowie, what can we say? We wish so much now that we'd given in to our teenage adulation and gone up to shake his beautiful hand. Goodbye David. Do the stars look very different today? I hope you check ignition and may God's love be with you...

Designs on Goa
As early Goa-lovers we've watched with interest, as various groups have carved out this slice of God's own country, into their own Portuguese villas/ haciendas.

Ever since Shashi and Jennifer Kapoor rented a little cottage in a fishermen's village and called it home, Goa's held particular attraction for the country's beautiful people.

Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla
Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla

And now, it appears it is the turn of India's fashion frat. Tarun Tahiliani and Malini Ramani have business interests there. Manoviraj Khosla, Rohit Bal, Ritu Beri, Rohit Gandhy and Rahul Khanna party there. Wendell Rodricks, one up on every one else, actually is a Goan. And now with the completion of Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla exquisite mansion in Moira — the run on Goa by India's leading designers is more or less complete.

Goa Goan gone...

A beckoning light
The imminent Sula Fest 2016, with its promise of undulating vineyards, world-class music acts and glorious sunsets are a beckoning light.

Jehan Johar
Jehan Johar

"It will be a musical journey that zips around the cultural planet," said Jehan Johar, who has been curating the Sula Fest main stage lineup for the past three years. "This year's lineup excites me more than any of the others," he informed.

"We have 12 bands on the main stage, spanning eight different nations, ranging over 22 different musical genres, and comprising 77 individual musicians, featuring Dub, Reggae, Ska, Blues, Rock, Electro, Pop, Latin, Electronic, Sufi, Indian-fusion, Funk, Electro-swing…"

We did not tell Jehan that we had no idea what some of these words meant.

"Bands performing include The Cat Empire from Australia, the Balkan Beat Box from Israel, Dub Inc from France, Delhi 2 Dublin and Imaad (Naseeruddin) Shah and Saba Azad's fun, funky, popped out, electro story — MadBoy / Mink," informed Jehan.

"It's going to be a weekend of music, culture, revelry, friendship, and discovery..." To which we said: " See you later — alligator"

Slice of heaven
It was a birthday party described as 'full of warmth and good cheer.' 'Blissful' and ' A Slice of heaven' by some very discerning guests, when designer Ritu Nanda brought in her birthday at @70 Vale, in Assagaon, Goa last week.

Ritu Nanda, David Abraham, Rakesh Thakore and Kevin Nigli
Ritu Nanda, David Abraham, Rakesh Thakore and Kevin Nigli

And partaking of the Bomra-cooked crispy pork with pumpkin sauce, outstanding prawn curry, French Merlot, Italian Chianti and Chilean Chardonnay, and son Budhadev Mangaldas' collection of music (Olivier Giacomotto, Kygo, cafe del Mar 2015 —the full set), were Nanda's family and close friends, including David Abraham, Rakesh Thakore and Kevin Nigli.

Nanda, a former photographer and all round style maven, has now taken to decorating sumptuous residences in Goa and @70 Vale is her newest offering. "I'm a huge fan of my mum's work," said daughter, the actress and TV anchor Leeza Mangaldas.

"In @70 vale, light and shadow dance on the walls — perhaps thanks to the lovely chandeliers that provide a relaxed, starry glow, making everyone look exquisite, or perhaps thanks to the sunlight that gently makes it's way in through the trees…" she said.

Group discounts anyone?
At an recent soiree, in contrast to the edifying conversations that swirled around the air, a few old crones were overheard eagerly discussing the pros and cons of Botox intervention. On hearing them, a swain nearby was heard to respond, "Are they seeking a group discount?" Tch Tch.

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