A spectacle of themselves

As far as rocker cool is concerned, there couldn't be a better example than this pic of two legendary stars of the stage and printed word, U2's charismatic Bono, and Mumbai-born author Salman Rushdie, whose friendship and mutual respect make them something akin to brothers in arms.


Bono and Salman Rushdie
Bono and Salman Rushdie

'Once upon a time... exchanging eyewear backstage, Wembley Stadium, 20+ years ago,' tweeted Rushdie about this historic swap of spectacles. 'We're one/But we're not the same/We get to carry each other/ Carry each other… One…'

Peacemaker and friend
He might be facing personal challenges himself on the biz front, but insiders say that has not stopped Vijay Mallya from playing peacemaker, and conflict resolution expert, between Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia.

Preity Zinta, Ness Wadia and Vijay Mallya
Preity Zinta, Ness Wadia and Vijay Mallya

Recently, the grapevine has been buzzing with news of a cessation of hostilities between the joint owners of the Kings XI Punjab, and this welcome news has been attributed to the erstwhile Mallya, who knows both parties well for many years.

"His role has been avuncular and conciliatory," said a source, "and he's appealed to both of them to set aside their past differences and move ahead." Nice!

Hard Talk
If diamonds are a girl's best friend, you could say that our source for this next item was the belle of the ball. Her vast and first-hand knowledge of Marquis, Asscher and Princess cuts, her appetite for prime solitaires, and the manner in which she pursued her passion, keeping abreast of the latest auctions, befriending international jewellers, and travelling the globe to view the best, was legendary.

Truly, she was an authority on the stone. "Hmm," she said, when we met over the weekend, taking a healthy gulp of her favourite rose bubbly, "Hmm," she said, as she carefully placed the flute down. "I really feel so sad. But there's nothing I can do. How many more can I buy?"

What was she referring to, we enquired gently. "The condition of the city's diamond merchants! The market is slow! They have unsold stocks and most of them can't pay their salaries!" she wailed. 'Unsold stock, unpaid salaries — how can that be?' we said . Didn't one of them, that chap with the coloured stones, make it to the billionaire's lists recently?

Our friend shot us a look as sharp as her solitaires. "Him?" she wailed exaggeratedly. "He's under the most pressure! Just drop in at his SoBo store and see if you ever run into single customer for starters!" she said animatedly. 'Huh, what about the parties, the double-paged adverts, the promotions ,and the billionaire status?" we asked.

Our friend, the celebrated diamond lover, took another gulp of her champagne. " What else can I do? " she said witheringly, "but quote the words of a very learned man: 'No pressure, no diamonds'." And with that, she turned her attention to more mundane matters.

Love is in the air
So, even as the city witnessed the engagement of Parth Jindal to Anushree Jasani over the weekend, word comes in that two other young SoBo couples have also announced their plans to marry.

Kresha Bajaj and Vanraj Zaveri
Kresha Bajaj and Vanraj Zaveri

The engagement of Kresha Bajaj, the daughter of Kishore and Kintu Bajaj, of Hakkasan and Yautcha, and a budding fashion designer in her own right to beau Vanraj Zaveri, was announced, as congratulations poured in on their social media timelines.

Marushka Mafatlal and Rohan Seolekar
Marushka Mafatlal and Rohan Seolekar

The second couple to officially announce their betrothal is Marushka Mafatlal and Rohan Seolekar. Marushka is the daughter of Atulya Mafatlal and Rohan hails from the Pune-based family behind Oxford Builders, who own the O hotels. We wish both couples well!

Bun maska, edu and conversations...
A lawyer, an editor, an artist, an author, a music impresario, a visiting diplomat, a chef and a columnist met for breakfast and banter this Saturday at Jimmy Boy at Bank Street for the second installment of the 'MS Sunny Side Up Breakfast Project'.

Kaveer Shahani, Irfan Pabaney, Amrita Verma Chowdhury, Malavika Sangghvi, Gautam Benegal, Pradyuman Maheshwari, Abha Singh and Dov Steinberg
Kaveer Shahani, Irfan Pabaney, Amrita Verma Chowdhury, Malavika Sangghvi, Gautam Benegal, Pradyuman Maheshwari, Abha Singh and Dov Steinberg

The first to arrive was Pradyuman Maheshwari, editor-in-chief and CEO of MxM, the media company engaged in the publishing of specialised publications on media and marketing, followed by artist, animator and author 1/7 Bondel Road and The Green of Bengal Gautam Benegal, followed by author (Faking It and Breach) and Country Head and Publishing Director of Harlequin Amrita Verma Chowdhury, and Chef and part owner of Sassy Spoon Irfan Pabaney in quick succession, and soon came feisty lawyer Abha Singh, and finally Israeli diplomat Dov Steinberg and music impresario Kaveer Shahani.

Bhendi par edu
Bhendi par edu

It was a jolly group at Jimmy Boy that Saturday morning, where over 'salli per edu' and 'keema pav' and 'akuri with bun maska' and filter coffee, Irani chai and Raspberry squash there was laughter, sparkling conversation and much food adventurism. They spoke of writing and art, of food and wine, of politics and law amongst other things.

Benegal and Parbaney high- fived on the former's PIL on the beef ban; Chowdhury informed the group about publishing trends and her life as an IIT- Carnegie Mellon trained engineer-turned-author; Shahani and Steinberg held forth on their forthcoming trip to Chor Bazaar and the latter's enduring love for Mumbai, where he had served as Israel's consul general in the 2000s, and Singh regaled the group with her latest legal cases, including that of Salman Khan.

It was a morning of making new friends and learning new things. How, if you want to run a successful media house, it should sport a name made up of 3 letters (BBC, CNN, CBC); what some of the most successful Indian authors do to bolster book sales; where the best blind wine tastings are held and what to do when you receive a carton full of Bhut Jolokia chillies (you soak them in a good Polish Vodka).

And as in the tradition of the 'MS Sunny Side Up Breakfast Project', everyone paid for their own meals, exchanged cards and contacts, posed for a picture or two, and went on their way; arriving as near strangers and leaving as friends. A more civilised Saturday morning in Mumbai would be hard to find.

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