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A tale of two Delhis

In an evening redolent of another Delhi and like an exotic lotus blooming in a river of saffron, Justice Leila Seth’s book ‘Talking of Justice: People’s Rights in Modern India (Aleph) was launched at the IIC this Monday with a discussion chaired by noted writer and TV personality Sunil Sethi with her son Vikram Seth, the feminist lawyer Vrinda Grover and former solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam.

“It was house full in the main auditorium. In the front row were the redoubtable Parsi jurists of the Indian legal fraternity such as Soli Sorabjee and Fali Nariman, and many others from Bim Bissell to Bina Ramani were also present,” says Sethi.

Soli Sorabjee and Leila Seth. File pics Fali Nariman
Soli Sorabjee and Leila Seth and Fali Nariman. File pics

“When I asked Vikram Seth if the new penalties for sexual harassment had altered the language of seduction and love — with words like flirty and naughty now considered offensive he said he would go on inventing new words.”

Gopal Subramaniam Vikram Seth
Gopal Subramaniam and Vikram Seth

And in the best tradition of all genteel and civilized IIC evenings, the event ended with a standing ovation for Justice Leila Seth, as it was her 84th birthday with Vikram leading the audience singing “Happy Birthday Leila.”

Needless to say no one from the BJP establishment was there — not surprising as Gopal Subramaniam’s elevation to the Supreme Court had recently turned down.

‘In the room the women come and go...’

The Long and Winding Road
“It’s 52 days already” writes biker Aditya Raj Kapoor, who along with his fellow easy rider, Deepak Amembal, has been on the long and winding road ever since August 31, when the duo had left Mumbai to embark on an epochal journey from Mumbai to Kashmir to Khardung La, through Nepal to Bhutan to Puri and finally Mumbai via Kanyakumari — 14,000 km ride over 75 days in all!

Deepak Ambembal and Aditya Raj Kapoor at Khardung La Pass
Deepak Ambembal and Aditya Raj Kapoor at Khardung La Pass

“We have completed 8,000 km and are now in Ranchi,” says the adventurous son of the late Shammi Kapoor and Geeta Bali. “It’s been a highly educative and humbling experience to see India on a bike,” says Kapoor. “We are flooded and overwhelmed with street generosity and the love of the common man,” he says.

And how far before they begin their homeward journey? “Another 5,000 km and 2 weeks to go,” he says happily. “From here we begin our southbound journey,” he says.

Happy biking!

Her father’s daughter
“I sooo enjoyed hosting the closing ceremony of MAMI. The audience was wonderful and so encouraging of my speaking style!

Tara Sharma Saluja with Aamir Khan and Bai Ling
Tara Sharma Saluja with Aamir Khan and Bai Ling

Even when I made little goof ups we together laughed through them often with little jokes I tried to conjure up!” Says the lovely Tara Sharma Saluja about hosting the finale of the recently concluded MAMI in Mumbai. “The atmosphere was electric. And as I said in my speech, there was one common emotion binding everyone in that room, and that was a passion for cinema.”

“It was great also to share the stage with amazing super stars like Aamir and Madhuri,” says the lady who recently interviewed Gold medal winning boxer Mary Kom for her show ‘The Tara Sharma Show’ now in its third season on Star World which begins in November.

“As you know Dad was a brilliant communicator,” she says of her father, the late great Partap (The Voice) Sharma, a dear friend of our family. “And my love of public speaking is perhaps rooted in that. Daddy taught me all I know and he always said enjoy your speech and your audience will too, and appear unrehearsed but be well rehearsed actually”.

On the bench with biting satire
The high standard of satire and parody on the net never ceases to delight us. No sooner had we exulted in Alia Bhatt’s unmatched spoof on herself and her so-called IQ deficiency on All India Bakchod, we now have an even more brilliant enterprise featuring ace producer Karan Johar and stand up comedian Cyrus Sahukar, in which the former sends himself up with such panache that he deserves an Oscar for his smarts.

Cyrus Sahukar Karan Johar Alia Bhatt
Cyrus Sahukar, Karan Johar and Alia Bhatt

Pushing the envelope in ways never seen before in India, this wicked and politically incorrect spoof called ‘The Bench’ and featured on Pink Villa is the brainchild of Rhea Kapoor, Anil and Sunita’s producer daughter.
Needless to say we like very much!

In praise of Alibag
“Alibag is fab! I went after a couple of years, and wondered why I’d waited so long,” says our friend the beatific food writer Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi about her latest column for Mumbai Boss reviewing eateries in what is often referred to as Mumbai’s Hamptons, the beach fronted mainland across its Western shores.

Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi
Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi

And while we share her enthusiasm for Alibag we do not subscribe to the conventional view about it being our Hamptons. Yes, there are parts of it, which are posh and rarified (Spanish Haciendas with their own helipads for retiring plutocrats) but there is a boho gritty doughtiness about the place that more brings to mind Martha’s Vineyard.

Sweaty at the jetty, backpack and iPod in hand, with slobbery dog on her shoulder, the urbane Mumbaikar has always escaped to Alibag for much needed bouts of tree hugging.

But back to Roshni and her Alibag expedition of eating four meals in eight hours. “I don’t know why more people don’t plan food-focused day trips there. It’s so easy.” She says, “And though I haven’t cooked there, I do think the locals have a way with seafood and with Malvani cooking.”

She describes her action packed day as “Getting there, getting around, asking the super helpful locals where to eat, and walking it all off, of course!”

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