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Another Udta Punjab

There's another Punjab that's flying high, and it's one that we Punjabis can take pride in. That of the seven Punjabi bankers who rule the roost in India's banking sector. Each is a man of considerable power, wealth and influence, with all the trappings of his position, and each has more or less made it on their own steam.

And so without much ado here they are: Aditya Puri of HDFC, Rana Kapoor of YES Bank, Ramesh Sobti of IndusInd Bank, Gunit Chaddha of Deutsche Bank, Vishwavir Ahuja of Ratnakar Bank, and Sanjay Nayar of KKR, Jaspal Bindra of Standard Chertered.

Seven dashing bankers - almost like Snow White's seven dwarfs. And if you consider that the Indian economy is Snow White, then who is Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy and Grumpy? The jury's out on that one.

Jaspal Bindra
Jaspal Bindra

Mountains out of molehills
“It’s all nonsense. Such a mountain out of a molehill,” grumbles the ebullient Suhel Seth, whose book launch at the LSE this week resulted in a considerable snafu when it was found that Vijay Mallya, on India’s most wanted list at the moment, had attended the event sharing the room with India’s current Consul General in London. “I tell you,” said Seth.

Suhel Seth and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Suhel Seth and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

It’s great publicity for your book, we said to the man at the centre of it all. “Doesn’t harm sales.” “Forget that,” he says, already on to the next thing. “This evening I’m talking to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at a function organized by the UK AOL at the Royal Albert Hall. And it’s a sell out. Every seat has been bought,” he says.

Err, any beleaguered beer barrels attending we wanted to ask. After all Sri Sri had been one of his spiritual mentors a few years ago we almost mentioned to Seth. Could there be a possibility of another controversy? Let’s wait for the media coverage after the talk, we decided. After all with Seth, there’s never a dull moment.

Suneeta Rao performing in China

A paree in China
News comes in that statuesque Mumbai-based singer, star dancer and actress, Suneeta Rao, best known for her chart buster Paree Hoon Main, is just back from a trip to China - where she sang ghazals with a jazz o\Octet featuring guitarist Hideaki Tokunaga. “What a night! Looks like my music is finding new horizons,” said Rao about her Chinese debut. Nice.

Not without my bungalow
The corporate grapevine is agog with talk of this highly decorated and regarded head honcho of one of India’s leading multi-national conglomerates.

“Everyone knows that he’s been running it for the last few decades more or less as a private fiefdom,” says an insider. “But now that he’s finally beyond the age when he can put off naming a successor, and retiring gracefully, the big question is whether he will relinquish his grand suburban company bungalow when he does,” says the source.

“In fact, so attached is he to his abode that people are taking bets that he will transfer it on to his name and only then retire,” says the insider. Of course, it’s just a coincidence that the bungalow in question happens to be in the same neighbourhood where a lot of other grand bungalows and cottages are under siege at the moment.

Writing well is the best revenge
The art of hitting back in style was more or less invented by Nora Ephron (1941 – 2012) the American journalist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, (Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally etc) novelist, producer, director, and blogger who, when she discovered that her then husband, Pulitzer prize-winning Carl Bernstein, was having an affair with her best friend, wrote Heartburn in 1983, which was hailed for its ability to turn heart achingly sad memories into stomaching achingly hilarious ones.

Karan Johar and (left) Nora Ephron Pic/AFP
Karan Johar and (left) Nora Ephron Pic/AFP

In Heartburn, Ephron had said of her fictitious husband Mark, that he was “capable of having sex with a Venetian blind.” And described his paramour as looking like a giraffe with “big feet.” Something of this nature occurred recently when Karan Johar, one of Bollywood’s most high-profile and successful film personalities, penned a column for a popular website entitled, “Dear Trolls, You don’t get me, never will.”

Writing with humour, poignancy and a strident courage, Johar began his diatribe against obnoxious netizens who greeted him each morning with “gay ma*****od, good morning,” and went on to give readers an account of his sometime humorous, sometime harrowing tryst with them.

“I’ve tried to figure out what’s behind the nonstop trolling. I’ve discussed it with friends, family, even my therapist. Why is it that every time I put up a pouting picture on Instagram, I’m just called chakka, gay, I’m told “chup kar ch***ye?” in the process revealing, ‘Everyone thinks I land in a chopper on top of my building and I have the most cushy existence.

Could you understand that I might have the most messed up life myself? That I am probably in bed lonely most nights, sometimes even crying myself to sleep. I acknowledge that I am materially privileged, but I am not emotionally privileged. There are reasons for me to be lonely and sad on most days and I am probably as sad as you, the troller.”

As we began, to take a distressing situation and to present it with such humour, flair and honesty - as Ephron herself had once said: ‘writing well is the best revenge’!

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