Serendipity is bumping into Barkha Dutt at our favourite club in Mumbai on the same afternoon as news of her leaving NDTV, after twenty action-packed years, is ricocheting around the globe.
Stupidity is not knowing about her departure until we reach home. But of course, being the consummate newswoman that she is, the encounter is not a total news write off.
“I’m in town to meet Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who’s got so much time on his hands that he’s playing bridge in Mumbai!” Dutt tells us.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
For NDTV, Dutt’s exit is truly the end of an era, who was practically its face and soul. As for Barkha-the buck certainly doesn’t stop here.
The newest Kapoor star on the block
Her grandfather was said to have one of the best musical ears in Bollywood; certainly, his rhythmic and energetic dancing had the young women of the country in a swoon.
And so, when Tulsi Kapoor, granddaughter of the late great Shammi Kapoor, says, “My grandfather was a wonderful classical singer. He introduced me to jazz and I grew up listening to some great pieces of music from jazz to classical music to Begum Akhtar to African folk music,” you know she’s a chip off the old block.
Tulsi performed at the Mahindra Blues Fest this weekend. “I sang with my band Dirty Laundry (all students of the True School of Music). We had a 30-minute set and I sang ‘Grinning in Your Face’ by Son House and ‘Sky is Crying’ by Stevie Ray Vaughan,” says the newest Kapoor to take to the limelight.
Milind plays the Blues
“They introduced me as MD Mississippi,” said our friend, blues guitarist and former South Mumbai MP Milind Deora, about his gig when he jammed with Doyle Bramhall II and Rich Robinson at the Mahindra Blues Fest over the weekend. ‘Why MD Mississippi?’ we enquired of the impassioned musician.
Rich Robinson and Doyle Bramhall II with Milind Deora
“Just to introduce a bluesy note, I guess,” he laughs, “I believe when I got off stage, there was a lot of speculation on Twitter if that was me playing, especially as Anand had tweeted, ‘Milind Deora...from Mumbai via Mississippi...Jamming with Doyle.’ I was playing after almost two years,” he adds.
And how did it feel? “Once I began it felt…great.” For the record, the former minister of State for Information Technology and Communications and Shipping played ‘Rock Me Baby’. Apt, that it was on Valentine’s Day and wife Pooja was in the audience we noted.
Incidentally, Deora is all geared to celebrate the marriage of his elder brother, Mukul, to Nitasha Thapar later this week.
Sent up without his supper
According to our political jasoos a lady who has more political leaders on her speed dial than Arnab — the imminent AICC meet in March to be held in either Delhi or Karnataka will make one important announcement: “RaGa will be made President of the Congress,” she says, adding, “It’s an issue that’s been hotly debated in Congress circles, with some saying it’s a good thing and other’s disagreeing.”
And what do you say, we enquired of the Delhi-know-all. “Me?” she replied, one eyebrow raised, “I want to know why the poor boy is being put through this grotesque form of BDSM. Time was when kids who’d been naughty would just be sent up without dinner...”
Ocean lovers unlimited
“Ever since I was born, my parents took me to the beach and the forests; my dad was an avid wind surfer back in the day, so I was predestined to be a water man,” says young Rahul Malaney, one of the founders of Vaayu Waterman’s Village in North Goa, where we stayed last week.
Rahul Malane with Jill Ferguson
Nestled in the crook of the Ashvem-Mandrem beach road, overlooking a river and the ocean, Vaayu is a unique initiative that brings together a collection of like-minded individuals such as environmentalists, artists, surfers, sports enthusiasts. and health nuts involved in all sorts of activities, at the heart of which lies the ocean.
“I really loved being out in the ocean and the feeling of moving with the wind,” says Malaney, who was a competitive sailor before he went to college in America. “My dad got me a brand new windsurfer for my 16th birthday; I was instantly hooked on the speed of flying over the lake with the water skimming under me. Since then, I feel like I have been searching for new ways to experience the rush, through kite surfing, surfing, stand up paddle boarding, wakeboarding, snowboarding, skateboarding and free diving,” he says.
He set up Vaayu with his partner Jill Ferguson as a way to share this excitement and respect for the ocean back home. Besides offering sparse but comfortable accommodation, (cottages and teepees), Vaayu boasts of India’s first comprehensive water sports retail outlet, stocking a large range of equipment, accessories, spare parts, and fashion, along with Prana Cafe, an organic California-fusion restaurant; Vision Collective, an open-air gallery that hosts movie nights, art exhibitions, and Prakti Tribe, the environmental wing that organises beach clean-ups and awareness drives.
So, having spent a few delightful days at this edgy, refreshing place amongst surfers, artists, kite boarders and their ilk, you might enquire what ocean-based activity we ourselves partook in. What else can we say, but that we sat contemplating the ocean for many an hour, gentle reader, thinking deep thoughts about the sea, while listening to Pablo Neruda’s ‘Ode to the Sea’.
For the record, though, “India is the most exciting place to surf and kite in the world right now,” says Malaney, who’s honed his talents in places as far flung as Hawaii, Oregon, Baja Mexico and Jamaica. Next time then.