Though we were away for the long weekend and missed most of the political drama taking place regarding the government formations in Goa and Manipur, we caught up with an old Congress loyalist, someone considered a political veteran. "How can we compete with the money power the BJP has?" he moaned. "This is perhaps the worst phase the party has seen. People tell me off record that they want to support us, they want a strong opposition, and they believe in our ideology, but we just can't get our act together or provide a viable alternative for them. If I was an independent MLA or a smaller regional player - and had to choose between the government and this version of the Congress - perhaps I too would look out for my own interests."

And what is dear leader Rahul Gandhi up to, we enquired. Is he 'introspecting' about the party losses?

The Congress loyalist sighed so loudly that it sounded like the kind of noise you hear when a tire deflates. " The only kind of introspection that Rahul Gandhi needs to do at this stage is not about the party, but about himself. Do you know that for the first time seniors in the party are actually questioning his ability to lead?"

Is that a good thing, we enquired.

"Not until they have the courage to stand up and declare that the emperor has no clothes", he said., adding, "And for that there seem to be no takers."
Then all of you deserve to be in the mess you're in, we said to the loyalist.

"Yes," he said, adding, "What's worse is that we know that."

Khullam Khulla book release
His no holds barred, gasp a minute, autobiography Khullam Khulla, may have had a big fat launch in Delhi with fellow Punjabi bon vivant Suhel Seth doing the honours, but word comes in, that Mumbai fans of thespian Rishi Kapoor are in for a bigger treat this week, when the book is launched in the city of his birth and success.

Conceived by Fountainhead, the event is said to be a whole new approach to book releases, featuring not only the usual Q&A between author and moderator, but a whole production based on the book's most memorable disclosures. " Film clips, skits, song and dance numbers, and other surprises can all be expected," says a source.
And undoubtedly much kebab and sharab (in this case Johnny Walker Black Label) afterwards.

Koel comes to town
She's always been something of a free spirit, and an agent provocateur, and what's best is that marriage, motherhood, and a move with her husband and child to Tokyo, hasn't dimmed Koel Purie's joie de vivre. The weekend saw Purie celebrate Holi with great gusto in the Capital before she came to Mumbai for her family's uber talkathon. "While sitting in Tokyo I strong armed chuddybuddies into having a party on a Delhi farm, because I love Holi and wanted to go crazy surrounded by easy unquestioned love. DJ friends from Jalebi, medieval pundits, and Jayant played off each other and made us dance from sunshine to moonrise. It was intimate and nuts," she says. And though she might manage to wash out some of the colours from her recent Holi celebrations, there's every chance that the erstwhile Mumbai resident (she'd lived here to take a jab at Bollywood) will be painting the town red, all over again.
Nice!

Stratospheric conspicuous consumption
If there was any doubt that this high-flying business family possessed extremely high levels of insensitivity, then this is it. With unserved debts to institutional lenders running into several thousand crores, you would think that they would er tighten their Gucci alligator belts just a tad. No chance. Not only are they reported to have purchased a new private jet recently, which by some estimates comes for a price tag of around Rs 600 crore, but word is that they are selling off two of their personal yachts currently parked in the Mediterranean or some such discreet locale, to buy a single, even larger one for their personal pleasure.

"When I heard that they were selling off two of their yachts, I thought to myself, glory be, at least some measure of rectitude has visited them," said our friend the Oolong tea serving SoBo hostess to us when we spoke to her recently on the phone. "But no! It is only to facilitate a bigger shinier more impressive one."

As for factoring in their disregard for the huge debts that they owe by repeated acts of stratospheric conspicuous consumption, she says, "At least they have the decency to keep their new BBJ ( Boeing Business Jet) parked discreetly in the Middle East currently. They may have bought it, but give them credit that they have not flaunted it – yet."

And then we heard her tinkle her little bell and say, "Boy zara hot water jaldi lana please'."

Sunil Alagh
Sunil Alagh

An apple a day
On the sidelines of every election are the TV studio talking heads and their brand of political punditry. Over the weekend we watched one of the programmes on the post election results where a panel discussion moderated by Marya Shakil, between guests Zafar Islam (of the BJP), Priyanka Charturvedi (of the Congress), Sunil Alagh (founder SKA advisors) and Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay (journalist) soon turned into a three vs one debate, with the Congress spokesperson trying her best to produce arguments in support of the sinking ship. No surprises then, that Sunil Alagh, who has always been a Modi supporter, made a strong case for his leader. After all, the former corporate honcho who once headed Britannia, is as articulate as they come. What was surprising though is that post the discussion Alagh went one step further and tweeted this showing of support to the Prime Minister directly, "@narendramodi Sir, on CNN-IBN I said u hav 4Cs of a great Leader-Clarity, Communicative, Charisma n above all Credibility amongst us. Jai Ho."

A bit like the class monitor bringing a shiny apple to be in the teacher's good books we think.