And since the whole world is putting in its two peas about what RaGa is going to do once he returns from his sabbatical, here’s what we’ve heard: According to our sources, the scenario in the Congress today resembles that of 1969 when the left-leaning elements in the party led by a young Indira had clashed with Congress’ right of centre old guards like Kamaraj and Morarji Desai.
Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai. Pic/Getty Images and Rahul Gandhi
This time it’s the same ideological ding-dong with Rahul being seen in the Indira role -someone who wants to usher in a more equitable, accountable and inclusive India, they say. So far so good but who’s the ‘Syndicate’ against whose old world grip young RaGa strains?
That’s when our source turned pale. “It’s he whose name shall not be spoken,” said our friend whose fondness for JK Rowling should not be underestimated. “It’s the second most important person in the Congress, his mother’s most trusted aide and a very astute political strategist widely credited with the party’s performance in the 2004 and 2009 general elections,” he said.
Why does RaGa have a problem with him, we asked. “God knows, all I’ve heard is that for the young Gandhi he represents the party’s old school and his presence obstructs the rolling out of the Veepee’s plans for a fresh new chapter in the grand old party’s life and so word is out that he is going to ask for some very senior party resignations on his return. It’s a move that will hopefully show him to be an outsider to the old system.” And so it goes, and so it goes.
And when there’s talk of Gaggan, can his equally talented fellow chef, Manish Mehrotra of Delhi’s Indian Accent be far away? Earlier this column had mentioned that Accent’s creator Rohit Khattar had been in discussion with the Four Seasons to bring what is easily Delhi’s finest fine dining eatery to town.
But sources say that talks had broken down over details. And now word comes in that a new line of discussion has begun with a hotel on Marine Drive to house Accent in the place of its once popular but fast fading Far-eastern eatery. “Imagine if this comes through then Mumbai will not only have a ‘Gaggan’ but an ‘Accent’ too,” said a die-hard foodie, “Take a culinary backseat saddi Dilli.”
Not nice at all
This is not nice, not nice at all. Friends of this popular Sobo swain have been outraged by the treatment meted out to him by his former wife. Whereas both parties are currently abroad, following the collapse of their F&B empire, his friends talk of how unfortunate it is that being the thorough gentleman that he is, he’s been fastidiously supporting his former spouse not only in word but by deed.
“The irony is,” said one of his pals, “that while he is so protective about her, she is busily ruining his reputation by having her gal pals spread ugly rumours about him. If her marriage was so bad as she’s been telling them, then why did she wait for five years before she walked out? Why leave him now when he’s really down and out and is at his lowest financially and emotionally!” said the enraged pal of the husbands. “It’s just not fair,” said the swain. We agree.
Breaking bread with history
“The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity than the discovery of a new star,” Brillat-Savarin had once said and, given that sentiment we think we can claim to have broken bread with history when we’d been present earlier this year at the table in Bangkok when Asia’s Best Chef Gaggan Anand more or less made up his mind to open his first restaurant in India choosing Mumbai over Delhi.
Both cities have claims to a gourmet clientele but Gaggan’s flamboyance and easy vibe was more suited to Mumbai, we’d weighed in. Of course our opinion might not have influenced his decision but Anand had appeared momentarily convinced and then had told us of the two Mumbai properties under consideration. “Which one will be more appropriate?” he’d enquired.
And at the risk of offending a slew of his foodie fans across the city, since we are still under oath of secrecy, all we can say is that we had advised going with the one that had ambience over commercial interest. Of course having no experience in such matters, we hope Gaggan will not have taken our advice. Nevertheless, we are happy to say that very soon you might hear that there is going to be a Gaggan in Mumbai at a suburb near you!
From London to RS?
We love the delicious irony of the situation: whereas earlier one would go to London to see the Queen, now it will be to see Gandhiji’s magnificent statue, holding British parliament in its unwavering gaze.
Shaina NC participates in the Second Economic Forum for India at the LSE
Speaking of which, news comes in from the British capital that Arun Jaitley is not the only BJP politico to have made an impression; Mumbai’s popular and hard working Shaina NC, BJP Maharashtra’s treasurer and spokesperson participated in the Second Economic Forum for India at the LSE, London, over the weekend.
“Her participation in the scintillating politics panel, alongside AAP’s Raghav Chadha and Union Minister Piyush Goyal enabled it to explore issues of national and international importance,” said a spokesperson clearly impressed by her performance.
Come to think of it, the young politico who is known for her good communication skills and her commitment to Mumbai, youth and women’s issues, could make for an excellent RS member, and the BJP’s softer more progressive urbane face. Today the LSE, tomorrow the Rajya Sabha? Wot say?