Don't ask us how, but we have a copy of the menu served at the ceremonial dinner hosted by Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina this Saturday for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And, whereas we ourselves are discovering a new-found respect for vegetables, we could not but rue the fact that with the gastronomical tips and bows to a certain personage from Ahmedabad, Bangladesh's most famous dish was conspicuous by its absence.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Pic/PTI
The menu at the ceremonial dinner
Yes, we could not help noticing the Gujju slant to the fare. With the entre of Khaman Dhokla (served with yoghurt coriander chutney, tamarind glace pomegranate seeds and coconut) and Khichdi (Melange of yellow lentils and rice simmered with tempered mustard seeds and ghee) and the thoughtfully included pooris the absence of hilsa was a much noted one. Wonder what Didi thinks of this fishy absence?
#What do we call thee?
Dear #Bollywood, This will be the last time we address you by that name. Because from this moment on, we have decided to respect your wishes and desist from addressing you as #Bollywood from hereon.
Kangana Ranaut, Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan
We are doing so out of respect for your feelings. Too many of your denizens, like Amitabh Bachchan, Kangana Ranaut and Irrfan Khan, have expressed their aversion to the name, and since many of them have our respect and affection we are bowing to their wishes. (Frankly, our constant reference to your now expunged name was less to do with its rhyming with a certain 'Holly' and more to do with its echo of the word 'jolly')
Jolly good men and women, making mostly jolly good films under jolly difficult circumstances... But of course, we do not want to make excuses for your now retired nomenclature that is now, as far
as we are concerned, done and dusted with. From now on for us, Bollywood is a non-word and has been relegated to the great junk heap of locution, where it will spend the rest of its days with with its cousins, other retired words such as 'yuppy' and 'bourgeois'.
Just one thing, though. What on earth are we supposed to call you now? #The film industry? (Sounds too factory-like). #Mumbai's film industry ? (No panache). #The motion picture industry? (As the late great Dev Anand would refer to it). #The Film fraternity? #Filmdom? #Filmistan? #Film folk? #Show biz?
Please understand that we have no clue how you'd like to be referred to, so we urge you to have a good think about it and let us know. Waiting in anticipation, Yours, perplexed etc
Leaving on a Jet Plane
He may be regarded by some as a transcontinental super brat (especially by those who challenged his authority), but there is no doubt that, when it comes to expressing softer emotions and his adoration for his wife, Lalit Modi, the flamboyant founder architect of the IPL, has few contenders.
Lalit Modi and friends in Havana, Cuba
Of course, it helps that his wife is the beauteous and graceful Minal Modi, daughter of a well-heeled Sindhi clan, and that the couple share two beautiful children; but even so, friends of the feisty cricket lord can't stop talking of how much he adores his wife and leaves no stone unturned to delight her.
This week saw the jet-set resident of London hire the services of not one, but two planes from Vistajet to fly a happy bunch of friends and family to Cuba, to celebrate Minal's birthday. That the group was drawn from high rollers from across the world was to be expected. And representing Mumbai was industrialist and IPL team owner Jay with actress wife Juhi Mehta. Nice!
Living with intent
"One of my most treasured memories is travelling alone to London with my Nani and Nana, when I was about 13," said Mallika Chopra, daughter of internationally acclaimed author and new age savant, the USA-based Deepak Chopra.
Deepak Chopra with granddaughter Tara
"Today, Tara, my 13-year-old daughter, headed to Europe for a week alone with my parents (and) I'm surprisingly feeling quite emotional... Reminiscing back to 30 years ago," said Chopra whose book Living With Intent, an account of her purposefully choosing to live a healthy and joyful existence, was released recently.
Recounting her days spent in health retreats or meeting Indian spiritualists like Mata Amritanandamayi, the hugging guru, to recommitting to her meditation practice, the book also carries her interviews with high priests of the new age universe like Eckhart Tolle, Dr Andrew Weil and Dr Dan Siegel (and appears to be just the kind of book that we would like to read right now!)
Incidentally, said Chopra of this photo of her daughter with her dad: "I told Tara before they left to get photos with my mom who never agrees to be in a photo," making an affectionate reference to her infinitely more high-profile parent.
En famille and in style
Spotted at a particularly gregarious night at the Bombay Canteen last week were the Deoras dining en famille at the city's newest watering hole and grazing ground.
Milind Deora, Pooja Shetty and Mukul Deora
This included bridge champion Hema with her sons, movie producer and poet Mukul with his new bride, the lovely Nitasha Thapar, and Milind, the Congress leader, rocker, and former IT minister, with wife Pooja Shetty, movie producer and businesswoman a group which, by any standards, must have been partaking in a very intelligent conversation indeed!
Hema Deora (left) and Nitasha Thapar
"Unfortunately I don't have any picture of the five of us. I should have taken one!" said Hema, when we asked if there had been any selfies taken on the occasion.
Riteish, Genelia, Riaan. Pic/Twitter
As sweet as Chikki
Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh, whose awww-inspiring pictures with their baby are the toast of the film industry and social media, sent out a big box of cookies and other delights such as that typical Maharashtrian delicacy chikki, to announce the birth of their son Riaan. Sweet!