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Far from the maddening crowd

Malavika Sangghvi

>> The lovely Bijal with her husband, the Reliance hotshot and Ambani cousin Hital Meswani, was at the newly opened luxury hotel in Coorg with their kids, which we had recently visited for its launch.

“It was lovely and a very nicely done New Year’s Eve too,” she said and we could picture the rolling hills, the glorious sunsets and the whispering rainforest vividly.

Designs on the New Year
>> Ace designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla spent New Year’s Eve at their beautiful art and antique filled apartment in Juhu after many years. “We were at home with four friends after six years of Goa, nothing major...” said Khosla. And no, he didn’t elaborate who his fellow guests were. But given the company they keep, it must have been a few legendary beauties.

Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla

The fire within and without
>> Farzana Contractor, the feisty editor of Upper Crust, India’s best food magazine, was at her Panchgani farm where she goes when not travelling around the world researching her food pieces, or editing her various magazines or clicking portraits of people.

“We sat around a crackling fire at Silver Oaks in cold Panchgani, drinking steaming hot Gluwein, with Johann Strauss wafting through my tiny red cottage at the edge of the hill. Since Bachi Karkaria and Diniyar were my sole guests, the conversation ferried around issues that are bringing India down and we cried when discussing the gang-rape victim. The fire that raged in me was a lot stronger than what I was gazing into,” she said.

So what did you do?
>> Not everyone was in Goa or Bali or at a big splashy party with champagne and fireworks!

Returning to Mumbai, our round robin of texts to friends elicited a wealth of responses as varied and interesting as the people we asked. Poets, politicians, designers, editors and industrialists — they all took time off to bring in 2013 in a special way.

Here’s a heads up of all the offbeat, original and innovative things a few of them did to bring in the New Year. Needless to add: we like very much!

Old times at Colaba
>> Art historian, research scholar, editor and curator Dr Saryu Doshi went to journalist Rahul Singh for his iconic annual bash at his airy and welcoming apartment in an old bylane of Colaba. “Met with lots of old friends and came home early,” she said.

English Vinglish with the Deoras
>> The lovely Hema Deora, bridge expert and aesthete, spent New Year’s at home with Murli (who we are happy to learn, has recovered from an illness and is ‘fighting fit again’.)

“He’s back in the saddle,” said his doting and supportive wife. But the couple chose to spend a quiet New Year’s Eve together at home.
“Our son Mukul was in Goa with his friends, and Milind was in Alibag with Pooja, so Murli and I spent it at home together watching English Vinglish,” she said. “We really enjoyed it.”

Yoga bear
>> Performance artist, dancer and activist Dodo Bhujwala spent the evening in thoughtful activity. “Yoga yoga, yoga,” he exclaimed ecstatically. “I had dinner with friends on the eve.

Then early morning I did a two hour marathon yoga session at Kaivalyadham followed by three hours of sutras, which is the philosophy of classical yoga,” says Bhujwala, who has been an avid devotee of SN Goenka’s Art of Living Course aka Vipasana, taught at Igatpuri and has centres all over the country. “Then on the evening of January 1, I attended a discourse by Swami Anubhavananda, the ‘Be Happy Swami’ on the Mandukya Upanishads.

Shaken and stirred
>> Rajya Sabha MP and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar spent the evening at home saddened by the poor girl’s death, watched a Bond movie till midnight and went to bed. An appropriate beginning to what promises to be a dreary year! he said, adding, “We are now in Goa.”

Aiyar who lives in Delhi and has served as petroleum minister and minster for Panchayati Raj has a flourishing career now as a speaker at international fora.

Let the music play on
>> Poet and musician Anand Thakore’s New Year’s Eve was (unsurprisingly) imbued in music. “Second session of carols, staring at a Christmas tree at a friend’s place in Bangalore then danced to Rasputin, fell asleep to Pink Floyd,” was his cryptic response.

Let’s dance!
>> Editor and cultural impresario Anil Dharkar and his partner, the journalist Amy Fernandes hosted an evening at his Worli apartment for close friends like Nira and Shyam Benegal, and Gerson and Uma Dacunha.

“Amy and I decided we had enough of going out to big parties, so just called a few friends home. The Christmas tree with its shimmering lights stood in one corner looking at us. There was good wine, single malts and conversation till Nira decided I should be DJ,” he said.

“The moment I put on a long forgotten CD of Trini Lopez, everyone hit the floor. Even Gerson who threw away his walking stick and did a waltz with Amy. Younger people like Asad Laljee showed the latest dance steps from New York. In all the excitement, I forgot the champagne chilling in the fridge,” he said. 

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