Foodies Haunt

>> Diners at 212, the trendy South Mumbai eatery were in for a pleasant surprise on Wednesday night when the entire Bachchan clan – Amitabh, Jaya, Abhishek, Aishwarya and Shweta accompanied by Anil and Tina Ambani and their son were seen partaking in the restaurant’s superb gourmet fare.

Since this is the second outing for the Bachchans at 212 in the same month ( they’d celebrated Amitabh’s birthday dinner there post the exhibition of his portraits at the Nehru Center), guests wondered what it was that kept getting the discerning family of international foodies back. “It’s the restaurant’s special truffle pasta and pizzas,” a fellow guest informed.

Amitabh Bachchan

Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anil Ambani

Shweta Nanda
The Bachchan family including Amitabh, Abhishek, Aishwarya and daughter Shweta Nanda with Tina and Anil Ambani celebrate Amitabh’s 70 th birthday at 212

Rocking the UN
>> Our friend the New York-based photojournalist Jay Mandal, who is an excellent chronicler of the Big Apple’s perennial Indian summer, captured this wonderful cameo of celebrated Indian violinist Dr L Subramaniam who performed with musical legends like Stevie Wonder, Sting and Estelle to mark the anniversary of United Nations Day 2012 on Wednesday night. “UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter.

Dr L Subramaniam and Stevie Wonder
Dr L Subramaniam and Stevie Wonder. 

October 24 has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948,” the UN’s official website informs. Incidentally, this is not Dr Subramaniam’s first time at the venue either.

Literary giants
>> Literature Live! Anil Dharker’s popular Mumbai LitFest (NCPA Oct 31 to Nov 4) promises to be five days of extraordinary gathering of extraordinary men and women, but a stand-out moment will be the Landmark Lifetime Achievement Award being given to Sir Vidia S Naipaul on the evening of October 31 at the Tata Theatre.

Mahasweta Devi, Sir VS Naipaul
Mahasweta Devi (right) Sir VS Naipaul

“Last year, the first year of the award, it was given to Mahasweta Devi,” recounted Dharker. “And when she was wheeled into the auditorium, the packed audience, in a completely spontaneous gesture, stood up and clapped and clapped till there were tears in Mahasweta Devi’s eyes. She gave a short and moving speech, said the award meant much to her, but what was even more important was the Rs 5 lakh prize it carried with it. ‘I will donate it to the slums I am working with’,” she said simply,” says Dharker. Somehow, this diarist doesn’t think Sir Naipaul (who is being flown in first class with Lady Naipaul) will choose another slum to give the award to. Just saying.

Not a leg to stand on!
>> We are of the opinion that no naming or shaming, no expose of financial irregularities, no exposure to hyper ventilating news anchors or gleeful Congressman can match the ignominy of BJP leader Nitin Gadkari having to squeeze in to a tight ill-fitting bush shirt and those … frankly words fail us!

BJP party president Nitin Gadkari
BJP party president Nitin Gadkari

Not only does Mr Gadkari possess the most hilarious pair of legs we have ever seen, but his expression of disgust at his own sartorial shame is etched all over his handsome face. This is a man who is not immune to a bit of vanity if his recent alleged interventions at weight loss, hair dye and pencil thin mooch are anything to go by. To rephrase Gandhi’s famous phrase: First they attack you, then they expose you, then you expose your legs, then they laugh at you!

No city for young girls
>> Bidushi Dash Barde is just the latest in a long line of young women who have met with untimely and tragic deaths in Mumbai. Rinki Chaudhary, Nafisa Joseph, Viveka Babajee, Monica Dutta, Pallavi Purkayastha are some of the others on that sad list. Girls who lived in Mumbai, with partners or alone, loved the independence and freedom the city afforded, enjoyed its zeitgeist attitude, its un-intrusive outlook, its chalta-hai charm and the stairway to heaven that it seemed to offer, but ultimately fell victim to it. There are too many such girls. And we need to sit up and collectively ensure that the litany of victims does not grow longer.

Bidushi Barde, Nafisa Joseph and Viveka Babajee
Bidushi Barde, Nafisa Joseph and Viveka Babajee

Talking to the parents of a dynamic 20 something who’d relocated from Delhi a month ago, we were brought up to speed about the actual lives girls like her live.

Not the lives we see in pubs and bars and launches and lounges. But the lives of heartless landlords and landladies, wolves at the door and fickle friends and fortune. “Every night I stay awake worrying about my daughter,” said the father. “I’ve come to hate your city. I wish my child would just leave it and return home,” he said. So, until we can ensure that his daughter and girls like her do not become a casualty in this wild and wanton metropolis of ours, perhaps it is time to declare that Mumbai is no city for young girls!

Gotta Go!
>> From Sylvie Dacunha humorist, wit and occasional contributor to this page, comes this wonderful ditty: (‘The Union Minister for Rural Affairs has advised young maidens to marry only those whose homes have a toilet.’) – News Item
‘A girl may bill and coo
With a handsome suitor who
Wants to be her groom.
But does he have a room
Which can be called a loo?
She needs a quiet nook
To sit and write a book.
An ideal venue
To plan a nice menu:
For dinner what to cook?’

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