"He is actually my Tauji, my father's 92-year-old eldest brother," said Barkha Dutt, when we called her yesterday to enquire about the health of the person she calls her 'favourite person in the world', who is currently battling for his life in an ICU in Delhi.
"For all practical purposes, since I lost my own grandfather when I was 13, he has filled that role," she said about her ailing relative, whom she credits with her political smarts. "He was my link to politics and the freedom struggle," said the ace news anchor, adding, "And it was because of him that I got interested in the subject.
Barkha Dutt with her tauji
His own dad had been jailed in the freedom struggle and he himself had taken to wearing khadi and had been extremely politically aware. So, right from my childhood, it was he who had inspired me to choose political reportage as a career," she said.
But like his famous 'granddaughter', the grand old man was also distinguished by a doughtiness. "This morning, when he opened his eyes, the first thing he did, though he could barely say the words, was enquire about the Vasundhara Raje, Sushma and Modi case," she laughed fondly.
His mother's eye
The official engagement of Parth Jindal, son of Sangita and Sajjan, will take place later this month at the Taj's Crystal room, and is expected to be attended by the city's movers and shakers. As is known, the dashing young man had whisked his lady love off to an exotic locale and proposed to her in great style.
Sangita and Sajjan Jindal
"His eye for aesthetics and the detail with which he'd planned it all shows he's inherited his mother art eye for style," said an insider. "Even the card for the forthcoming event is particularly attractive and has been designed by Suhasini Kejriwal," said the source.
A candle for Sanjit
Last week, when Collette Austin, the lovely graphic designer and now maker of the best potions and lotions we know of, had said with a quavering voice that she'd been doing hospital duty for a dear friend who was very ill, we had not made the connection that it was TV actor Sanjit Bedi who tragically succumbed to an illness a few days later.
Rekha and Sanjit Bedi
When the penny dropped, we asked if she would pen her memories. Of him. Because, though we'd met Bedi only once, we had been struck by outpouring of genuine grief that had followed his untimely death. Would Austin recall this special person for our readers? "I met him and his lovely wife Rekha through common friends some years back and we became fast friends soon after," said Austin.
"Sanj was a family man, totally in love with his wife Rekha, and a devoted son-in-law. And the best pal a gal could get. He was stubborn, opinionated, and loved a good argument. But all was forgiven with one warm hug. Rekha was his rock. Her silent support of him, and her courage through the years and his brief illness was incredible," she said adding, "When we first met, I had no idea who he was, the famous Dr.
Omi of the popular TV series Sanjivani. But I caught on soon enough. We always magically got a table at crowded restaurants, were soon upgraded on flights, or a stammering, star-struck cab driver with saucer eyes willingly waited for us for hours without complaint," she said, adding, "I have not wrapped my head around the fact that my best friend, my hale and hearty 46-year-old BFF is gone."
To which we say: RIP Sanjit. Though we never knew you, the world is a sadder place to have lost someone like you. Why do the best go the soonest?
Life goes on
Sad news to report: two high-profile city engagements between young attractive and talented couples that have been written about in these pages have been called off.
The first between Nandini Singh, the vivacious and philanthropy-minded daughter of designer Kavita and industrialist Jasjit Singh, to Tariq, the dashing son of author Yasmin and tech tycoon Azim Premji has been called off.
No sooner had this sad news been received by friends and relatives, than another high-profile engagement, that of Samyukta, daughter of Madhu and Dinesh Nair of the Leela Hotel chain, with Xerxes, the son of top architect Noshir Talati, which had taken place in Venice, also bit the dust.
What's good, though, is that all concerned have moved on gracefully and there are no hard feelings all round. Said a society insider, "In today's world, no one bats an eyelid over a broken engagement. And given how resilient, resourceful, attractive and career-minded all concerned are, they are sure to settle down when the right time and person comes along."
Pulling his punches
More than his talent as a funny man, we are fans of Russell Brand's political activism, which is why when we heard that the British-born performer who played to a packed house in Mumbai had pulled his punches, we were saddened. "He's a magical entertainer in a league by himself, who is normally rebellious and wild.
Russell Brand. Pic/Getty Images and Faredoon (Dodo) Bhujwala
Unfortunately, he trod carefully in Bombay and played it safe and wisely, as we live in times of censorship and untruth, and as he kept reiterating that he didn't want to spend time in an Indian jail," said our friend Faredoon (Dodo) Bhujwala, himself one of the most talented and original performance artists in India. "I think he'd like to be back again," he said about Brand.