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Guess who's coming to lunch?

>> Whereas the official meetings of Spain’s King Juan Carlos who arrived last night in Mumbai are well known (Governor K Sankaranarayanan and CM Prithviraj Chavan, amongst others) this diarist has got hold of a list of the captains of industry who have a date with the European monarch, and we are happy to see that it’s quite an eclectic group which includes business leaders include: Shashi Ruia, Ashok Hinduja, Analjit Singh, K Ramchand, Naresh Goyal, Nikhil Meswani, Rahul Bajaj, Arvind Thakur, Madhukar Kotwal, Atul Punj, Rahul Puri, Rakesh Bakshi, Ishaat Hussain and Dr Rajiv Lall.

King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia of Spain
King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia of Spain

These gentlemen will be lunching with at the Taj where they will be treated to some of Hemant Oberoi’s finest.

Ashok Hinduja and Naresh Goyal
Ashok Hinduja and Naresh Goyal

Opening for Santana
>> We dropped into the Blue Frog on Tuesday night where Indus Creed front man Uday Benegal’s acoustic trio Whirling Kalapas was playing. Though super special guest Ranjit Barot slated to play on drums and vocals did not show, the evening was rewarding enough with the gentle sounds of Benegal’s harmonies, Mahesh Tinaikar’s super rendition of April come she will and the band’s great version of Norwegian Wood that got the crowd humming along.

Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana

As for Indus Creed opening for Santana this Friday, Benegal was suitably chuffed. “It’s a tremendous honour to open for Santana,” he told us. “Especially since I’ve grown up listening to him.” How so? “When I was eight or nine-years-old my father who was really a classical music buff had in his collection some odd rock albums and one of those was that famous Santana one with the lion’s head cover in black and white which I listened to over and over again. Then when I heard him at Woodstock doing Soul Sacrifice I was completely bowled over. I recall being able to sing along with the lyrical drum solo!” laughed Benegal.

Uday Benegal
Uday Benegal

So what’s Indus Creed going to perform at their one-hour gig? “I guess we’ll do stuff from our new album Evolve but also lots of our old classics, which Bangalore audiences are familiar with,” he said. As for his favourite Santana song, Benegal says it’s hard to choose, “But I’m definitely one of his old school fans,” he admitted. “Stuff like Supernatural and after I haven’t really followed!”

A Starbucks near you
>> Whereas the Indian reception to Starbucks has taken even the most ardent fans of the coffee chain by surprise, for its promoters the queues outside the newly opened store at the Elphinstone building at Horniman square is only par for the course. After all, six years of research have gone in to its entry and obviously the data collected has indicated that unlike its international laid back image of yuppie schlep and traveller watering hole, in India the store’s patrons would be far more discerning about the ambience they drank their favourite beverage in.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

Hence, Howard Schultz’s statement about his latest outpost: “It is perhaps the most elegant, beautiful, dynamic store we've opened in our history.” Elegance, beauty and flagship quarters appear to have dictated the company’s plans to open another store at the Oberoi at Nariman Point. But what does one say to a Taj watcher who swears that the construction work being undertaken currently at the Zegna store situated at the Taj’s eastern region is going to be the international coffee chain’s Mumbai outpost? “Think about it, with its own entry point and excellent location, wouldn’t that be the obvious place to house a Starbucks in Colaba?” said an observer. Let’s wait and watch.

Ravan and the soap queen
>> She’s always been something of an enigma and prided herself on her political incorrectness. Which is why Ekta Kapoor’s posts on Ravan yesterday took no one by surprise.

Ekta Kapoor
Ekta Kapoor

Under the handle EkmainaurEktu7, the queen of soap had quite a mouthful to say on the mythological villain — most of it in syntax and grammar that had not seen a spellcheck in years! “Today I celebrate the life n not d death of RAVAN d all consuming urge of passion, of human desire, d madness n gut to challenge d GODS, the knowledge n d follies of d grEatest villain! Who created his own waterloo n like a moth to a flame marched to his own distruction!” she said, adding “Even today RAVAN remains d most intelligent n knowledgeable characters... in mythology. His biggest legacy besides d example he made of his life n death is his book LAL KITAAB tat even today has d best remedies to any astrological problems. He was a SHIV BHAKT! N had earnd immortality! but for human weakness. arrogance n desire...tat catch up wid even d smartest! Some say RAVAN wanted death at d hands of d GODS n orchestrated it all. Some say he knw his end but was blinded by desire, pride n revenge!” What brought on this diatribe? The lady who is famously shy of interviews was unavailable for comment.

Old hands new haunts
>> Nice to see old Oberoi hand, the dapper Rajeev Kaul who now heads the rival Leela group’s operations in Mumbai at his old domain of work the Trident on Wednesday. The dapper gent had dropped in to the BBC’s Good Homes event.


Rajiv Kaul and (right) Farhat Jamal

Speaking of which fans and friends of old Taj hand Farhat Jamal are looking eagerly forward to his soon to be launched Shangri-la hotel in Mumbai. 

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