>> These days, it’s hard to escape the Modi cheerleaders. No sooner had the dust settled on the Gujarat elections than his faithful flock of Mumbai supporters found a new stick to beat his opponents with.
At Ashok and Reena Wadhwa’s 25th anniversary party we found the normally garrulous Sunil Alagh, former Chairman of Britannia positively apoplectic with glee. “I was on TV last night and gave it right back to you self indulgent pseudo secularists,” he spewed. “There’s so much hypocrisy within you lot. Can’t you read the writing on the wall?”
Since at that very moment we were facing the hotel’s western view and the writing on the wall said ‘High Street Phoenix’ we did not think it was an adequate response for such an erudite discussion, so we stayed silent.
Only to be tapped on the shoulder by the Cambridge and Berkeley educated Rajesh Shah, co-chairman of Mukund. “You have to come to Gujarat to see the development that’s taken place,” said the good-looking son of Viren Shah. “It’s time people like you got off your high horses.”
Since at that moment far from any thing equine we were teetering on a pair of humble kohalapuris again we refrained from responding.
Finally when Shaina NC, BJP leader and an ardent Modi supporter, joined us on the dinner table and said, “There is an atmosphere of great celebration in Gujarat! People have got their just desserts,” and we were tucking in to the halwa and ice cream, we found ourselves in a position to respond.
So we said “Yes.”
Clear and present danger
>> So gentle readers, placing ourselves in the field of clear and present danger, right after attending the Wadhwas 25th anniversary celebrations we left early the next morning to attend Salman Khurshid’s and Dilip Cherian’s Christmas parties in Delhi.
Here’s what we found: all of Delhi had the same plan.
At the Cherians’, we met Sunanda Tharoor, Mira Nair, Barkha Dutt, Dumpy Ahmed, Suman Dubey and the extremely well read Ameeta Seth.
At the Khurshids’ we met all of the above and Nalini Singh, Pranay Gupte, LN Mittal, Suhel Seth and Rupika Chawla.
Between the two places we met Abha Narain, Suhel Seth, Suneet Verma and Mohit Gujral.
It was one of those typically Dilli afternoons. Dappled sunshine, vast lawns and the sound of a gathering storm nearby.
The Biz vs Economy Class Look
>> So, having recently had the opportunity to travel up and down the great Mumbai-Dilli air corridor, here are a few pithy observations: Years ago we had commented on the business class look: that barefaced look of smug entitlement which people seated in the front (more expensive part) of the aircraft get as they settle in to their seats.
Well, as purveyors of all manner of (useless) social trivia here’s a few more looks we’ve collected.
Squeezing in to our usual economy class seat we found ourselves surrounded by an alarming number of divas who appeared as if they belonged way ahead of their present positions: in business class with its extra leg room and extra smiling air crew.
But alas, because said divas were married to men who hardly deserved them and could not afford to fly them and their kids (and ayahs) in the style they were so abundantly deserving of — here’s a new look I discovered: the look of the long suffering, ‘we are way too good for the losers we married and when will Indians start using deodorants’ look.
As for the husbands of these prime divas: their look said only one thing — “help us God for we have erred.”
The Good Doctor Parikh
>> This week will witness a very special celebration when Mumbai’s distinguished Obstetrician and Gynecologist Dr Mahendra Parikh will turn 85 in the company of his family members.
“A hundred and thirty members of the extended family will gather from 9 cities in India and 5 cities in the US and Canada to meet at his hometown which he left almost 70 years ago to study and live in Bombay,” says his son the equally distinguished neuro psychiatrist Dr Rajesh Parikh.
“Dad is the eldest of 3 brothers and 3 sisters. The 3 sisters and 2 of their spouses are doctors. We are an extended family of 34 doctors,” said Parikh.
Known as a legend in his field, the elder Dr Parikh who has to his credit 75 scientific papers in Indian and foreign journals and has received the All-India Life Time Achievement Award of every Obstetric and Gynecology society of worth in the country is a sprightly octogenarian with a fond interest in world history, medical advances and philosophy.
“I have been fortunate to receive many awards in my life but this is the biggest honor of all for me,” he said about the imminent celebration.
Two parties and a protest
>> While at Dilip and Devi Cherian’s Christmas do at Lodhi restaurant on Sunday we ran in to Sagarika Ghose who along with a host of other worthies had been recently feted by her alma mater Stephens.
Sagarika looked a bit breathless. “I am coming directly from India Gate,” she said rolling her lovely Bengali eyes heavenward. “Things have gone pretty crazy with water cannons being used on the protestors! Our daughter’s one of them!”
The entire gathering that included Congress worthies like Manish Tewari and Abhishek Singhvi, were getting updates on the India Gate protest.
Meanwhile the statuesque Renuka Chowdhury had just one comment. “They should hand the rapists to me for just half an hour,” she said menacingly.
We suggested penectomies instead, and left her with that happy thought.