How I wonder...

We have a pact with Twinkle Khanna: we get her to think up ideas for this column ('Put those formidable grey cells to work!' We said to her); and she gets to call us 'Aunty M'.

The aunty bit is 'coz her mother Dimple Khanna nee Kapadia had been in school with us at the St Joseph's Convent, Bandra; before Bobby happened to her; much before Rajesh Khanna happened. And here it comes: waaaay before Twinkle was a twinkle in her father's crinkled eye.

Twinkle Khanna
Twinkle Khanna

"I hate my name," said Twinkle to us when she called to invite us to her book launch (Mrs Funny Bones, Penguin) to be held at a suburban hotel tomorrow. "I mean, what was mom thinking?" We were going to say, her own parents called her Dimple, but we let it pass.

Dimple was one of our upright and sweet convent school's more illuminating presences. We'd bonded over rounds of Tuck and bouts of being punished for smoking in the loo. ("Hail Mary! Full of grace…") After school we'd lost touch, except socially.

We spoke about this with Twinkle when she'd called us last week. Oddly enough, losing touch with her mother had been followed by a longish spell of an itinerant telephonic friendship with her famous dad. Somehow, he'd begun to call us when we'd returned to Mumbai in the Nineties.

His calls would come mostly on Thursdays, the day our column 'Salaam Mumbai' then in the Bombay Times, which we happened to be editing, appeared. Being a well-read man, Rajesh Khanna would speak to us in that celebrated, deliciously fruity voice of his, about Life! Books! Family! And Films!

Then, as suddenly as they'd begun, the calls had ended. And now, almost two decades later we were sharing this strange story with his daughter. "We never met him," we found ourselves emphasizing, so as not to make her think there had been anything more than two ships crossing.

We found it intriguing that after all these years; we had found it so important to underline the chasteness of the engagement. But we oughtn't to have worried. For such is Twinkle's ("Promise you will always call me Tina") inherent sophistication and God-given candour that she is probably one of the freest thinkers we have today and least bothered about old-fashioned notions.

Her column, Mrs Funny Bones, which employs an arsenal of humour ranging from the spiky quip to the barbed allusion to the 'Har har har' zany pun, to puncture such topics as misogyny, pretension, regression and hypocrisy have become the toast of readers.

To cut to the chase, Twinkle/Tina shared the flow of tomorrow's book launch: "First Karan Johar will do a Koffee with Karan with me, complete with a rapid fire round," she said, "which is going to be fun, because I've never done his show. Then we have a Hot Seat."

"And the first person on it will be my gynaecologist Dr Sheriyar, followed by Aamir Khan, followed by Akshay and then - best of all - my mom! All talking about different aspects of me," she said. "Sound great!" We'd said, "We will be there." It was only after we put down the phone that we wondered: Why the gynaecologist? Perhaps they want the topic to be more 'dilated'? Har har har!!!

Season of Couplings
The past few days were witness to two young and high profile couplings. Kanishk, son of former union minister Shashi Tharoor, married Amanda Calderon in New York last weekend.

Kanishk Tharoor and Amanda Calderon
Kanishk Tharoor and Amanda Calderon

Kashishk is a noted writer and journalist in his own right, who is based in New York. The second was the coming together of two leading SoBo families.

Sarjan Shah and Aishwariya Mariwalla
Sarjan Shah and Aishwariya Mariwalla

Sarjan Shah of the real estate company 'Group Satellite' got engaged to Aishwariya Mariwalla at the Umaid Bhavan Palace hotel in Jodhpur. Sarjan is currently mid programme at Harvard Business School. We wish both couples well.

The economy's a beach
The phenomena of the beach house is as good a dipstick of our economy as any. Years ago, the beach house near Mumbai was always the 'Company Guest House', available to all the top echelons of corporate entities.

Ayaz Memon and Cyrus Broacha
Ayaz Memon and Cyrus Broacha

Slowly, in the seventies this changed: rather than share their getaways with employees, industrialists began to build or acquire second homes of their own on nearby beaches.

But post liberalisation in the nineties, many professionals have homes across the water. Top doctors like Rohit Barman and Anirudh Kohli, journalists like Ayaz Memon and stand-up comics like Cyrus Broacha have found their place in the sun. And about time too, we say!

Oldest trick
Oh dear, the Oolong tea-drinking, real estate-tracking society hostess was beside herself. "Darling it's the oldest trick," she said. "Huh?" we said. Her calls came at the oddest time and often her train of thought had left the station without her. "The oldest trick of these real estate guys! Cut a deal with a cricketer or film star to sell them a luxury apartment cheap.

Then get some phookat publicity out of the sale by inflating not only the price by a few zeros but also the star/cricketer's ego and hey presto you've got yourself many other suckers to buy at the inflated made up rate. Tchhah," she said sputtering a mouthful of tea even as she hung up the call. But not before saying, "Bearer, ek duster jaldi lao, please."

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