>> All’s not gloom and doom in Mumbai. One of the positive indications in the fragile communal environment of this city is the fact that the number of Iftaar parties is on the rise. Our friend the dapper top cop Javed Ahmed hosted one recently, as did the Delhi Darbar folks, and now we are looking forward to attending Upper Crust editor Farzana Contractor’s over the weekend, where in keeping with her strong secular traditions she has invited all her Muslim friends and families of Muslims! Since this description includes some of the city’s most distinguished people, it’s bound to be a great gathering. “I began hosting Iftaar parties four years ago after my Haj trip — and it’s a great way to meet and bond with friends,” says the foodie. “All the food is prepared at home, but for the biriyani we turn to ITC’s legendary Qureshi.” Ace lawyer Majid Memon who has been invited is also looking forward to it. “During the holy month of Ramzan, I look forward to attending Farzana’s Iftaar party because it helps Muslims and non-Muslims to meet, exchange their thoughts and a have a good gathering. In fact, Iftaar parties are on the rise.” We like!
The other Parmesh
>> Apart from sharing the same first name and their penchant for sporting extravagant headgear (read berets, tiaras, scarves) Parmesh Shahani, who heads the Culture lab for Godrej Industries and is an editor at large for Verve magazine has little in common with his famous namesake besides the company he now works for.
We ran into the affable Shahani who has developed certain Truman Capote flamboyance to his persona since we last worked with him at another newspaper. “I’ve moved completely to Vikhroli,” he said of his new job, which amongst other things attempts to ‘cross pollinate academic ideas within business mindsets’. “It’s all happening at Vikhroli these days.” Er, the other Parmesh might not agree.
>> We like nothing more than goss especially when it’s with a Maharajah of formidable lineage at a palace as big as a city. So when we were shooting the breeze with a swashbuckling ruler and he enquired with his tongue firmly in his cheek about Mumbai’s two ‘famous Maharanis,’ we couldn’t help chuckle.
According to our portly potentate, the two ladies in question have as much royal blood in them as an inkpot. “How on earth have they got away with all the airs and graces and titles they have given themselves?”
he fumed, “And how does Mumbai allow it?”
Mumbai’s gang of girls
>> We are very good at keeping secrets. So when Anu Ansari, leader of the gang of gorgeous girls (which includes Vandana Kasbekar and Elahe Hiptoola) informed us last Sunday that she and Vandana were going to fly down to Hyderabad to surprise Elahe on her birthday last Friday we kept it a secret. And from the looks of it, the surprise was worth it and gave way to a great celebration.
“Thank you all for making yet another birthday so spectacular!” the dynamic film producer posted on a social networking site. “A special shout to Nagesh, Anu Ansari, Vandana Kasbekar! Great weather, great food, great friends!” Of course, the GOGG presence was sorely missed by Mumbai’s hot spots during their Hyderabad sojourn!
Weapon of mass seduction
>> He’s known as one of the country’s most talented musicians, an endorser of world-class guitars and one-third of the Shankar-Ehsaan--Loy trio. So, what on earth was Ehsaan Noorani doing handling a weapon of mass destruction?
According to his publicist, it was on a patriotic field trip made for troop entertainment and interaction where the musician exchanged his guitar for a gun. Come to think of it, he’s holding the weapon not much differently than he holds his weapon of mass seduction.
The Osho Samadhi
>> In the coming weeks more is going to be heard of the storm brewing at the Osho ashram in Pune’s Koregaon Park where according to insiders ‘a handful of loyalists are intent on destroying the sanctity of Osho’s Samadhi for their own avarice.’ Media reports had alerted readers to the news of huge acres of prime property that belonged to the ashram being donated to the ‘Darshan Trust’.
At stake is the circular marble floored, marble walled bedroom of the Master and its majestic circular chandelier; recognised as Osho’s Samadhi where his followers were allowed to meditate silently. According to reports, the Osho International Foundation (OIF), which controls all of Osho’s properties, has been taking gradual steps to erase the significance of the Samadhi for his devotees over the last few years. Given the past acrimonious skirmishes that had broken out amongst his followers and the amount at stake, you can be sure that the issue is not going to go away in a hurry. Incidentally, we have seen the bedroom and it is a magnificent sight. We were particularly impressed by the state-of-the art futuristic looking dentist’s equipment and chair in the corner. Apparently, the master had his teeth attended to in private!