In praise of tea

>> This Tuesday saw us donning the hostess’s hat, when we hosted a High Tea for a few friends and tea aficionados, along with Anita Lal, creative director of The Good Earth at the Tasting Room at Raghuvanshi Mills. It was to celebrate Biku in Bali, the legendary teahouse, café and book shop in Seminyak, Bali, a great favourite of Anita’s.

The group enjoying High Tea at the Tasting Room

To launch the Good Earth Design Collection 2013-2014: Ratnakara, Gems of the Indian Ocean, Lal had invited the Biku team to design the High Tea experience, to afford Mumbaikars a taste of the magic of some rare and exotic teas, over a traditional High Tea, replete with scones, petite fours and cucumber and dill sandwiches! Sommelier Tjok De, a member of Indonesia’s royal family, tea master of Biku in Bali and founder of Tea Craft, the purveyor of the finest teas in Australia spoke about tea blends and varietals from all over the world, to a few select individuals, interspersed with tastings; while Lal regaled the group with tea lore.

Sommelier Tjok De explains the different varieties of tea

Did anyone know, for instance, that Earl Grey was named after the British ambassador to China, or that the ritual of serving tea in a pot was to assist frugal English hostesses to measure out the precious leaves personally, or that tea helps in fighting cholesterol and aids weight loss? The Good Earth High Tea is on everyday and is served amidst rich chintz fabrics, heirloom tapestries and rugs, elegant sofas, vintage photos and votive candles.

Bachi Karkaria and Anita Lad enjoy a laugh at the event. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

And the teas available amongst others sound more like poems than beverages: Darjeeling First Flush (bright floral notes and a refined muscatel aroma); Evening Breeze White Tea (orange blossom rose and almond, full of antioxidants for complexion and hair) and the evening’s highlight: Fragrant Earth, created specially for Good Earth, by Tjok De, invoking all the aromas of Asia rose, jasmine, bergamot orange blossom. Needless to say, we like!

Hats in the air!
>> They are easily one of Mumbai’s most beautiful couples and so, after 20 years of dating, when Ivana Perovic, CEO for the AP Group, the retail and distribution company for brands like Swarovski, Guess and Havaianas tied the knot with long-time beau Daniel Shah, avid kite–surfer and partner of Club Cubana, in Goa, naturally there were hats in the air and all round joy.

“The ceremony was held this Sunday, on our terrace with a few close friends — an intimate champagne get-together,” says Ivana, the daughter of a diplomat, originally from Belgrade, Serbia who has made Mumbai her home.

“We decided to finally get married and will now live between Mumbai and Goa,” says the happy bride.

Best face forward
>> That she is looking drop dead gorgeous is indisputable. But many who were greeted by this banker’s charming wife, looked right through her at a recent fashion show. Why? Well, in the words of one socialite, “She’s had so much work done on her face that she looked like a completely different person.” And now the race is on to discover who the surgeon with the magic fingers is. Expect a whole lot of new faces on the social scene soon.

The other Rahul
>> Khushwant Singh’s writer son Rahul may be a diehard Mumbaikar, but his Delhi roots are a thing of beauty and joy forever as is evident by his recent birthday celebrations. The author Bhaichand Patel organised a dinner at his flat in Delhi’s Sujan Singh Park over the weekend for Singh, attended amongst others by editor S Nihal Singh, filmmaker Ramesh Sharma, Suneet Aiyar, the writer wife of Congressman Mani Shankar Aiyar, his batchmate from his Cambridge days architect Romi Khosla, and his cousin Preminder Singh, scion of the Sir Soba Singh family.

Aveek Sarkar, writer Shivani Mohan from Dubai and Rahul Singh

This was followed up by a lunch hosted in his honour at the Oberoi’s 360, by his other long time friend, the author, columnist Pranay Gupte, which saw the legendary publisher of the ABP group Aveek Sarkar in attendance.

For someone who seems to be most content on the tennis court or at home with a few close friends, all this is certainly a departure for the nautical looking Singh who along with his charming partner Niloufer Billimoria will be hosting the second Khushwant Singh Literature Festival in Kasauli.

Salaam Mumbai:¬†Mumbai’s unofficial jungle grapevine
Privy as I am to the city’s secrets: that aggregate of its private misdemeanours, its unspoken gripes and its classified indiscretions, I am never ceased to be amazed by what a small village Mumbai really is.

Of course, I do not refer to the city’s geographical statistics when I say this. What I refer to is that bubble in which a certain section of people live, work, play, love and bitch each other out of existence.

I call it Mumbai’s unofficial jungle grapevine, constantly jangling with opinions, Judgements and crud about the latest scandal, to catch its interest.

This bubble has an ecosystem of its own: who hates whom and why, which group of people swears allegiance by and who are the keepers of the keys to the kingdom.

An outsider to this bubble cannot imagine how much goes on, let alone get their heads around its finer nuances.

Suffice to say, that it keeps its occupants completely absorbed. All day and all night the bubble never stops bubbling.

No wonder they say, the city never sleeps! 

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