India's Mr Tiger

We have known the brilliant investment banker, Hemendra Kothari for a while; once described by Forbes as India's 'Mr. Tiger,' Kothari, the chairman of DSP BlackRock, has divided his responsibilities equally between his work, his family (his lovely daughter Aditi tied the knot recently this year), and his passion the conservation of India's wildlife.

Hemendra Kothari and Bittu Sahgal
Hemendra Kothari and Bittu Sahgal

Not only has he pledged over R 50 crores of his personal wealth towards this, but he has also set up the Hemendra Kothari Foundation and The Wildlife Conservation Trust, with the sole purpose of uplifting the living conditions of underprivileged communities near 82 tiger reserves.

And this Friday, Kothari will be present at the annual Sanctuary Wildlife Awards at the NCPA, which has been sponsored by DSP BlackRock and is an initiative by Sanctuary's founder Bittu Sahgal, to recognize and honour the best in the field of wildlife conservation in India. "It's that one night in the year when wildlife lovers come together to acknowledge each other's struggles and achievements, and more importantly, to celebrate the achievements of others," said the impassioned conservationist.

"Awards will be given to a 25-year-old woman who tracks tigers, a couple who has shaped Goa's fight against unethical mining, a man who started a free nature school for rural children on the edge of a tiger reserve...and so many more," Sahgal said. "These men and women are the backbone of India's ecological security, and deserve to be recognized as the heroes that they are."

Men do cry
It's not often that you see grown men cry and certainly not swashbuckling A grade cricket stars.

Rohit and Ritika Sharma
Rohit and Ritika Sharma

But that's exactly what happened according to sources, when during his rocking sangeet last week, the cricketer Rohit Sharma's to-be father-in-law, Bobby Sajdeh had walked up to the stage and movingly requested Sharma to take care of his daughter in future.

Apparently there was many a moist eye, including Sharma's when he gallantly promised to honour the request. Sweet.

Promises to keep
We love Goa-based designer Wendell Rodricks' cryptic social media posts.

Manohar Parrikar and Wendell Rodricks
Manohar Parrikar and Wendell Rodricks

Unlike many of his peers, Rodricks has a worldview and his interests go beyond the world of sartorial splendor, Which is why Rodricks gentle, but biting critique of politicians, and the promises they make (and do not keep) caught our attention: "Before he moved to Delhi, our friend Manohar Parrikar promised a garbage free Goa by 15th December 2015," posted the designer, adding laconically yesterday, "That day has passed. Just saying." We wonder what Parrikar has to say in his 'defence' to that.

Gratitude for India's brave hearts
Yesterday marked Vijay Diwas, the 44rth anniversary of India's victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war and the subsequent liberation of Bangladesh.

Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Group Captain KP (Ken) Misra, on her  post-war visit to the Hashimara base to express gratitude
Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Group Captain KP (Ken) Misra, on her  post-war visit to the Hashimara base to express gratitude

And as expected, there were tributes and remembrances throughout the country. One such was that of our friend, Deepa Harris,' the hospitality expert, whose father, Group Captain KP (Ken) Misra, had been the Commanding Officer of Hashimara, the air force base in North Bengal which had played a critical role in tilting the war in India's favour.

Deepa and Colvyn Harris
Deepa and Colvyn Harris

"There could not have been a better bunch of war heroes in one place," recalled Harris of those turbulent times, "including future Air Chief Marshal, (at that time Wg Cdr) SK Kaul, who was awarded the MVC for leading attacks into East Pakistan at grave danger to his life, and Future Air Marshal KC Cariappa, who had commanded a helicopter squadron from here."

She added, "I'm so proud to be the daughter of a father who was at the forefront of every war for his country, and my mother, who never left his side, playing her own role in emotionally supporting pilots and their families or ensuring they were fed if the Mess chefs were missing in action."

In celebration of ' Ponkh'.
Along with yuletide, a chill in the air and 'ho ho ho,' any one in Maharashtra knows that December is the season of 'ponkh'. And who better to introduce the tender green jowar/sorghum delicacy to readers, than our friend Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi. "Ponkh was introduced to me by the Gujarati side of my family," she said.

Ponkh
Ponkh

"Every winter I buy a couple of kilos from Chheda Stores, which I stock up in sealable pouches in the freezer, and steam in small portions whenever I crave some throughout the year," she said. And here's the way Sanghvi serves it : "with black pepper, sev and sugar balls, tossed with a squeeze of lime and a smidgen of tender garlic chutney.' She said, "Each bite is all sorts of fun sensations – crunch, chew, tang, spice, and sweetness."

Looking a gift horse...
Knowing how thin society's skin can be, we disapprove of any kind of social segmentation at parties: this includes two tiered parties and even place tags at sit downs (which clearly reveal the host's ranking of the importance of those invited).

However, we think that those worthies currently at a beach resort to celebrate the birthday of a high profile (and generous) gent, are being needlessly sensitive when they crib about their boarding arrangements. "We have been put up at the resort's premier hotel," reported one from the site, "But we've heard that those who've been booked into another hotel are not too happy about it." Tch Tch, what's that about looking a gift horse in the mouth?

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