>> The first rains in Mumbai stirred the poet in many people. Our Facebook timeline was flooded by various friends suggesting different ways to greet the first showers: renditions of raga megh malhar, a reading of Eliot’s Wasteland (What the thunder said), listening to Eurythmics’ Here comes the rain again or Jose Feliciano’s Rain but the most apt suggestion was poet, musician Anand Thakore’s.
“No, not Kumarji’s Miyan-Malhar, not Bade Ghulam Ali’s Megh not even Amir Khan Saheb’s Ramadasi but o divinest melancholia — Mozart’s fantasy in D, welcoming the first rain washed morning of the year” he wrote. Incidentally, poetry lovers will be interested to know that Thakore released two books of poetry last week: Mughal Sequence and the enigmatically titled ‘Elephant Bathing’.
Building Brands with the Gurus
>> A little bird tells us that Pradeep Guha, who was unanimously re-elected as the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA) and who is the dynamo behind some of the country’s most successful media platforms across the print and television media is planning to give back to the advertising and marketing industry by creating special five day intensive workshops for young marketing executives.
“The workshops will seek to initiate young professionals in, brand building, account management and creative that will deal with issues of strategic thinking, idea generation and the soft skills required in this business,” his team informed us. “The first workshop will be held in Malaysia with some of the best names from the ad fraternity mentoring the young executives. This skills re-orientation initiative will definitely help the young ad executives and fresh graduates hone their skills for specific jobs in advertising.” When we called Guha (or PG as he is fondly referred to) to congratulate him yesterday, it happened to be his birthday. How are you celebrating this milestone we asked the man responsible for launching some of the biggest parties Mumbai has seen? “ I’m boarding a flight to Delhi,” he said. Perhaps a high tea with the Cabinet then?
>> For a certain type of well-heeled and discerning person New York’s chain of Serafina eateries was a kind of Mecca of sorts. Conceived when its owners Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato made a pact while they were lost at sea, it was launched in NYC in 1995 and soon became famous for its peerless thin crust pizzas and sumptuous salads and before one could say Pepperoni the franchise had expanded to more than half a dozen eateries across the US and one in Sao Paulo.
(The expansion didn’t confine itself to Italian alone but went on to Japanese Fusion with Geisha Table and fine French with Brasserie Cognac). Now, we learn in only the second outpost outside the USA, Serafina will launch in Mumbai at the Palladium where Mumbai’s young, restless and well heeled can get a taste of the real thing. We hear stomachs rumbling in anticipation already!
Get off that tree Mama!
>> We have heard of many wonderful ways that doting sons wish their mothers on their birthdays — but by far the sweetest has been maverick photographer and swashbuckling man about town Samar Jodha’s whose birthday greeting to his mama yesterday involved a tree:
“Happy birthday my dear mama on your 66th! Growing up, I hated so many bits about what to do and not to do but you laid the foundations to what I am today. You meeting dad and bringing me to this world was the best gift I ever got. Bless you mother like all the special mothers out there. Now please get off that tree!” And attached was a picture of his gorgeous mother high up on the branches of said tree! We like!
>> What can one say about a woman who lived life on her own terms, defied all stereotypes, had a heart as big as the universe, a laugh that matched and died way too young? Last week, a section of Mumbai paused in its step when Nutan Bajaj, restaurateur, entrepreneur spiritualist and bon vivant breathed her last when she lost her brave and well-fought battle against pancreatic cancer.
We had met Nutan a few years ago and were struck by her generosity of spirit and her infectious joie de vivre. Born in to a prosperous, hotel-owning family, she spent a considerable part of her childhood in Vishakhapatnam where her family owned a hotel and later studied at the Sophia College and then at a catering college, where she learned her skills in F&B. It was said that few people in her trade knew as much about the catering industry and Nutan could have gone on to many lucrative ventures but philanthropy became her passion and she spent her life trying to selflessly bring justice and joy to the underprivileged. A measure of Nutan’s vivacious personality are the poignant and heartfelt messages left on her Facebook wall by her legion of friends and admirers. We had heard Nutan was ailing but had no idea it was so far gone. Rest in peace Nutan, we shall miss you and never forget your laughter.