It's not rocket science

And even as the country's biggest talking heads and policy wonks have put on their finest expressions of gravitas and are busy trying to give FinMin advice on his forthcoming budget to our mind the most valuable bon mots have emerged from the lips of our friend and former editor at Business Standard Dr Sanjaya Baru, whose book The Accidental Prime Minister till date is the most incisive look at the UPA's undoing.

Dr Sanjaya Baru
Dr Sanjaya Baru

"All the advice Arun Jaitley needs for budget making can be summarized in five proverbs," says Baru. "Well begun is half done; A stitch in time saves nine; Money does not grow on trees; Penny wise, pound foolish; You cannot have your cake and eat it too!" he says, adding, "He should have thought of the first two in July 2014!"

As for his book: "It's doing well. Still at No. 2 for non-fiction, next to Sachin Tendulkar's," says the Delhi insider, currently Director for Geo-economics and Strategy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
"More and more Congress leaders who have read the book are now calling to say I got it all right."

Indeed.

Taking to philanthropy
Indian business leaders are not really seen to top any of the world's philanthropy lists or follow in the footsteps of Bill and Melinda Gates or Warren Buffett when it comes to giving back. So, it's nice to hear that its younger generation is addressing this issue.

Keshav Reddy
Keshav Reddy

Recently Keshav Reddy, entrepreneur and scion of the GVK conglomerate (he is the son of Sanjay and Pinky Reddy) visited various orphanages with meals for the inmates. It all began on Republic day this year, when Reddy took to Twitter to announce that as a Republic Day Special, for every retweet of his post, he would feed one person outside the Siddhivinayak temple from his first pay cheque.

Following the popularity of this message, which saw a staggering 2,500 retweets, the young businessman kept his word, as demonstrated in his update. "Since I was unable to find 2,500 people at one place, I have decided to break it up into smaller groups." He posted and followed that up with, "Fed 250 girls at an orphanage in Thane. Superb organisation running from the last 42 years".

A source close to him says he will now be visiting different charities in the city till it adds up to the number of retweets!

Nice!

Is Raj in the house?
They are known to be close, so when visiting stand up comic Russell Peters specifically asked if 'Raj was in the house?' at his performance on Sunday night at the NSCI and received no confirmation that the businessman Kundra was indeed in attendance, it could only mean one thing: the former owner of the Rajasthan Royals was lying low so as not to attract a wisecrack his way.

Shilpa Shetty, Russell Peters and Raj Kundra
Shilpa Shetty, Russell Peters and Raj Kundra

After all, everyone knows that the collateral damage at shows like these is that one becomes fair game for a funny crack. "No celeb likes to be identified," says one Peters fan. "If he spots you, you're the fall guy!" A lesson Kundra and wife Shilpa must have well noted, given that they released pics of themselves with Peters from backstage taken later that same evening.

Art kerfuffle
You know a city's on its way to urbanity when a few delicious la-di-dah art skirmishes threaten to disturb the pallor of its politeness and protocol.

Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

And so, when word comes in that two celebrated art mavens, both women of considerable clout and cred who sit on the board of one of Mumbai's best known museums, are in a kerfuffle over a recent exhibition, you can be sure that the fur is flying in the right direction.

It all began when the museum decided to go with a supposedly 'populist' art and sport exhibition, which according to one of the women, played to the gallery a bit too obviously; an opinion which she voiced to many of her supporters.

Stung by this critique, her peer took to voicing her opinion on the schism between those who stuck to the old order of established curators and artists and those who favoured the young and emerging. "Why shouldn't the museum throw its weight behind young ideas and champion younger artists and curators?" she questioned in an interview to an art magazine.

Why indeed not, say insiders: the exhibition, for all its youthful pedigree is said to have attracted the highest footfall in recent years. "Fifteen thousand visitors," as a source says. In the room the women come and go…

Webzine on wine
One more person to enter the food and wine web space - said to be one of the fastest growing enterprises in the virtual world - is our friend Sonal Holland, Founder and CEO of the Sonal Holland Wine Academy, who has launched her webzine Sonal Holland Wine TV with a feature on the Sula Fest 2015.

Sonal Holland
Sonal Holland

Married to high profile investment banker Andrew, the former Oberoi Hotels executive, she also doubles up as Divisional Wine & Beverages Head & Custodian at ITC Limited - Hotels Division, and says her newest initiative is to empower viewers with cutting-edge information on wines - both Indian and International.

"We hope to be the preferred destination for wine education, wine reviews, wine stories and world-class wine experiences," says the enterprising F&B entrepreneur who is seen schmoozing with various invitees and organisers at the recently concluded bacchanal in Nashik in her curtain raiser. "The full version video will be out soon," she says.

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