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JLF's dazzling line-up

Retraction: This column carried an item titled ‘The Pope and Patrick’ on Tuesday. It was not endorsed by Patrick San Francesco, the person referred to in the piece. The information gathered for it was from our sources, and Mr San Francesco was unaware of its publication.

And from the desk of William Dalrymple, self-styled goatherd and celebrated historian, novelist, traveller and possessor of a promising new growth on his chin: the much awaited line-up for the Jaipur Literature Festival to be held from January 21-25, 2015: “My international list for Jaipur Literature Festival ‘15 is shaping up nicely,” he said recently about the festival, which he has founded and nurtured to great success along with writer Namita Gokhale.

William Dalrymple. PIC/Karoki Lewis Mark Haddon. PIC/GETTY IMAGES 
William Dalrymple. Pic/Karoki Lewis, Mark Haddon and Hanif Kureishi. Pics/Getty Images

“In the last few days we’ve had acceptances from: V S Naipaul, Paul Theroux, Hanif Kureishi, Alberto Manguel, Mark Haddon, Damon Galgut, Eleanor Catton, Nicholson Baker, Elizabeth Gilbert, Akhil Sharma, Kevin Powers, Will Self, Christos Tsoilkas, Bettany Hughes, Tom Holland, Nicholas Nassim Taleb, Simon Armitage, Ahmed Rashid, Christina Lamb, Anatol Lieven, Peter M Sacks, Jorie Graham, Linda Colley, Gilbert King, Kate Summerscale, Charles Glass, Deepti Kapoor, Peter Bergen, Clare Wright, Sahar Delijani, Laila Lalami, Adam Thirlwell, Fady Joudah, Daud Ali, Mark Gevisser, Walter M Spink, Adam LeBor, Peter Frankopan, Molly Aitken and Helon Habila. And a provisional yes from Noam Chomsky, Ben Macintyre, Michael Cunningham and Jeanette Winterson.” Needless to say, not only do we like, but we’re going!

Wealthy and nice
And notwithstanding the flash, dash and preening of the rest, according to the One Who Knows, the two most successful (and wealthy) Indian designers by far are perhaps two of the shyest and most gentle: the soft-spoken and erudite Sabyasachi Mukherjee, and the sweet-natured and gentle Manish Malhotra.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee Manish Malhotra
Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Manish Malhotra

According to fashion insiders, their business models are not only rock solid, but extremely profitable, too. The middle-class Bengali boy and the middle-class Punjabi munda, both of whom are unpretentious and proud of their roots? Perhaps, the meek shall inherit the earth after all.

Some weekend cheer
Things seem to be looking up for Mumbai’s young and restless; and even though deadlines have remained strict post the elections, mercifully, it hasn’t stopped international DJs and artistes from visiting the city.

Last Friday saw Blue Frog packed to the rafters for trance DJ Talamasca, and this Friday it can only get better when the charming and talented duo GMS (aka Growling Mad Scientists who, believe it or not, we have partied with a few years ago) has been brought down by Third Eye Records to play at Tilt.

If that’s not enough, international artist Sesto Sento will be performing on the same night at the neighbouring Blue Frog. And homegrown DJ Shaan, son of Percept’s head honcho Shailendra Singh, will also be bringing in his birthday with a gig in Bandra to celebrate his inclusion as the first Indian to play at Tomorrowland festival!

Slim chance of deplaning
‘Flying to Acapulco with @pooja__shetty & @carlosslim to see the work being undertaken by his foundation’, tweeted erstwhile South Mumbai MP and musician Milind Deora, along with a picture of his wife, the attractive producer Pooja, alongside one of the world’s richest men Carlos Slim, the Mexican business magnate, investor, and philanthropist, on what looked like the latter’s private jet.

Milind Deora Carlos Slim
Milind Deora and Carlos Slim. Pic/AFP

From 2010 to 2013, Slim was ranked the richest person in the world, but even though Bill Gates regained the position this year, proximity to him is no small potatoes. But, such is the nature of Twitter that this piece of news was met with the usual scepticism and critique that the site has come to be known for, with people weighing in about the party Deora belongs to, etc.

However, the randomness of the forum was demonstrated by this tweet that caught our eye. ‘Prize Spectacular: U earned a spot to our $10,000 contest (I kid u not!).’ said the obviously spam post. ‘Click on our link 2 redeem.’ A more inappropriate response to a tweet about spending time with the world’s richest man we cannot imagine. Somehow, we doubt very much that Deora would deplane to collect his ‘prize’!

Raja Dhody Rahul Gandhi Suhel Seth
Raja Dhody, Rahul Gandhi and Suhel Seth

Reality Bites
And whereas friends of middle-aged man about town, Raja Dhody, have rallied around with TLC and concern, following his post on a social networking site, alluding to his love life going pear-shaped, (‘Chilling in phuketttt...Needed the break after one of the most disastrous and probably the worst relationship of my life’), trust the other middle-aged man about town, Suhel Seth, to inject some humour and a reality bite to the situation: “Raja: when you feel like this,” he said, “think of Rahul Gandhi. And smile. He’s worse off...:)” he said. Ouch!

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