>> Whatever else you might say of the man you can’t help commenting on Vijay Mallya’s lifestyle indulgences which far outstrip those of most billionaires with bigger bank balances.
Here’s a picture we were sent of the beleaguered tycoon recently shot with his twin-engine chopper, which he uses for his UK operations. Its registration number GI –VJM clearly indicating that he’s a high roller even on foreign shores.
This Diamond never rusts
>> When all else fails to edify and inspire the spirit, we remember Joan Baez, the legendary folk singer, songwriter, musician and human rights activist. Baez’s life and career never fails to inspire us. She stood strong in her beliefs, did not sell out even when her career was under threat and she showed us that dignity and beauty are worth living and fighting for.
We can think of few artists of this generation who compare. Yes, there are the dulcet voiced Adeles, the in-your-face Madonnas, the bootylicious Rihannas — and their music is lovely too. But for sheer human courage and stature there are few performers who come close to Joan Baez. Beginning her career as an occasional singer in the coffee houses around Boston where she was part of the underground anti-war student protests, she achieved recognition at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival and her first three albums, Joan Baez, Joan Baez Vol 2, and Joan Baez in Concert went on to become hits staying on the charts and in people’s hearts for a long time. There was a time when we would listen to these albums and her voice full of hope and promise as she sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic or Donna Donna or Just a little Rain, which she aptly called the gentlest protest song ever written.
Her Diamonds & Rust, said to be a lament on her brief tempestuous relationship with Bob Dylan, is an all time classic. And it is hard to decide which song between Farewell Angelina, Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word, Joe Hill, and her cover of We Shall Overcome is the most rousing. Wherever there’s been a cause that requires a strong voice to fight against injustice you can be sure Baez will be there.
And in her fifth decade as a performer activist she was there singing at the Occupy Wall Street protests.
And so, yesterday when we came across this picture of a very young Joan Baez at Woodstock talking with Ravi Shankar we thought it worthy of sharing. Two of those eras’ iconic musicians.
We wish that we could have been a fly on the wall during that natter. Wonder what they were saying.
Stalin and TedX Gateway
>> Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate is fast attaining the currency that Oprah Winfrey’s program had: people who appear on it gain instant recognition and credibility. Last week, when we watched Indian documentary filmmaker, media and human rights activist Stalin K on the show on unsociability, we were reminded of the standing ovation he received when he spoke at TedX Gateway, last November at the NCPA, which we had attended.
Yashraj S Akashi, curator, TED Gateway who has been so passionate about the TED platform that he applied for a licence for an independently organised TED conference in Mumbai is not surprised by Stalin’s continued impact. “He received three standing ovations and Twitter was flooded with comments and links to his work,” says Akashi. “Me and my colleague Deepika Malla knew a few nights before that his talk would be impactful — every image and video he showed was an eye-opener — and going by the response he elicited we were right!”
Ring around the roses!
>> It was bound to happen. So exquisite are Sonal Shah of Bageecha’s (the upmarket florist to the who’s who of South Mumbai) arrangements that not only is she asked to come up with more and more fantastic displays but on many occasions, hostesses even ask her unknowingly to copy her own work.
A recent incident demonstrates Mumbai’s eagerness to possess the wow factor. “A client brought me a photograph of ‘a look’ they wanted me to create for their event, “says Sonal.
“And I was shocked to see it was the image of an event I did at Tote! Don’t know where they got that image from, but I’m flattered that someone wanted me to copy me!” smiles the graceful florist, aesthete and writer.
>> Not all-breaking news about Mumbai’s nightlife concerns an angry man with a hockey stick we are happy to report. Last week, at Café Zoe guests were treated to the ‘awwww’ factor (as opposed to the ouch!) when Kelden Patel, 6-month-old son of the partner chef Viraf Patel’s son tried his own version of cupcakes.
“A cream-cheese cupcake takes a beating at Café Zoe! Kelden –1, Café Zoe’s cupcake-0,” is how his doting father described the episode. Is Kelden preternaturally gifted as a chef given that both his parents mom Prakriti and Viraf are maestros of the kitchen? “Well,” says Viraf, “He sits by himself. Learning about food — loves dark and fine chocolates and truffles. And refuses to acknowledge any preserved or packaged food.” A food snob at 6 months? Interestingly, Kelden means ‘presence’ in Tibetan and he’s already making his presence felt. We like! “It was the ultimate compliment!” she smiles. Here’s a picture of her arrangement that created the incident.