Sangita Jindal
Sangita Jindal

"I thought why don't we enjoy some poetry in the rain?" said art patron Sangita Jindal, about Kavitawala, an evening featuring the poems of renowned Marathi poet Hemant Diwate, editor, publisher, and one of India's most translated poets. To be held this evening, Diwate will be in conversation with Art India editor Abhay Sardesai.

What is unique about this evening's offering is that it will be hosted at the Seven Island's Cafe, nestled on the ground floor of the stately Jindal Mansion at Pedder Road. "This is the first of many such events. The place is so lovely and I thought after office hours why not create a space for cultural discussions and readings where we can invite people for stimulating events?" Jindal said.

Besides presenting cultural evenings like this evening's Jindal also hopes to support the arts by allowing artists to present their works at the Cafe. "There is a need for a cultural hub in this side of town" she says. "And Seven Islands Cafe is our way of filling that gap." Nice!

The Marathoner
There's something to be said about the confluence of Tam Bram ethics with Parsi credo. ever since Natarajan Chandrasekaran's appointment as Chairman Tata Sons under the aegis of Ratan Tata, the impassioned marathoner appears to have paced himself at a winning clip without a misstep. Or so the corporate grapevine informs.

Natarajan Chandrasekaran
Natarajan Chandrasekaran

"Not only has he filled the gaps in many top positions within the group which were long been awaited, the most notable which was the group's CFO's" says an avid Bombay House observer, "But he has also, in the six months since he's taken over, already sold of some non core businesses like fertiliser besides consolidating the shareholding portfolio."

The corporate insider added, "But, of course, given the vitiated atmo in Bombay House corridors, the Chairman's most significant contribution has been the lifting of morale." How so?

"By ensuring that those who did not subscribe to the Tata values were shown the door," he said, glancing over his shoulder nervously. "In fact, news of another prominent goodbye is expected for someone who has recently attracted poor notice for a recent purchase." Goodbye as in 'Tata'? We asked sweetly.

The best of the best
It's considered something of a Holy Grail of hospitality, when Travel and Leisure magazine invites its readers world wide 'to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe and to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more'.

Rajiv Kaul
Rajiv Kaul

Readers rate hotel brands on their locations, rooms and facilities, food, service, and overall value; and so hotly contested is this rating that even a decimal point can make all the difference. So, this year when not one, but two Indian hotel brands The Oberoi Hotels & Resorts and The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts made it in the top 10 of 2017’s World’s Best Hotel Brands, it tipped the odds. “Yes, we are especially proud of both groups making it amongst the best of the best” says Rajiv Kaul, president of the Leela hotels. “Remember, though it is a world wide reader poll, it’s relatively easier for those chains like the Six Senses and the Aman which have far more properties world wide and therefore what we call touch points for reader’s experiences, than we do, especially in the USA where the majority of readers reside” he says. “That’s what makes the two Indian inclusions that much more significant.”

So as of now, along with the Six Senses ( at number one) and the Peninsula number seven) two Indian hotel chains take pride
of place.

Which brings us to the obvious question: what om earth accounts for the complete exclusion of India’s largest group of luxury hotels with its 83 hotels across India and 16 abroad? Just Sayin'.

Street smart
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the thing top stars say they miss most of all when they get famous, is to eat 'pani puri from the street.'

(From left) Mana, Gulshan Grover and Suneil Shetty
(From left) Mana, Gulshan Grover and Suneil Shetty

So when we saw this photograph of actor Suneil Shetty along with wife Mana and Gulshan Grover, newly arrived in New York, sitting happily on a sidewalk eating the city's legendary street served chicken and rice, we were not surprised. After all anyone will tell you that 53rd street between Manhattan's 6th and 7th avenue serves a dish that easily compares with pani puri in the drool worthy stakes.

Called 'Halal Guys', the vendor has become a tourist attraction, and due to his popularity, has even managed to recently get funding to open a chain of restaurants predicated on his success across America. "Can't miss a meal at The Halal Guys when at NYC! enjoying every bite with wifey," commented Suniel.

Hair raisin' tales
"What can we do it's in the hair," laughed firebrand author Rana Ayyub about her dinner with director Pooja Bhatt on Wednesday night. "She was referring to their mutual agreement that the reason for their bonding lay in their tresses.

Pooja Bhatt and Rana Ayyub
Pooja Bhatt and Rana Ayyub

The two women had met through Pooja's dad, producer director Mahesh Bhatt, whom Ayyub has been close to for a while. "He's a confidante, my therapist, and my daddy from another birth." she says, adding, "And in fact the first person to read the Gujarat Files manuscript. I still remember how after the first two chapters he put it down and said 'I just don't know how you've managed to do this.'"

As for Pooja, known for her outspokenness and zany approach to things, she says "Some people are born to play it safe, others are born to live it wild! ever since I saw her in Dil hai Ke Manta Nahin, and decided not to straighten my hair, she's been an inspiration!" As for the chances of Ayyub's path-breaking book being turned into film? "I would not rule it out," she says. "Anything is possible."