>> Saturday night saw us ensconced at the newly restored spectacular Reis Magos Fort in Goa in the company of Governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo and a host of Goa’s distinguished residents including industrialist Raj Salgaonkar and his wife art patron Dipti for an evening in tribute of the late Mario Miranda, one of Goa’s tallest citizens.
Vinod Mehta legendary editor and great friend of Miranda, as well as of Behram (Busybee) Contractor was recounting stories of days gone by. “We used to meet often at Behram and Farzana’s one room residence at the top of Kemps Corner” he recounted with affection. “There was an Irani restaurant on the ground floor, and every time Behram needed a soda sent up he would knock politely on a wall and a few minutes later we’d hear an acknowledging knock,” he said to much audience delight and laughter.
“Actually, it was a bell” whispered Berham’s wife, the spunky Farzana (editor Upper Crust) seated next to me and laughing as uproariously at the memory.
Salgaonkar who shared a deep friendship with Mario especially when he left Mumbai to return to his family mansion in Loutolim, rounded off the evening by recalling his friend’s many endearing qualities. “Not least of which one was that of humility” We like!
Lit Cubs Sofa So good
>> It is turning out to be one of the Capital’s literary hangouts, which is why when we spied lit cubs Aatish Taseer and Jeet Thayil dining separately but at the same time at Latitude, our favourite neighbourhood eatery on Thursday night in Delhi, we were not surprised.
But of course seeing too many hot young authors in one evening has its challenges: the next morning while rapid texting them to invite them to a slap up dinner we were hosting, we got the messages mixed up. “ Help” we apologised to both men, “ We are getting our lit tigers mixed up! Too much latitude!”
As witticisms go we were quite pleased with that one!
Cherry blossom tattoo
>> We love airports. Absolutely and mystifyingly: Blinking lights, the promise of queues and the comfort of anonymity — what’s there not to like?
So while in the queue for our ritual cup of coffee at Delhi’s Terminal B on our way to Goa we were delighted to run in to a fellow airport lover, the exquisite Mozez Singh, I’m off to see my nephew at Doon and to deliver some tuck,” said style maven on the verge of turning media tycoon, with the launch of a fashion and lifestyle portal ‘Mohawk’
“It’s going to carry content on fashion, luxury, Bollywood and style,” he said, as we reveled in the Ersatz’s experience of takeaway espressos.
Singh had recently returned from a hermit like holiday in Kyoto where he paid tribute to the sublime rock gardens and temple-hideaways.
Were the cherry blossoms in bloom, we asked him before we boarded.
“Not only in bloom — but I got myself a cherry blossom tattoo” said the handsome scion to the Ranbaxy fortunes.
It was only when we were on our flight that we remembered that we ought to have quoted to him that lovely Pablo Neruda couplet on cherry blossoms.
Oh well, next airport, next time…
>> It is a truth universally acknowledged that journalists seldom received feedback unless it’s to complain, which is why when talented photojournalist Chirodeep Chaudhuri received a handwritten letter from a fan it was so special. Commenting in Chaudhuri’s haunting pictures in his book A Village in Bengal for which the photographer had spent twelve years chronicling the life of his ancestral village tucked deep in the heart of Bengal’s rural landscape, the writer compared the noted photographer to Satyajit Ray.
The book published by Picador has received rave reviews from some of the country’s most discerning photographers. “I (too) was reminded of Pather Panchali especially the paddy fields and bamboo groves and looming clouds and the suggest that something may happen way in the distance,” said photographer Ketaki Sheth.
Incidentally, Chaudhuri received the hand written fan letter on what would have been Ray’s ninety second birthday.
Serendipity is a fine thing!
Hot chapatis with Murli
>> Wednesday saw us in Delhi breaking bread (ok, ghee soaked chapatis) with Murli Deora Congress heavyweight and old friend.
“Hema’s playing a tournament in Ahmedabad,” said the Congress heavyweight about his wife, one of India’s leading bridge players. “And Milind might come but he’s got Salman Khan for company,” he said about his son who is MP from South Mumbai and Minister of State for Information Technology and Communications and Shipping.
No matter we said. Murli is one of the most entertaining politicians we know in the Capital: humane, sophisticated and full of anecdotes, insights and wit.
Our conversation took in the vast span of his experience: from politics to art and from Japanese designers to national elections.
“How lovely the house looks!” we remarked about the exquisite Lutyen’s’ style bungalow embellished with Hema’s unmistakable touch. “We can’t remember the first time we came here”
“It was for a party I threw on Rupert Murdoch’s first visit to India.” Murli reminded us.
That was a long time ago we thought: India on the verge of a private TV boom and Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot barely out of school!
Today Murdoch is being asked about his successor, India has one too many TV channels and a new generation that’s barely won its shaving rights has taken charge!
Spring gala for Mira
>> The redoubtable Asia Society ladies have put together the first Inaugural Fundraising Spring Gala Dinner.
To be held this weekend in honour of filmmaker Mira Nair, around the release of her much-awaited film The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the evening hosted by Pheroza and Jamshyd Godrej will afford guests the opportunity to meet Nair, watch excerpts from the film, and talk to members of the film’s cast and crew.