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Meeting Clinton

"He is still the Man," said ace TV anchor Barkha Dutt about her fireside chat in Jaipur with Bill Clinton that aired on Wednesday night on NDTV.

“Much older but as compelling, complex and yes, flawed in a way that makes him more real,” she said about the charismatic Prezzie with the deadly twinkle in his eye that can still make a room full of people (women AND men go weak in the knees).

“We spoke on Modi, why his conversation with Sharif in 1999 was the ‘fiercest encounter ever, bar none’, the Gaza killings and yes of course, I asked him about the Hillary 2016 bid!” said Dutt.

Bill Clinton Barkha Dutt
Bill Clinton. Pic/PTI and Barkha Dutt. Pic/AFP

There was much we wanted to ask her about her interviewee, whom we’d met at the White House in the mid-nineties as part of Narasimha Rao’s press corp.

Was he still as outrageously flirtatious twenty years on? But Dutt had obviously inured herself against the Silver Fox charm. Her interview had been serious, solemn and world enhancing. We recall we hadn’t been as stoic.

Goodbye to a serial adulterer
And now that Archie Andrews has been killed off by his creators this week in issue #36, forty one years after he was born, it would not be wrong to say that a part of us has died too.

Veronica, Archie and Betty. PIC/Comicvine.com

Veronica, Archie and Betty. PIC/Comicvine.com

How to explain the effect that the carrot-topped, amiable Middle American youth had on us school girls growing up in Mumbai? His world of milkshakes and hot dogs and principals called Mr Weatherbee that we had absolutely no connection with, but nevertheless passionately inhabited?

Our world view and value system was deeply influenced by Archie Andrews: America was a Utopia in which everyone said, ‘aw shucks’; sweet girls like Betty Cooper lost out to arrogant ones like Veronica Lodge; and if all this got too confusing, one could spend the rest of the day looking at the ads for X Ray vision glasses and silly putty on the back page!

So Archie has died. It was no secret that he was going to go back to the great comic strip graveyard in the sky this week. It was also well known that he’d been a comic book adulterer of epic proportions.

His creators realising that having him pick one girl over the other would have traumatised us all too greatly, had wisely opted for two plot lines in which he had separately married both. In his final outing, both plotlines had converged. And Archie had laid down his life to highlight gun control. What else can we say but, “aw shucks?”

Investing in Wine
‘The underlying principles of wine investment boil down to the iron law of supply and demand. The handful of top Bordeaux & Burgundy estates are produced in preciously small quantities, so there is painfully limited - and ultimately diminishing - supply.

Nikhil Agarwal 
Nikhil Agarwal

Put simply, there’s no longer enough of the top red stuff to go round,’ says the marketing spiel to introduce the concept of Fine Wine Investment for high net individuals in India by the company Amphora Portfolio Management, brought into the country by Nikhil Agarwal of All Things Nice, a Wine & Spirits consultancy and training services.

The end of the month will see Amphora’s CEO David Jackson, and its Investment Manager Philip Staveley explain the niceties of this particularly glamorous form of investment. So, how do you er… Invest in wine? According to Agarwal, it’s easy.

“We build bespoke portfolios of carefully selected investment grade wines for private investors. We stock the wines for you in bonded warehouse in London. We give you in depth market reports and ultimately help you sell your holdings at the best prices!” And of course, there’s always the joy of toasting one’s winnings with an excellent bottle!

Blame it on Rio
And this from a very hungover Rio returnee, about the reception afforded to Brazilian PM Dilma Rousseff and FIFA President Sepp Blatter at the finale.

Dilma Rousseff with Sepp Blatter and Vladimir Putin. Pic/AFP
Dilma Rousseff with Sepp Blatter and Vladimir Putin. Pic/AFP

“Shakira was too good yaar! The match was ok. But I swear the booing for Brazil’s prime minister and its FIFA president was more than what even Kalmadi got,” he said.

The Tejpal Case
Not that we are not as sad about the falling from grace of our friend and colleague Tarun Tejpal who is out on bail having been accused in a sexual misdemeanour case.

Tarun Tejpal
Tarun Tejpal

And though we have written in the past what a tragedy it was that Tejpal had to lose his mother while he was in jail and how sad it must have been for all concerned, we have never not once allowed this sympathy or our admiration for his many stellar qualities get in the way of our stance: sexual harassment must stop and what he allegedly did was wrong.

Which is why we have been watching the systematic and insidious campaign to discredit Tejpal’s accuser with horror. Not a week goes by without someone or the other from Delhi attempting to assonate her character. Not fair and not nice we think. Let the law take its course.

Irony deficiency
Sometimes the sheer decadence of it all just takes your breath away. The two brothers, who occupy the same office from where they run their steel to oil to power mega business, are on the verge of acquiring their third plane! For a company that’s said to have over 100 thousand crore rupees of un-serviced debts to Indian banks.

Rich as this is in irony it’s not all: besides all its other luxury trappings and fittings, this new toy of the brothers Grimm stands out because (hold your breath) it boasts of the first disco in the air. Yes, a flying disco, sailing smoothly over all those forgotten IOUs no doubt. Serious Irony deficiency.

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