If TV anchor Rajdeep Sardesai appears far more relaxed these days, it's because he's finally gone ahead and disabled his Twitter account. Something of a lightening rod for vituperative abuse from the far right, Sardesai had begin to resemble a masochist for continuing to take the troll-bashing, until the light had finally dawned.
Rajdeep Sardesai and Kishore Kumar
"Frankly, I had reached breaking point with social media. To be subject to a concerted campaign of lies and abuse on a daily basis is not very pleasant, especially when they try and drag in your wife and kids," said the newshound about his Twitter tryst, which began 5 years ago. "I had become a Twitter addict. And the addiction I now realize was self destructive," he rued.
Not that the abuse has stopped; he's been receiving abusive threatening calls every minute after some troll put up his number on a public platform. "The latest canard being spread is that I got money in the Agusta Westland deal and even a flat in Colaba," said Sardesai who has filed a police complaint against the latest barrage. "We live in difficult times and I must confess that I feel deeply troubled by the toxicity in the air.
Which is why I need oxygen: hopefully, family, friends, cricket and music will provide it." As for the last, it's Kishore Kumar's 'Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate hai woh makam from 'Aap ki Kasam' which he swears is the ultimate stress buster.
Pundole's recent auction of classical and modern Indian art, saw record-breaking figures, and leading the sale was none other than Tyeb Mehta's iconic untitled work of a falling figure, which fetched Rs 14 crore, followed by a smaller canvas by VS Gaitonde which sold for R 5 crore. A new world record was also created for the late Nasreen Mohamedi's untitled work from the 1970s, which fetched Rs 1.8 crore.
But we were happiest when we heard of the strong interest in KH Ara, whose canvas Drummers sold for a cool Rs 70,00, 000. Has India finally woken up to Ara's genius, we asked Mallika Advani who'd conducted the auction.
"His canvases are rare to find, as he painted primarily on paper, with the odd canvas done every now and then; so when canvases do come up, especially one like this, they usually sell for strong prices," said Advani, a statement that made us both happy and sad.
Happy because the diminutive and jovial artist, a close friend of our parents, hadn't really received his due, and sad because we recall him taking us to his studio many years ago and excitedly unrolling mammoth canvasses he'd painted of luscious nudes, saying, "Take whatever you want. Take them all."
Of course, we'd taken none at that time. A thought that makes us sad. However the story has a happy ending, because a few years later the artist had presented us with a painting on the occasion of our wedding. And yes, it had been one of his magnificent nudes.
Love at first flight
Those of you who are wondering how the much married King of Good Times met the current twenty-something love of his life and left his wife and kids for her, here's the story.
She was applying for an air hostess' job on his airline. Since he oversaw all such appointments and conducted the interviews himself, he was scheduled to meet her at the lobby of a suburban hotel, for quick interview before making it to his private jet to travel abroad.
Apparently what was supposed to be a five-minute interview stretched to 2 and half hours and so enamored was the tycoon with the lady, that he decided that rather than work for his airline, she ought to be working on his private aircraft. So he insisted on driving her to see his jet.
The rest as they say was history. The pretty lady who'd stolen his heart is now the mistress of not only a fleet of jets, but of yachts and limos and mansions - and of course his heart. It's called love at first sight... er make that first flight...
The female gaze
Last week's event at the Piramal Museum titled 'Body Politics: Deconstructing the Male Gaze in the Visual, Literary and Performative Arts,' gave rise to a delicious piece of irony.
Following the salon conversation about the role of the male-female gaze in the visual and literary arts between art critic and author Rosalyn D'Mello and Bellevue Salons' curator Sharmistha Ray, when D'Mello was asked by a film producer in the audience if she'd considered adapting her recent book into a film, she replied saying that if TV anchor Sreenivasan Jain played the male lead, she would turn up every day on set to see him.
Proving of course, that objectification was not the prerogative of the male artist alone.
We had no idea that author, journalist Manu Joseph had a sense of humour. 'Sri Sri Ravi has told a newspaper that he was offered the Nobel but he refused to accept it,' he had posted recently on his Facebook timeline about the latest controversy surrounding his Holy Grooviness, adding, 'The Norwegian Nobel committee has issued a statement: "Tull, vi bare kalte ham opp til å be om Nagma nummer." Means, "Bullshit, we only called him to ask for Nagma's number," he wrote.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Nagma
Is this true? We'd naively asked Joseph.
Did they really say that?
"It's a joke," he replied, "Nagma is or was a devotee."
And the Norwegian — is that authentic, we pursued, hugely impressed by the whole trope.
"It really is Norwegian" replied Joseph. "I did a Google translation."