Of cupcakes and parathas

"Everyone focuses on my writing but that doesn't even pay for cupcakes! It's cushions and candles that bring parathas to my table," said the witty and equally pretty Twinkle Khanna, when we called her up to tell us about next week's festive pop-up of home decor, fashion apparel, gifting essentials and sweet treats she's hosting at The White Window, her home decor store in NoBo.

Twinkle Khanna
Twinkle Khanna

Featuring such delectables as 'A Candle Carnival' and a sneak home-ware and imported kitchen items from Houseproud.in by Sanvari and Anjori Alagh, festive fashion designs by Laila Motwane, it appears to be another brain wave from the House of Twinkle now wearing her entrepreneurial hat. But the witty wordsmith isn't too far behind. "And for the bling," said the best-selling author "I do have a certain Mr Singh."

Bring back the blue
Some months ago we'd written about music composer Anu Malik, and his penchant for wearing a lime green Tee for every IPL match he attended, with the Ambanis in their private box. Apparently it was his lucky mascot and ensured a win for the Mumbai Indians.

A file picture of Mukesh Ambani in the blue shirt and (right) the red shirt he wore for the India vs South Africa match
A file picture of Mukesh Ambani in the blue shirt

Now it turns out that though some of the credit might have been rightly claimed by the aforementioned green Tee, it was in fact Mukesh Ambani's blue-checkered shirt, that was doing all the hard work and winning the matches quietly but firmly. The fact that one of the richest men in the world always showed up wearing the same blue shirt for every cricket match he attended hadn't escaped notice.

The red shirt he wore for the India vs South Africa match
The red shirt he wore for the India vs South Africa match

But no one had realised its role as a key lucky mascot until India's abysmal loss against South Africa in the recent ODIs, when it was noticed by cricket lovers that though MDA had attended, he'd done so in a RED checkered shirt. MDA's blue checkered shirt a true blue lucky mascot for India? Indeed, if you go by the grapevine...

Give this man a drink
And as the city gears up for its tryst with the Tata Lit Live festival and its cornucopia of literary delights, pity the programme director Anil Dharker, who has worked tirelessly to ensure its success, and who has let it all hang out in a delightful stream of consciousness note that reads as well as any of the books under discussion over the next few days.

Germaine Greer, Vikram Seth and Anil Dharker. Pics/Getty Images
Germaine Greer, Vikram Seth and Anil Dharker. Pics/Getty Images

"Does it get easier every year? The answer is an emphatic no," said Dharker in the foreword of the festival programme released today. "However many deep breaths you take, the panic attacks remain: Mr X, the writer from England, forgot to sign his visa form (and he was perplexed the Indian embassy refused to accept it).

Ms Y, the French writer, didn't even apply for a visa. 'I'll get it on arrival,' she said, forgetting that India is not part of the European Union. Mr Z at the last minute accepted an invitation to speak in Japan, so could he please come via Tokyo instead of Heathrow?"

But of course there are many silver linings to this lit cloud, said the indefatigable fest director. "The joys outweigh the stresses, particularly in getting to know, first through email, then in person, writers one has read, and admired for years. Like Germaine Greer.

I give her an idea for a talk. 'It's the worst idea I have heard,' she said diplomatically." And then he goes on to reminisce about festivals past and present. "Vikram Seth accepts his Poet Laureateship in verse. Before that he sends me pictures of his cat, a really beautiful creature.

I remember V S Naipaul too had a cat, and wept on the Tata Theatre stage when he remembered its death." We think we need to take him out for a tall and cool drink once the festival is over.

Lord Gulam Noon RIP
We were saddened to read about the passing of Lord Noon in London who we've had the pleasure of knowing. A towering figure in London, and the man who is said to have given England its love for chicken tikka, through his vast ready food empire.

Lord Gulam Noon. Pic/Getty Images
Lord Gulam Noon. Pic/Getty Images

We recall accompanying him to his family owned sweet shop Royal Sweets at Crawford Market, years after he'd become a highly decorated and connected statesman. Dressed in an impeccable suit and looking very dapper, he'd been a curious sight at the hot and crowded store, as he took us around it with such pride.

And it was a measure of his elegance that when we had stayed at his home as guests of himself and his wife Mohini Kent, rather than wine and dine us at any of London's top and trendy eateries, he had insisted we stay home so he could cook for us himself!

Noon was a man who never forgot his roots and we shall remember him for the sweetness he embodied. The same sweetness that had made his humble family-run sweet shop in Crawford Market achieve world renown.

Stay foolish, stay loved
In the mostly banal and synthetic universe that passes for Facebook posts, this birthday greeting from avant garde photographer David Desouza to his wife Charmayne sure broke through the clutter.

Charmayne and David Desouza
Charmayne and David Desouza

'Happy 60th Birthday you foolish person Charmayne. You bring insight, intelligence and inspiration to my life. Most importantly I love that you laugh easily. While you have been my friend on FB since May, you have been my friend for half your life. Stay foolish. I love you.'

Desouza had written. Later, commenting on how many likes that one message had received, he said wryly: "My status update of yesterday brought me more 'likes' than any other photo or whatever, a record of sorts which only indicates to me that I have to call Charmayne a foolish person oftener."

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