'An evening for only dreamers and doers who are ready to create magic,' read the invitation, to what was a no-holds-barred paean to the Rio Carnival-meets-fairyland at Delhi's Sainik Farm, where the Capital's movers and shakers gathered to celebrate the birthday of designer Ritu Beri this week. The decor, which was all white, complemented the dress code, which was "all white" and "super dressy," according to a source.
Ritu Beri with a guest
"We were instructed to dress how we dream to be," said a guest. "So, you had guests dressed as nuns, chefs, Roman princesses, pandits and rock stars," she said, adding, "Even though it was a Tuesday night, everyone was in the spirit to party."
Ritu Beri with her father and husband
As for the hosts, Beri, we're told, dressed as a 'ghost' and her husband, Delhi-based entrepreneur, Bobby Chaddha, "came as a dacoit". "The air was full of love, happiness and laughter," said the source. Indeed.
This Sunday, Mumbai will witness the 6th Annual Ghanta Awards, that inspired platform where people attempt to avenge the brain damage that bad movies have caused to audiences over the past year.
"The pun-packed 'Ghanta Awards' is a live show fuelled by online voting by the audience. A panel of witty and distinguished judges, along with the exciting online voting system, recognize the worst of Bollywood every year," said a steersperson, adding, "and the audience gets to vote 14 categories representing the worst of Bollywood. Online voting goes on till the eve of the grand night." And nominations for this year are Worst Actor: Ritesh Deshmukh — Bangistan, Arjun Rampal — Roy, Shah Rukh Khan — Dilwale, Ranbir Kapoor — Bombay Velvet and Arjun Kapoor — Tevar. Worst Actress: Anushka Sharma — Bombay Velvet, Aishwarya Rai – Jazbaa, Sunny Leone — Ek Paheli Leela/ Kuch Kuch Locha Hai and Sonam Kapoor — Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo/Dolly Ki Doli.
But by far, the funniest award is for The Ghanta Tweet of the Year for which Sunil Grover, Rishi Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan are nominated. We think there will be no controversy on that one.
An evening with Adele
"Happiness is being with your best friends at an Adele concert." It was the purveyor of Delhi's most delicious food, the chef and diva Ritu Dalmia, holding forth about her recent tryst with the world's current sweetheart, singer and songwriter Adele, whom she'd seen perform at a concert in Copenhagen.
Ritu Dalmia and friends
"It was a life-altering concert," said Dalmia, who even got to pose for a few selfies and chat with the star. "She said she could not believe we had come all the way from India to see the concert, and that she wants to go to Goa soon. She is so so fabulous, witty, intelligent and beautiful," gushed Dalmia who hotfooted it half across the world to catch her idol.
Adele at the concert
"Three of my oldest school friends and I decided to see Adele, but the only city where tickets were available when we tried to book was Copenhagen, so we decided to make a trip," she said about this ultimate girly trip. "She sang non-stop for two hours, engaged with the audience, took selfies with them..."
Good to know that deliciousness exists in the lives of chefs in other forms besides food. "I have realized one thing after this concert. Nothing like doing things like this with one's chaddi buddies…" sweared Dalmia. We agree.
Days of the Taj
A great hotel is the repository of so much of a city's talent, knowledge, expertise and secrets that it serves almost like an almanac for those interested.
Camellia Panjabi and Ajit Kerkar
So, the fact that last week saw the gathering of almost 150 former employees of the Taj, who had served in various positions — high and low, and over the decades at the iconic luxury hotel is a milestone of sorts. This combined history and fortitude of such denizens as Ajit Kerkar and Camellia Panjabi, Veer Vijay Singh and many others; receptionists, managers, florists and bell captains, we are informed, gave to unprecedented nostalgia and warm fuzzy emotions. "There was so much hugging and dancing and singing," said a source. "Kerkar made a moving speech, people exchanged news and numbers and every one was choked with emotion and bonhomie."
And the venue of this milestone event? Where else but at the five-star chain's hotel at Lands End. "It followed in the footsteps of the hotel's own dinner the previous evening to commemorate a few chosen former employees in a group of mentors," said the source. "And the organisers of this contributory evening availed themselves of the opportunity of their presence to invite many others."
What's next, we enquired of the source. "A WhatsApp group so we can all keep in touch daily," he said. The stories that will give rise to.. Oh boy.
McCurry on a trot
Steve McCurry, the photo journalist who has over the years given the world some of its most evocative messages of monsoon, the madness of war and what it does to the human condition, is the subject of a feature in a glossy out this month titled 'A Selfie With Steve.' Anandita Ghose, who wrote the piece, met the celebrated Magnum photographer earlier this year at the Jaipur Lit Fest. "We walked around all of Old Jaipur," she said, "And I was amazed by his energy and enthusiasm."
Steve McCurry and Anandita Ghose
As for the maestro's advice on taking selfies. It's "smile less". Apparently, smiling sets your features in a predictable pattern," said Ghose.