On a winning spree

"Quasar won the Calcutta Derby on Sunday Jan 11, 2015...a real champion in the making," and with that, gaming tycoon Jaydev Mody who seems to be on a winning spree (his team led by Khushroo Dhunjibhoy under the banner 'Race For Change' won the contentious Royal Western India Turf Club elections recently, trouncing the incumbent Vivek Jain) announced his latest win.

But what particularly capped this joyous occasion was the coming together of two prominent families, the Modys and the Pandit-Kumars, at the Kolkata prize-giving with the ever-graceful Kolkata-based Sunita Kumar, Jaydev’s soon to be son-in-law Partap Pandit’s nani doing the honours.

Sunita Kumar with Jaydev and Zia Mody at the Calcutta Derby
Sunita Kumar with Jaydev and Zia Mody at the Calcutta Derby

A few weeks ago, this column had commented on the surfeit of beauty, talent and achievement that the engagement of Mody’s daughter Aarti with Partap, son of Gita and Ranjit Pandit had resulted in. And this picture, featuring the elegant Sunita Kumar, Mody’s daughters and his wife Zia, one of the country’s most renowned corporate lawyers amply demonstrates this.

Grapes of wrath
He’s been rather low-key, ever since he lost in the Lok Sabha elections from Bangalore on a Congress ticket and his ambitions UID program met with some roadblocks. But none who have met Nandan Nilekani, visionary technocrat, one of the founding fathers of Infosys and the possessor of a truly magnificent mooch can doubt his brilliance or his sincerity.

Nandan Nilekani with Rajeev Samant (left)
Nandan Nilekani with Rajeev Samant (left)

Which is why, when he resurfaced recently at of all places the Sula Vineyards in Nashik over the weekend, we were thrilled to see that his recent setbacks hadn’t dimmed his aura. Said to be as interested in a good grape as he is about improving the quality of life for Bangalore’s unwashed multitudes, Nilekani’s visit on the heels of Sula’s recent triumph in the international wine arena when its Dindori Reserve Shiraz 2011 was judged #25 on the list of top 100 wines of the year by Wine Enthusiast’s expert rating panel, which had ploughed through over 17,500 wines might just indicate more than a passing interest.

After all with Sula’s fortunes on the up and up (Anil Ambani is said to be a private investor) there’s no business like the wine business, it appears.

Handsome Talking head
“It’s a salon of sorts, with a real and virtual audience. Drinks afterwards,” said Aatish Taseer about the upcoming conversation he is scheduled to have with Sandip Roy on ‘The Rise and Fall of the Lutyens’ Elite’, a subject that his mother, the journalist and author Tavleen Singh had also touched upon in her book Darbar.

Aatish Taseer
Aatish Taseer

A venture by First Post Salon, the event to be held this Friday at Olive at the Race Course is touted to be ‘an evening of fine conversations, personalities and wine’. And with its liner notes declaring it to be an occasion that brings together India’s best minds and biggest names in one place, it appears to be one more enterprise in the already crowded space of talking heads.

It helps, of course, that Taseer possesses an exceptionally handsome one. The Rise and Fall of the Lutyens’ Elite. Who woulda thunk!

Eating his words
The recent item about Goa minister Ramesh Tawadkar wanting to cure homosexuality through support groups on the lines of Alcoholics Anonymous was mercifully withdrawn after its announcement was met with howls of derision.

Barkha Dutt
Barkha Dutt

One of the strongest indictments came from outspoken news anchor Barkha Dutt, whose comment posted on social media couldn’t have been more incriminating: ‘What needs curing, Dear Goa Minister, is not homosexuality, but your anachronistic, insensitive, intolerant way of thinking,’ she’d written.

And obviously, this and other messages of condemnation must have hit home because the next day Tawadkar said he’d been misquoted (‘I meant drug abusers not LGBT,’ he said lamely) and his CM Lakshmikant Parsekar, in a major bid for damage control, said the comments were made in ignorance and that homosexuality is a natural gift.

Talk about U turns!

Builder’s bouncing cheque
Word comes in that the scion of a prominent builder who had died recently and who had hosted an ostentatious destination wedding in Europe a few months back, has been indicted in a bounced cheque matter and was recently summoned along with his key executives to Court, where they had to sign a bail bond.

“You sure of this?” we enquired of our source. After all, the wedding had been marked for its over-the-top expenditure (the invitations themselves had created considerable excitement as they’d been accompanied with luxury gifting items)

“I’m positive,” replied the source; “On Thursday, his team was at the Bandra sessions court for almost five hours dealing with the charges.” “Abs sure?” we enquired again. “Yes,” said the source, adding, “The victim is someone known and the story will soon be seen in the financial dailies.”

Oh dear. Perhaps they oughtn’t to have run up such expenses after all.

A new acronym, men
And trust adman and playwright Rahul da Cunha, the man whose wit is seen regularly on Amul hoardings across the nation, illuminating urban India’s land-scapes.

Rahul da Cunha
Rahul da Cunha

“Just when I thought I’d seen it all Goa to start clinics (like AA) to ‘cure’ LGBT community of their disease. I’m wondering what LGBT stands for Leave Goan Buggers Toasted,” said the wordsmith.

Indeed.

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