>> If you hear the sound of many hearts breaking (especially a rather famous one in NYC) put it down to the announcement of Tishani Doshi’s engagement. The beautiful poet, journalist and dancer born in Madras, to a Welsh mother and Gujarati father, apparently said yes in a helicopter flying over the Taprobane island in Sri Lanka when her Italian journalist boyfriend proposed. (That in itself is the start of a poem).
Doshi whose first poetry collection, Countries of the Body, won the 2006 Forward Poetry Prize and whose debut novel, The Pleasure Seekers, (Bloomsbury 2010) was long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2011, also writes a cricket blog and said to be working on cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan biography, to be published when he retires.
With an engagement on a copter, a wedding at an IPL match is a fitting follow up we think.
>> Word comes in of another bunch of well-heeled Indians whooping it up in Istanbul. Prakash Chhabria of the Finolex group took a party of friends and family to the European capital to bring in his 40th birthday. “The guests comprised the usual suspects of the richie rich crowd,” says our source. “Prakash and his wife are swell folks and impeccable hosts and the fact that he’s son-in-law of GP Hinduja and brother of Sanjay, who heads Gulf Oil meant that the party was top class and very classy.
Talking head in Parliament
>> We had heard about it from one of the most credible sources in Parliament: the attempts of a well-known and respected news anchor who has been trying to get a Rajya Sabha nomination from the Ruling Party to fulfil his political ambitions.
We brushed it aside as rumour mongering: the gentleman in question has always seized the high moral ground and would be well aware of the Laxman Rekha that ought to exist between politics and media.
After all, the obligation such a nomination entails would interfere with the non-partisan objective approach required for free fair reporting.
But on Tuesday night when we heard TOI’s Arnab Goswami allude to his rival with, “We all have heard of journalists attempting to enter the Rajya Sabha,” while talking to the redoubtable Kunal Ghosh, TMC party leader, journalist and Chit fund director (and in our books the prime example of the blurring of lines) we could ignore the rumours no more.
So, there you have it gentle reader, if in the run up to the next general election you do not hear of one of the country’s leading media personalities entering Parliament — it will not be for the want of trying.
After all the UPA could do with all the talking heads it can muster.
Superna’s Super Plan
>> We spoke to Superna Motwane one of the nicest fashion editors we know (that’s often an oxymoron) about the closure of her leading fashion mag L’Officiel in India and learnt of her sparkling new plans to launch a high end luxury digital and print magazine with a Korean company by September.
“I have been doing L’Officiel for 11 years now, and though it’s been a great run I’ve been itching to get in to the digital media market,” says the lady, who prior to publishing L’Officiel had started Maaza Media — an Internet media venture — during the Internet boom many years ago. “The Korean company I am working with really understands luxury and they are hugely successful in their own country and their Chinese edition. They are looking at India to be their third launch as it’s a strong market for luxury-especially on-line luxury,” she said.
Called Noblesse, the webzine will engage the best of minds and talent for a number of platforms: print, net, blogs and video blogging. “E-commerce will be stage three of our model,” says Motwane, who has been exposed to the good life and all things luxury from her birth. Her father and brother Dr Suri and Sanjay Kapoor respectively are well-known industrialists and her mother Rani is from the Raunaq Singh family.
“Digital luxury media is a no brainer in India as Indians like to shop for high end products from the comfort of their bedrooms,” she signed off.
Road trips and online trolls
>> “Social media’s held a peculiar attraction,” says Mahesh Murthy, who runs a VC fund, a digital marketing firm, besides being a heavy weight presence on cyber space for his outspoken views. “The ability to get things out there, without the editorial censorship from politically-motivated editorial goons was a welcome prospect,” says the man who burnt his bridges with traditional media when he found his work being censored for motivated reasons. With 58,000 thousand followers on Twitter, 27,000 on Facebook and more than 24,000 on other platforms the going was good until … Murthy discovered the new equivalent of online editors: online trolls.
“I recently bought a car in Gurgaon and drove it to Mumbai,” he says “And wrote a few posts along the way.” What followed according to him was a cascade of brickbats.
Which led Murthy to take on his critics with a lengthy verbose piece on the lines of ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.’
‘Go to hell,’ he wrote. ‘I’m writing what I want on my page. If you don’t like it you don’t have to read it.’
“Of course, this makes for more lively discourse,” he concludes. “ But I (still) prefer it to the backroom censorship of the old journalistic establishment.”