Less than a month ago when we'd visited her at her well-appointed mid town apartment for the birthday bash she'd thrown for gal pal Rhea Pillai, we'd noticed a distinct change in Queenie Singh.
The Delhi girl, daughter of a well-heeled Sikh clan who'd shaken things up in Mumbai - was positively glowing, as she played hostess with the mostest, to a gathering of the city's most celebrated cheekbones.
Queenie and Rishi Sethia
So, when we learnt of her marriage to London born businessman Rishi Sethia over the weekend, we were not surprised. The jewellery designer and mother of two, had appeared as if a lamp had been lit within her. Society divas are not expected to fall in love. But here was our Queenie, very much so.
"Very small, quiet, discreet personal ceremony - my kids were with me – we will be based in Dubai, and I will go back and forth to Mumbai till my son Rajveer finishes his 12th," said the new bride in response to our congratulations and questions. And then, being a consummate woman of the world, she added: "And of course my work carries in full force, as that is my passion my love - and time you visited my boutique!!!"
Finally… St Regis!
The imminent date of opening of the St Regis Hotel in Mumbai, which has been in the pipeline for a while, now has finally been announced. The luxury hotel brand (part of the larger Starwood group of hotels) is set to take charge of the management of the Palladium Hotel in Lower Parel on September 1, 2015. We spoke to our friend, Dilip Puri (MD India and Regional VP South Asia, Starwood Hotels) who confirmed the news.
Dilip Puri, MD India and Regional VP South Asia, Starwood Hotels
"All preparations are on in full swing to rebrand the hotel as St Regis Mumbai. It is a very exciting time for all of us at Starwood as we gear up for launching this iconic luxury brand in India for the first time," he said. And with the appointment of Anurag Bhatnagar from the Westin Goregaon, as GM, it's full steam ahead.
And on the same subject with the Starwood group, news comes in that after the St Regis roll out, the next in line will be the opening of the W Hotel in Goa early next year.
Sula and the Kumbh
"It's returning to Nashik after 12 years," said Rajeev Samant, the man who wants to put a bottle of his Nashik-grown Sula wine on practically every table across the globe. He was referring to one of the world's biggest spiritual jamborees - the Kumbh that kicked off earlier this month at the banks of the Godavari.
"Not only are the monsoons the best time to visit our vineyards," said the serial oenophile, "but what's best of all, is that our resort Beyond is located right between the two holy sites." He said, "We're offering a special Kumbh package!"
So will we see Samant negotiating his way through the pilgrims and Naga Babas holding a glass of Sula's Sauvingon Blanc in his hand? Not likely; apparently the irrepressible bon vivant is pumping iron to get into shape for a forthcoming visit to that other great jamboree for savants - Ibiza!
The weekend saw many worried Mumbaikars mull over the news that close on the heels of the beef ban, the BJP state government was gearing up to a similar exercise for liquor. The thought of not being able to have an after work pint, or a weekend sangria had many packing their suitcases. However here's some cheer. An insider from the corridors of power in the State called to say it would never come to pass.
" The revenue loss for the state will be too high." He said, "This is just the playing out of internal Maharashtra politics between the two parties and a bit of brinkmanship. Everyone knows that if a ban on liquor is enforced, the most aggrieved will be some powerful opposition politicians who have interests in sugar and wine," he added. Bottoms up!
Scrambled eggs, Mayawati and bubble wrap
What could be sunnier and more hilarious than breakfast with our favourite female impersonator and comedian Kunal Vijayakar? A foodie, a funny man, and a self confessed morning-lover, Vijayakar we thought, would be just the person to experiment with something offbeat, quirky and fun, for the third installment of the MS Sunny Side Up Breakfast Project.
Kunal Vijayakar and Malavika Sangghvi
How about breakfast at our favourite SoBo club just one-on-one we said to the man who manages to look more like Mayawati, than Mayawati herself on his shows. And yes, "shorts are allowed" we added, knowing his sartorial preference.
And so it happened that Kunal Vijayakar, the man who has travelled his way through several continents on his stomach, joined us for a mid morning blow out of French Toast, a couple of scrambled eggs, sausages, whole wheat toast, a platter of fruit accompanied by matching Bloody Marys over the weekend, Of course, our main agenda was to get him to do a special, for our eyes only performance of Mayawati.
To work our way towards the request we asked him which female icons he most liked to impersonate. "I used to do Jayalalitha until she sent me a legal notice," he said glumly. "Former President Pratibha Patil is an old favourite of mine. Until recently I was doing Sheila Dixit but I got too fat to do her," he said. "I must look for some more."
Vasundhara Raje! You're perfect for Vasundhara Raje! we said. Vijayakar liked the idea. " She's got the jowls," he said appreciatively, taking another bite of his French toast. That's why we like breakfast with funny men. You can say the most off the bat things in the most serious way and its all par for the course.
Take for instance, our conversation on sexual delinquency (nope, no idea how that topic came up): why do men make a grab for women we asked rhetorically surveying the rolling ocean beyond. What pleasure do they get for instance by touching women on buses or fondling them?
Vijayakar's florid and expressive countenance took on a reflective air. "Perhaps," he said, conjuring up the image with his fingers "It's the same itch that people get when they see bubble wrap and they can't resist popping it?" He suggested, "They just cannot stop themselves..." That's how it went at breakfast folks. Quirky, offbeat fun and then some. See you next week!
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