Recipes for life's feast

Readers of this column will know that our childhood was spent in Juhu and that our family shared a close friendship with our neighbours, the famous Khans of Juhu.

With their drop-dead good looks, their charm, and their zest, this family of five swash-buckling sons, Feroze, Shah Rukh, Sanjay, Sameer and Akbar, and beautiful daughter Dilshad, nurtured lovingly by their ethereally dignified mother Bibi Fatima Begum Khan, who had been widowed young, became the darlings of our neighbourhood.

Zarine Khan on the book cover
Zarine Khan on the book cover

And, very soon, their home in the leafy Jussawalla Wadi became the epicentre of many a memorable gathering. There would be laughter and pranks and long discussions and fun and high spirits. But best of all, there would be food. Bibi Fatima Begum Khan was of Persian descent, and having been married to a Pathan, had inherited a legacy of legendary recipes.

A dish from the bookA dish from the book

Whats more, in true Khan style she presided over an open kitchen to which all were invited! And so it came to pass that we grew up on a regular staple of kheema baida roti for breakfast, biryani and shammi kebabs for lunch, and malai gosht for dinner!

The Sanjay Khan clain in a picture from the book. Pics courtesy/family secrets: The Khan family cook book/Roli BooksThe Sanjay Khan clain in a picture from the book. Pics courtesy/family secrets: The Khan family cook book/Roli Books

Which is why, yesterday, we were so thrilled to receive a handsome copy of Sanjays gracious wife Zarines book Family Secrets The Khan Family Cookbook by Zarine Khan (Roli Books). "I would like to dedicate this book to my dear mother-in-law," writes Zarine at the start. "She was the one who helped me acquire a taste for good, home-cooked food.

The lasting popularity of our Khan household food prompted me to write this simple book of home recipes," she said. And then you turn the pages: rare and candid pictures from personal family albums of her famous brothers-in-law, her children Farah, Simone, Sussanne and Zayed and their partners, her own parents and her nine beautiful grandchildren, along with a heartfelt memoir penned by Zarine as a paean to her romance with the superstar husband Sanjay, followed by page after page of drool-worthy recipes.

Soon to hit the stands, this collectors item will be officially launched with a sparkling party later this month. If lifes a feast, Family Secrets is undoubtedly its how-to manual.

Mrs Gandhi, we presume?
We see her practically every night, commenting on the politics of the day, but quite frankly we hadnt noticed the resemblance; so when our former colleague, senior journalist Arati Jerath was stopped recently at the Goa airport as she was checking in at the gate, she said she was stunned by the comment from the security man.

Arati Jerath
Arati Jerath

"He said I reminded him of Indira Gandhi!" said the gracefully graying Delhi-based political analyst. But it was not the resemblance to Indias imperious and starchy PM that stunned her. "He meant it as a compliment," she recalled in shock-horror.

Indira Gandhi. Pic/Getty Images
Indira Gandhi. Pic/Getty Images

"Amazing that 30 years after her death, shortly after the nation observed the 40th anniversary of that dark day when she suspended democracy to impose the Emergency, the aam aadmi remembers her with admiration and respect," said Jerath, adding, "It would seem that Indira Gandhi is seen as the best PM India had, thanks to the ever-declining quality of political leadership after her."

Greece is the word
Word comes in that Ness Wadia, who has being lying low ever since his famous spat with you-know-who, has been spotted in Greece. Pictures of the corporate Peter Pan on a yacht in the company of some lissome lasses have surfaced.

Ness Wadia
Ness Wadia

"Maybe thats his way of helping out the Greek debt crisis," was one droll comment by a city-slicker. "At least someones spending money in Greece!"

The Fastest Growing Club in Town
Last night, we were invited to attend what was touted as the fastest growing club in town: The Mumbai Drunk-Driving Womens Club also known as the Crazy Vodka Babes On Wheels Club. "Its been started after the many recent incidents of you know, us gurrls drinkin and pardyin and havin one for da road," croaked its president, a leading investment banker when shed called to invite us.

"An you know how it is with us weve come a long way babe guurlz :getting in to our zippy Audis and Beemers after a night out guzzling an hitting the celerator while textin our BFs and our BFFS going real fast with the Vengaboys playing REALLY LOUD while poppin a Valliumin an sippin some wum..." To spare her from any more syllables, we said wed be there.

When we arrived at the venue, there were only a handful of gurrlz whod got there and most of them looked like they had a headache, or hadnt slept in weeks, or had spent many hours locked up in their cars, or had spent the night at the Arthur Road Jail. A few of them massaged their temples and popped Alka-Seltzers.

"Ladies, stand to attention," said the president, as the group attempted to stagger to its feet. "We are here because we are facing a crisis. This is an emergency!" she declared, adding, "I command you to forthwith search the bars and lounges, the pubs and taverns, the speakeasies and the joints for new members! Because, if we dont, we are in danger of losing our status as the fastest growing club in town."

At which point, we, who had been faithfully recording the proceedings of this emergency meeting of The Mumbai Drunk -Driving Womens Club also known as The Crazy Vodka Babes On Wheels, were compelled to ask "But why Madam President? Why will you lose your status as the fastest growing club in town?"

The President looked at us pityingly. "Where have you been? Dont you watch the news? Every one, including Arnab Goswami, will tell you that the fastest growing club in town is that of people whove been implicated by Lalit Modi." And, as we prepared to leave, we heard her say, "OK, sisters lets have a few drinks and hit the road..."

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