Remembering Khushwant

And since we were the very first to write about The Khushwant Singh Literary Festival (KSLF) Kasauli, that excellent meeting of minds and people that is conducted annually by his son Rahul Singh and the lovely Niloufer Billimoria in memory of the writer who died at the ripe old age of 99 last year here's an update on this year's fare.

The festival is on from Friday, October 9, to Sunday, October 11, this year, and its theme is '100', 'To live 100 years is to be blessed. To live on beyond is indeed to be in very heaven,' says the exquisitely penned concept note. 'Khushwant Singh did not make it to 100.

Khushwant SinghKhushwant Singh

But then he was ready to meet his maker a long time ago. Whether his maker was ready to receive him, as Churchill said, we will never know. What we do know is that his ideas and his work continue to live on.' And then in tribute to the writer-editor, this Centenary Edition of KSLF (which we had the pleasure of attending in its very first edition) promises a cornucopia of delights as varied and eclectic as Singh's celebrated interests.

Happy Hundred celebrates KS' extraordinary facets as a student, a family person and a public figure Love & Longing/a passion for poetry delves in to his love for Urdu poetry and Our Cold & Lonely Planet features eminent activists explaining why the environment is a red flag issue.

But, for our money, what we are particularly looking forward to is the program titled 'Always Khush:' for decades the Sardarji and his jokes left millions of Indians shell-shocked or doubled over in laughter. Often both. At KSLF 2015 we hope to continue in the same spirit: amuse, provoke, engage and inspire.' We like!

Home-cooked, Bandra Shtyle
Sticking with the pop up trend in the city, word comes in that a new culinary pop up appropriately named 'Café De Mom' is set to open its doors in Bandra over the coming weekend.

Alka Shehzeen Siddique
Alka Shehzeen Siddique

Alka Shehzeen Siddique, wife of erstwhile Congress' MLA from Bandra Baba Siddique, is the mom-cum-chef behind the venture. And she proposes to cook her famous home food including 'gulzaar-e-shaami' (tender lamb), 'teekhay khatte aloo' (tangy baby potatoes) and 'murg-e-peshkash' (chicken in coconut cream) there is also a seven-course chef's tasting menu we were informed.

We caught Baba about to take off on a flight yesterday, who confirmed the happy news. “A preview food tasting took place last week and we received good feedback,” he said. And now that the Facebook page has been created and the description reads 'for those who adore delicacies from the secret kitchen of a mom turned chef!' We aren't surprised that bookings have already started for the pop up that will be conducted later this week.

Enter Ada Malik
Composer Anu Malik, the serial IPL fan (of the lucky green tee shirt fame) got in touch to inform us that his younger daughter Ada, 21, has made a successful entry into the world of fashion.

(Left to right) Anju Malik, Anu Malik, Anmol Malik and Ada Malik
(Left to right) Anju Malik, Anu Malik, Anmol Malik and Ada Malik

“Ada is representing India internationally on FTV,” he said about the girl who is currently mid-course at Parsons The New School For Design in New York and who held her first fashion show at the age of 15!

“Not only is she representing India on an international scale among Parisian brands, being a part of various fashion shows in New York and rubbing shoulders with Valentino, Marchesa and Vivienne Tam, she's currently working on her new line for the Elle Shop,” exclaimed the proud father. Er how about asking her to design some lucky new green tees now?

Clean sweep for Khambatta
A talkative little magpie tells us that restaurateur and foodie Farrokh (Joss, Amedeus) Khambatta is on a bit of a roll. “From Zarine Khan's recent book launch to the Queenie-Rishi wedding celebration hosted by Kiran and Anil Agarwal tonight, to Gautam Singhania's 50th and Vijay Mallya's 60th forthcoming destination birthday parties, Khambatta has bagged the catering assignments for all!”

Queenie Singh and Rishi Sethia
Queenie Singh and Rishi Sethia

When we asked Khambatta on how he'd managed to make a clean sweep of all these high-profile engagements, he said, “Actually I've known Gautam for very long and Queenie too. We have been catering for Anil Agarwal exclusively for long now.

Gautam Singhania and Farrokh Khambatta
Gautam Singhania and Farrokh Khambatta

I had done VJM's 50th for him and we go back a long way too. My association with Zarine is recent and came about after the opening of Joss, Santacruz where the family loves to dine.”

Zarine Khan and Vijay Mallya
Zarine Khan and Vijay Mallya

He smiled, “But there's only one connection really all are true connoisseurs of great cuisine. And, hopefully, want the best catering for their milestones.”

SOBO House any one?
A source called to inform us that the big plans to open a branch of this exclusive, members-only club in Mumbai have finally been abandoned. Talk has been rife about the celebrity hangout club opening doors in Juhu since way back in 2013, but now the story goes that the proposed venture, which was in collaboration with a local Indian partner, will be scrapped for the time being at least.

Apparently the CEO and founder of the club, which is headquartered on a tony London street and which has branches across the world including New York, purportedly fell out over some clauses in the deal which proved that the vision between the brand and its local partners was inherently different.

“Yes, the capital invested in the project was significant as they had even purchased a 38-storey property in Juhu which would house their offerings like a hotel rooms, fine dining restaurant, bar and a spa, and pay for the expensive upkeep of their expat manager,” said the source.

“But now word on the street is that the international schmoozer's watering hole will skip Mumbai for now and continue with its other expansion plans in Istanbul, Toronto, Barcelona and the Middle East.” So now with plans of its opening set aside and out of the way — how long before we see something with a similar model in Mumbai? SOBO House anyone?

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