SRK at the big 'O'

>> A fellow reveller at Olive, Bandra’s very hip and happening place which recently launched Bucket List Bar night (drinks served in miniature pastel buckets) couldn’t stop talking about her luck at sharing the experience with SRK himself. “There we were, a small table indoors last Saturday, when we saw Karan Johar who’d been there earlier walk out and then return a few moments later with The Man himself. I nearly fell off my chair,” says the lady.

Shah Rukh Khan

“They sat at the far-end of the restaurant where they normally put VIP guests and were very well behaved drawing no attention to themselves,” she says adding, “Later on, SRK went and joined Malaika Arora and her gang at the bar and they were there till the place closed around one.”

As for the lady she’s making sure she’s there this Saturday too — this time in designer threads!

London Betrothal
>> This column was the first to break the news of the impending wedding of Priya, Anil and Kiran Agarwal’s daughter to her longstanding beau Akarsh Hebbar and to congratulate the happy couple. And now preparations for the big day have been kicked off by a very personal note sent to a select few of Anil’s friends to mark the date.

Anil Agarwal

‘Our daughter Priya will be tying the knot with Akarsh Hebbar,’ says the letter. ‘It will be our pleasure to have you join us for this very special occasion in London on 8, 9 September 2013 and make it complete with your presence,’ says the letter signed off, ‘With warm regards, Kiran and Anil Agarwal.’ Simple words to herald what insiders swear will be a big fat Indian wedding befitting the daughter of a swashbuckling NRI billionaire!

The Merchants of Mumbai
>> Together they stand for all that’s good and great about Mumbai’s swish set: urbane, stylish and devoted to each other Chottu and Sabira (Sabby) Merchant are always a delight to meet. Which is why biding our time yesterday at the French Consulate waiting for our schengen visa to be processed, we were happy to see them come in for the same purpose.

Sabira Merchant

“We’re off to France for a wedding!” said the elfin like Sabby whose slim diminutive frame gives no indication of the power packed dynamo she is on stage and off it. We still remember her stellar performance as Blanche du Bois in Alyque Padamsee’s rendition of the Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire which in our opinion was almost as good as that of Vivian Leigh’s in the Kazan directed film. And, of course, if scores of beauty queens enunciate better we have only her to thank. Incidentally, we must mention that with its well appointed interiors, polite staff, well orchestrated procedures and piped classical music the visa section of the French Consulate — better than any we have encountered — so far seemed an apt place to bump in to the globe trotting duo!

How to be gay in India
>> Even while there are hats in the air and celebrations all around amongst all those who support same sex marriage following the landmark US Supreme Court ruling striking down the controversial federal law DOMA that discriminated against gay couples in the US on Wednesday, the cause still has a long way to go if Manil Suri’s poignant, evocative essay How to be Gay and Indian in the latest Granta is any thing to go by. Suri, the Mumbai born mathematics professor at the University of Maryland and celebrated author The Death of Vishnu and The Age of Shiva, writes with no- nonsense honesty about what it felt like to bring his partner Larry to the land of his birth. “On our first morning together in India, Larry and I were awakened by a loud rattling at our door.

Author Manil Suri

Before we could react, Sheena burst in, followed by a servant bearing two mugs of tea on a tray. Oblivious to our scrambling to appear more presentable, my cousin went about drawing back the curtains in our room, scooping up our discarded shirts and underwear to be laundered, asking which of us was going to shower first,” he writes, pointing out how the issue of homosexuality is ignored in the hope it will go away. But there is hope yet.

Suri ends on a positive note, ‘And yet, I feel that compared to other cultures, India’s negotiation with this issue will be less contentious.’ Meanwhile, for all same sex couples lining up to tie the knot, a word of caution from someone whose been married, but twice shy: just because you won the right to marry, doesn’t mean you need to take the plunge.

Another brick in the wall
>> For those already dismayed about the assault to Warden road’s skyline by the Singhania monolith here’s some more bad news: word has it that the adjoining building Bishop’s Gate which until it was torn down a few months ago was a genteel old structure reminiscent of Mumbai’s ‘30s construction is also on its way to becoming a multi storied eyesore!

Ascot Outing
>> And following up on yesterday’s item on Cyrus Poonawalla’s lucky streak in the recently concluded Ascot races, here’s an update from the horses’ mouth: “Poonawalla’s Maltese cross colours were prominently seen at the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting in end June.

Gordon Lord Byron ran energetically in the Group one Golden Jubilee stakes to finish fourth, while his other runner David Livingston ran a close race in the Royal Hunt Cup.

Both these horses are expected to win prizes shortly on the European racing circuit,” said the racing expert. As for the promised top hat picture — we are still waiting!

NaMo silence?
>> And how come the media was caught napping over NaMo’s Thursday sortie in Mumbai. The CII and Shaina NC both invited select insiders to have a darshan but until going to press there were no photo ops of the man himself. Has subtlety finally dawned on Rambo and his supporters? 

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