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The art of the first names

Malavika SangghviAt the magnificent reception thrown by Mukesh and Nita Ambani along with BP’s Bob Dudley for a team of very senior British delegation led by British PM David Cameron at the CST Museum, we like that formalities were set aside by Mukesh Ambani.

In his easy laid back witty speech, he addressed the Right Honourable David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party as “David” and then went on to use the nomenclature a couple more times.

The warmth was reciprocated in right measure. On his part, Cameron afforded the senior Ambani with praise referring to him as the leader of one of the world’s best companies. First name terms never sounded better.

British PM David Cameron at a reception thrown by Mukesh Ambani
British PM David Cameron at a reception thrown by Mukesh Ambani

What Cameron didn’t eat
Alert readers who read what ‘Cameron ate at the Indigo on Tuesday night’ on this page pointed out that they are still waiting to know what he ordered for dessert. Truth be said gentle reader, we had to go to press before the dessert course.

David Cameron with Rahul Akerkar
David Cameron with Rahul Akerkar 

But now it can be told: the relaxed and shirt-sleeved Cameron, who’d walked across to the restaurant from the Taj with his security cover and endeared himself to the Indigo staff had ‘no dessert or coffee’. “He was tired and wanted to call it a day,” says our source.

Friends across the board
We met our old friend and Congress leader Rajiv Shukla on Tuesday in Mumbai. Shukla belongs to that rare breed of journos who put their knowledge and address book to use and made something of their careers in politics.

Rajiv Shukla Arun Jaitley
Rajiv Shukla and Arun Jaitley

Of course, it’s not the easiest of things and many have failed in the attempt. Perhaps, what went in Shukla’s favour was his affability. He has rarely been heard to speak ill of any one. And his connections cut across party lines.

The leader of the Opposition in the RS Arun Jaitley is a close friend. And, of course, the BJP’s Ravi Prasad is his wife Anuradha’s brother. Ensconced in a deep discussion with local industrialists, Shukla was no doubt being grilled about 2014 and how the cards will fall. Good to have friends in all parties when the going’s tough, we say.

Is this bud for me?
People do the darndest things. The last person you’d associate with beer let alone a Czech one is Rashmi Jolly, the wife of my golfing pal Arvind who’d penned an edifying e-mail about his community recently.

Arvind with wife Rashmi Jolly
Arvind with wife Rashmi Jolly

And yet when we met her at a high society wedding reception on Tuesday night she invited us in her capacity as Honorary Consul General of the Czech Republic to a party for Budweiser Budvar, a brewery founded in 1895 by Czech-speaking citizens. To be held soon in Mumbai the party will attempt to clear the cloud of confusion around the legendary Budweiser name.

But here’s the gist and it will make IP lawyers pull their hair out in frustration.?Whereas beer brewing in Ceské Budejovice (or Budweis) began in the 13th century. Two breweries in the city began marketing their produce under the name ‘Budweiser,’ a century later. To compound matters in 1876, the US brewer Anheuser-Busch began making a beer, which it also called ‘Budweiser’. Of course, we understood none of this when conveyed in Rashmi’s whispery tones but we are looking forward for the bud, which says it’s for us!

Oscar time
At the Mahindra Blues Fest, we ran into our dear friend Biren Ghose, country head, Technicolor India, who informed us that he was packing his bags for LA soon because three of his studio’s movies had been picked by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as front-runners for this year’s Oscars for Best Picture: Lincoln, Life of Pi, and Silver Linings Playbook. “Technicolor served, in various capacities in all three projects, and six of the nine films nominated for the year’s best picture,” said our ebullient friend.

Biren Ghose will be attending the Oscars in Los Angeles
Biren Ghose will be attending the Oscars in Los Angeles

“The nomination for Ang Lee’s Life of Pi for visual effects achievement is particularly sweet for Technicolor’s MPC VFX division which contributed to a large block of shots for the film along with also being nominated for MPC’s contribution to director Ridley Scott’s Prometheus,” he said. Er, now, we didn’t ask whose clothes Ghose would be wearing on the red carpet though.

Biren Ghose will be attending the Oscars in Los Angeles

Capital name-calling
The art of the put down is an understated one. Calling for more subtlety than sledgehammer. And more often than not, we find Delhi has the upper hand in this department. Here’s an example: on spotting a sharp tongued and sharper penned Indian born jet setting lit grande dame, the darkly handsome literary cub said: “And here comes the ‘professional Indian.’ See what we mean? Short. Sharp. Devastating.

Marmalade eyed muse
Word has come in that Trishla Jain, the talented daughter of TOI’s Samir and Meera Jain fresh from her triumphant debut as an artist will now be muse to Delhi’s iconic FabIndia that legendary incubator of third world chic. “It’s our attempt to marry utility with artistic expression and to connect with young art,” said a spokesperson. “Trishla’s work is very vibrant and imaginative and we’ve used it as a metaphor in our product line for this year.” This Thursday, FabIndia’s Bim Bissell, Delhi’s cultural czarina will be hosting a soiree at the store in Delhi to showcase the result of the collaboration. Nice!

Dilli door nahin?
So, this weekend we had planned to be in Delhi to celebrate the conferring of the well deserved MBE on author, foodie and restaurateur Camellia Panjabi and to attend our friend, the soft spoken and exquisitely mannered Derry Moore’s (the 12th Earl of Drogheda, if you must know) exhibition of stunning photographs of India.

Derry Moore Camellia Panjabi
Derry Moore and Camellia Panjabi

And if time permitted to drop in for the opening match of NDTV’s Toyota University Cricket Championship on Saturday at the Feroze Shah Kotla Stadium. But, of course, all plans are on hold now as family festivities have been announced to celebrate a very happy and much awaited betrothal! Watch this space!

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