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The cultured CM

>> Sunday night sitting in the audience watching Between the Lines, Nandita Das’ excellent directorial venture which she has acted in opposite her husband the seriously dishy Subodh Maskara made us feel we were at the West End or on Broadway.

And why is that? Well, it’s so rare to sit in a packed auditorium (the Tata at the NCPA) and watch a high standard production with an audience that responds to every line and every nuance, and what’s more to do so in the company of none other than Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan and his family!


CM Prithviraj Chavan.

We were delighted to observe that Chavan and his family sat with quiet dignity through out the play, attracting no notice to themselves, requiring no special attention, and responding to all the great one liners and dialogues with chuckles and applause. (We were especially chuffed to see Chavan’s wife exchange meaningful looks with her husband each time there was a reference to politics).

Nandita Das and husband Subodh Maskara, Milind Soman
Milind Soman at the play, (right)Nandita Das and husband Subodh Maskara

The experience made us feel as if we were in a European country where heads of state went to the cinema or took public transport like every one else! Incidentally, when we asked Chavan what he was doing at the play he responded with the shy pride of someone who genuinely enjoys life’s better things, “The co-writer of the play — Divya Jagdale happens to be my niece,” he said.

Suicide city?
>> I had never met Varsha Bhosle, but her suicide has saddened me no end. Not only did she live down my road, but also we went to the same college around the same time and ended up as journalists in more or less the same newspapers. I had never met her, but her death coming on the heels of an alarming news report about the rise of senior citizens suicides in Mumbai has reminded me of the fragility of life and the loneliness and despair that can reside so close by — without being discovered until its too late.

Friends and relatives gather outside JJ Hospital to mourn the death of Varsha Bhosle, daughter of Asha Bhosle
Friends and relatives gather outside JJ Hospital to mourn the death of Varsha Bhosle, daughter of Asha Bhosle. Varsha’s body was brought the hospital for a post-mortem. Pic/Satyajit Desai

Of all the tragic deaths that can befall a family, suicide is undoubtedly the most disturbing. The ones left behind live the rest of their lives in guilt, remorse, shame and pain.

What can we do, what must we do as responsible citizens to ensure that the lonely and desperate are reached on time and given the help they require? What must we do to let the young and old know that they are not alone and no problem however insurmountable it might appear is without a solution? How do we slow down in our fast lanes to catch the tell tale signs of despair?

As someone who has seen too many go too soon and for lack of prompt help, I would like to offer this column as a resource/helpline/discussion board for professionals and support groups that work in this field. Who can people call when they are at the end of the road? What should families and friends know about this tragic malaise?

As for the Bhosle family, my condolences and prayers that the public and media allows them the time and space to cope with this terrible tragedy.

Big ticket wedding
>> The big wedding that’s got everyone planning their wardrobes and rearranging their diaries is Sudhir and Rashmi Behl’s daughter’s upcoming marriage to industrialist Rajan Raheja’s son.

Sudhir and Rashmi Behl
Sudhir and Rashmi Behl

The Behls are an established Mumbai family of restaurateurs (Khyber) and the Rahejas with their vast interests in realty, hotels and publishing command a presence across the country. The festivities will kick off at the JW Marriot in Juhu at the end of the month.

Whining and being crabby
>> We love nothing more than surprising juxtapositions. Give us high life and low life in one package and we are thrilled. We once went for a dinner for some august folk serving champagne and chaat for instance! Another time, excellent spirits were served on ice-lollies from a street cart and so on and so forth.

Scrumptious crab masala
Scrumptious crab masala

Which is why the upcoming Crab and Wine Festival at Mahesh Lunch Home, in Juhu this month appeals to us greatly. To coincide with its 11th anniversary celebrations, the legendary Manglorean eatery will serve its signature crustacean dishes such as baked crab, tandoori crab, butter garlic pepper crab, along with some fine wines. Incidentally, the PR says, “If you are what you eat, it’s easy to emerge looking like a crustacean from the Crab and Wine Festival at Mahesh Lunch Home, Juhu.” A copywriter with a sense of humour?

Mumbai’s drink of choice
>> A friend who is at the very heart of Mumbai’s wining and dining community, the crowd that attends four parties a week and eight on the weekend informs us that the drink of the moment is Ketel One — the wheat vodka made in small batches since 1691 and drunk by discerning vodka lovers. “It’s fast replacing Grey Goose vodka at Mumbai’s smart parties,” our source informs. 

A bartender mixes a vodka drink
A bartender mixes a vodka drink

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