Two women. Both outspoken, powerful and admired. Both leaders now discovered to be long lost cousins.
When Mallika Dutt, the America-based human rights activist, cultural entrepreneur, founder, president CEO of Breakthrough, and all round powerhouse met Padma Shri Barkha Dutt, iconic Indian television journalist and group editor with NDTV recently at a seminar in Delhi, who would have thought that they would discover their family tree?
“Barkha and I are second cousins. Our grandfathers, Krishen Gopal Dutt and Nand Gopal Dutt were brothers and grew up together in Sialkot. In the 1940s, the family, in bits and pieces, moved to Delhi.
My grandfather had moved to Kolkata by 1948, so we never knew this other part of our family,” says the delighted Mallika, adding, “ I didn’t even know Barkha and I were cousins until a few years ago. We finally connected at a talk she did at the Taj Mansingh on social media last week. I am so proud to have a fellow sister/leader in the family.” More power to the sisterhood!
Art Lover’s Treat
It doesn’t get bigger than this for art lovers. Avid Learning which has won notice recently for its well- structured and conceptualised foray in to the intellectual and artistic life of Mumbai has pulled off a real scorcher in Jaipur.
Titled The Artist’s Eye and held as part of the Jaipur Literature Festival, it will feature some of the most respected and influential personalities of the art world like Anish Kapoor, Marc Quinn, William Kentridge and Glenn Lowry, Director of MoMA (New York) who will be discussing how the imagination’s creation comes to fruition with none other than Harvard’s formidable Homi K Bhabha whose writings on literature art and food have won him many admirers around the world.
The graceful ex
When Mumbai’s top models Fleur Xavier and Nethra Raghuraman decided to put their years of experience in show biz and fashion to good use by launching the Little Red Tote, a website on beauty and fashion, it was not unsurprising that they would receive an avalanche of good wishes and support from their legion of friends and admirers. But one message stood out over all the others. It was from Ash Chandler, Nethra’s former husband.
“Congrats Nethra and Fleur” wrote the actor and singer, “Wish you all the success in the world and keep informing and enchanting us,” he said. As readers may have noticed we have always commended grace and civility whenever we have come across it (which in these bleak times is not too frequently).
Trattoria, the second phase
It ‘s been something of a SoBo landmark, the favoured watering hole of its young and restless crowd, the place to converge on after parties, premieres and dinners. The restaurant where most pre-teens chose to hold their birthday parties (when you’re over the cake and candles and give back gift stage, but before the club/lounge one) and now its creator has gone ahead and given it a whole new feel.
“Mumbai’s favourite Italian restaurant unveils its new look. The wait is finally over! After 90 days under the hammer, one of South Mumbai’s finest destination-restaurants - the Trattoria at Vivanta by Taj - President, has undergone a true blue renaissance,” says the announcement.
The reticent Chef Ananda Solomon, Executive Chef at Vivanta by Taj - President, and Corporate Chef Premium Division is mercifully more restrained. “We wanted to give a theme to the restaurant that stands for the true essence of Italy. After careful thought and consideration we decided to renovate the restaurant and make it look like an Italian home.
Guests at Trattoria can expect the same quality that the restaurant is known for and shall be delighted to witness the strong influence of rooted Italian décor and ambience at the restaurant.” Meanwhile we are trying to figure out if the people who wrote the copy for the press release had their tongue firmly in their cheeks when they said the restaurant was ‘a legend in its own lunchtime.’
Love or something like it
“Tantalizingly subtitled and numbered 1 to 14, yet arranged haphazardly like random numbers in a slot machine-these stories tell of the chanciness of love, the odds you may or may not bet on, the tonic to your seasonal cheer” - says one reviewer.
“So warm and attentive is the writing in Annie Zaidi’s new short-story collection that it comes as a little shock when you think about what some of her characters are really going through. This book’s tone is consistently hushed, reflective, shorn of hysteria - even in a description of two people arguing, with a lifetime of companionship on the line - but beneath its still surfaces there is much emotional turbulence,” says another.
And this week a swathe of Mumbai’s literary aficionados will celebrate the release of poet, author blogger and scriptwriter Annie Zaidi’s ‘ Love Stories#1 to 14. About being a published author (and a noted one at that) Zaidi who has also been co-author of the delightfully-titled ‘The Bad Boys Guide to the Good Indian Girl’ and ‘Known Turf, Bantering with Bandits and other True Tales’ says, “I’ve become more aware of the need to edit myself.
I’ve also realised that getting published is just stage 2. There is stage 3 (distribution), 4 (visibility), 5 (staying in print), 6 (staying relevant), 7 (finding and keeping other jobs that will subsidise the books), and there’s stage 8, 9, and 10 maybe, where I have not yet reached.” Here’s to the next levels! Meanwhile, we’re looking forward to reading the book.