>> Honestly the inventiveness of PROs to get their clients their two millimetres of immortality never ceases to amaze us!
This one concerns our dear friend, minister of state (communication, IT and shipping) Milind Deora and his cake-serving capabilities! Here is the missive that landed on our desk yesterday: “On the occasion of the silver jubilee year celebration of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Guest of Honour Hon’ble Minister of State (Communication, IT and Shipping) Shri Milind Deora, Chief Guest Hon’ble Union Cabinet Minister of Shipping, Shri GK Vasan and Special Guest — Hon’ble Secretary (Shipping) Dr Viswapati Trivedi and Joint Secretary Ports Shri N Muruganandam cut the specially baked customised 20 kg ‘Container Ship’ shaped cake at The Taj Mahal Palace and Towers in Mumbai on 5th July 2013.” So far, so good right? But here’s the clincher: “Shri Deora personally made sure that every guest present there had a piece of that ship which was in the form of small colourful containers made of premium quality chocolate.”
Seriously? Did the honourable minister of state for shipping IT and communications cajole persuade or force-feed every guest present with a morsel of the pastry? And why were these honours his alone? What were dignitaries GK Vasan and N Muruganandam or the organisers of the event or indeed the waiters doing during this process? Having their cake and eating it too? We feel we ought to be told.
The illicit happiness of second book authors
>> We had eschewed the Jaipur literature festival last year to curl up with his book The Illicit Happiness of Other People at a beach shack near Mumbai and had been chuffed by our choice: darkly humorous, searingly honest and altogether amazing, Manu Joseph’s second novel after his debut award winning Serious Men (on our to read list) had come as a revelation, which is why the news of its making it to the short list of the Encore award pleases us. The award is an interesting one.
It’s for ‘outstanding second novels’ published in the UK. Other books on the shortlist are: What the Family Needed by Stevan Amsterdam, Joy by Jonathan Lee and Little People by Jane Sullivan. It is a well-known fact that even more daunting than writing one’s first is the second novel.
And having said that — we are awaiting fingers crossed and with bated breath for Arundhati Roy’s second — on Kashmir, no less! A story that deserves all the passion and poignancy that Roy’s superb story telling skills can bestow!
>> We had the privilege of working with her at her first job many moons ago and since then though we haven’t met her, we have been following her feisty posts and courageous career of activism and writing for the rights of the differently abled.
Bereft of self-pity or self-conciseness, they are a fierce reminder that behind the facade of labels exist strong and significant voices that must be heard and engaged with. So, here’s a post from wheelchair- bound Malini Chib that we believe must be shared: “On getting back to Bombay airport, I was not allowed to go in front of the immigration counter. Why? They presumed wheelchair people won’t understand. It got me angry,” she writes. “Are we only supposed to tolerate it quietly and be beholden to our pushers? Suppose a disabled person was coming on his/her own, they would have to answer questions on their own...” Yes! We agree! Will someone in charge of this take this on board please?
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
>> What is it about yesterday’s Wimbledon men’s finals that brought out the hurrah Henries in so many otherwise highly sober, infinitely respectable folk on Facebook? From author Sir Salman’s wish that Murray had worn a kilt to ease use, Anita R Ratnam and publisher and cultural salonist Padmini Mirchandani’s exclamation marked single word interjections (as in ‘Go Andy!’ ‘Great scot!’ etc) to fashion maven Rohit Bal, academician Rachel Dwyer, film executive Sanjeev Lamba and Internet guru Mahesh Murthy’s exuberance — it was as though the social networking site had erupted into a rash of courtside applause.
Not being a fan of tennis or for that matter any spectator sport, our money for the most interesting comments were the subversive sardonic ones from theatre impresario and actor Kaizad Kotwal (‘Does anyone know when Wimbledon starts’, he posted deliberately after the match was played to ‘Why are people posting about Bill Murray? To ‘Nadal won’) to mark his objection to the silliness of it all; and, of course, the dry humoured wit of the one and only girlish Shahane captured our response to the whole phenomena so aptly. ‘So yesterday Tweedledum beat Tweedledee,’ wrote the art curator, writer and cultural instigator or was it the other way round? We like!