"I'm just happy he will read it, and happy, too, to see him supporting indie bookstores," said Salman Rushdie when we asked him what he felt about POTUS picking up a copy of his latest book, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: A Novel, this Saturday.
Obama, a supporter of 'small business Saturdays' a movement to support indie local retail, had dropped in at the Upshur Street Books in Washington with daughters Sasha and Malia. (Some of the other books bought by the first family were Purity: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen; A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd and Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renée Russell.)
US President Barack Obama with Sasha and Malia at the Upshur Street Books store. Pic/AP
All things considered it had been eventful weeks for both POTUS and Rushdie. The former had forgiven the Thanksgiving turkey and volunteered at a community Thanksgiving kitchen. Rushdie meanwhile, on a leg of his book tour had found himself in Guadalajara, Mexico, where no one had shown up at the airport to receive him and where he'd had to hitch a ride off a fellow flyer.
His gratitude to this kind stranger had been amply expressed on social media. 'Thank you 'Germán Koller Hernández!' he'd posted. In contrast were his succinct words, in response to former Fin Min P Chidambaram's admission on Saturday that the ban on Satanic Verses had been 'wrong'.
"This admission just took 27 years. How many more before the 'mistake' is corrected?" Rushdie had tweeted about a move that had more or less destroyed his entire life. Not every one was in the mood to forgive and forget this Thanksgiving.
Burning Man in Lutyen's Delhi
One thing is clear, no one likes fancy dress and theme parties as much as Delhiites. This was demonstrated quite emphatically recently at Vivek Goel's birthday bash when the likes of Tarun Tahiliani, Sumant Jaikrishnan and Nikhil Khanna went to extraordinary lengths to get their turbans, yarmulkes and tuques just right to adhere to the specified dress code.
Malini Ramani and Gautam Kalra
This weekend too, more or less the same crowd showed up in extravagant splendour to bring in Vivek Sama's 50th. And so you had Kalyani Chawla, Pia Sharma Pauro, Aparna Bahl Bedi, Manish Arora and Gautam Kalra amongst others turn up in what looked like the whole nine yards on their heads.
"My dress was by Amit Aggarwal and I was wearing a wig and then a turban and silver jewellery over the turban," said the ravishing Malini Ramani about her ensemble. Move over Burning Man, Lutyen's Delhi is here to stay.
Even on ordinary days his exuberance levels are above average, so it does not come as a surprise that Shailendra Singh, Percept's excitable head honcho was positively bouncing when he called to tell us about the 'World's Biggest Guest List', featuring World Number One DJ Hardwell in the second week of December at the DY Patil Stadium, that he's spearheading.
DJ Hardwell with Shailendra Singh
"The event has become a rage on social media with over 50,000 registrations already in," he said. "My own NGO United Trust Foundation is also taking part actively in the fund raiser. The cause we are supporting is Magic Bus, which will operate at a ground level extending education to over 18,000 children across the country. Barclay's Spaces for Hope, the BMW Foundation, Herbert Quandt have joined the campaign along with Indian corporate giants like Bharti and Hero Motorcorp," he said.
"What's amazing is that the world ranking No 1, DJ, Hardwell's tour is kick-starting in India with this gig and he is not charging a penny for it. With over 100,000 fans in the stadium it's going to make it to the Guinness World Records," he added. See what we said about excitement levels at an all-time high.
Showcasing men's fashion
The week will witness a unique initiative to spotlight men's fashion. Hosted by a magazine, the event is called Fashion Nights, and will be hosted on Tuesday and Wednesday evening at a mid-city five star to showcase the creations of the likes of Raghavendra Rathore, Shantanu and Nikhil, and Rajesh Pratap Singh.
Rajesh Pratap Singh and Raghavendra Rathore
"It's a celebration of fashion and style over two evenings in Mumbai and aims to put the men's fashion and designers firmly under the spotlight," said the magazine's publisher Almona Bhatia. "You see two shows, break for drinks and see another two each evening," she said adding, "And we have a few surprises too."
The Young President's Organisation (YPO), that international confederation of upscale businessmen, has hitherto prided itself on its low profile. With the likes of Mukesh Ambani, Anand Mahindra and Azim Premji as members, this is no mean feat.
P Chidambaram and Deepak Chopra. Pic/AFP
After all, what men of that calibre think and do and say is always news making, especially when it's behind close doors and to each other, but such has been the YPO's insistence on secrecy, that we recall even when we had attended one of their offsites in Goa many years ago which had featured the likes of P Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid and Deepak Chopra, it had passed under the radar and no one had been any the wiser for it.
However, in today's era of social media and selfies, these Charter House Rules are somewhat archaic. This weekend for instance, a whole lot of fashion luvvies from Delhi and Mumbai were invited to address YPO members in Goa and the former could not help sharing their pix, and flattering comments on the extravaganza in lurid detail. Perhaps a revision of rules is called for?