Unsolicited cross border aggro

One would think she'd be the last person who'd want to enter a tweet battle, given how her last war of words on the micro-blogging site ended, but the phrase once bitten twice shy, does not seem to be a belief of Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar.

'Watched Shobhaa De in an Arnab show on Indrani M, tweeted Tarar recently. 'Gosh, the 67-year-old Ms De weaves more conspiracy theories than a delusional 10-year-old,” said the lady expected to be in India over this weekend, and at the Khushwant Singh Literature Festival in Kasauli, for the release of her newest book.

Shobhaa De and Mehr Tarar. Pic/Twitter
Shobhaa De and Mehr Tarar. Pic/Twitter

'A delusional 10-year-old?' Those are fighting words indeed, from the lady whose introduction to Indian readers was her very public spat on Twitter, with the late Sunanda Pushkar, who had accused her of having an affair with her husband, Shashi Tharoor, then a minister in the Union Cabinet.

“I don't react/ respond to other people's tweets,” said De, herself the subject of many a tweet sparked-controversy, when we asked her for her response to Tarar's provocation. Good move, De. Though somehow, we think this unsolicited and unwarranted aggro from across the border, is not going to be allowed to pass that easily.

Fabric to the fore
As was expected, the Fabric of India exhibition at London's Victoria and Albert museum, which opened last week with a grand party by its main sponsor, Good Earth, is attracting much praise.

David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore before their houndstooth sari
David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore before their houndstooth sari

And with textiles from such modern maestros like Sabyasachi Mukherji, Manish Arora and Rahul Mishra, and David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore vying for attention with such vintage treasures like Tipu Sultan's original tent constructed in all its glory for delighted viewers, the reactions from those who've visited are ecstatic.

And one of the highlights of the exhibition, that has turned the spotlight on fabric, is my all time favourite, the iconic houndstooth sari created by David Abraham & Rakesh Thakore, which has a preeminent place in the exhibition. Nice when the real star of the Indian fashion phenomenon —Indian textiles — is given its due.

Bombay se aya mera dost
“God, that transgendered fellow, is on our side!” said gay icon, activist and veteran journalist, Ashok Row Kavi, about the quarter century anniversary of Bombay Dost, the magazine he founded in a far more conservative city all those years ago.

Ashok Row Kavi
Ashok Row Kavi

“That's why despite all the terrible travails, we've survived to celebrate our 25 years of publishing Bombay Dost, India's first registered LGBT magazine,” he said. Kavi is something of a muse, agony aunt and spokesperson of LGTB people across the land, and his ideology is all embracing and encouraging.

“Many others will come — as they should — but we remain there, clearly and closely rooted within our communities. Hail the rainbow flag that rises over all nations, and unites the world through the vast diversity of our sexual and gender identities. Truly, we have survived all odds and now look into the next Millennium,” he said happily.

And while looking ahead with optimism, Kavi allows himself a rare moment of nostalgia. “Our first workshop for charting out a roadmap for the LGBT communities, was held at Gorai Beach near Bombay, in the first week of May 2000. It was called 'Looking into the Next Millennium,'” he recalled, “and Bombay Dost was there as the silent observer.”

And today, with the gay bisexual and transgender community of Mumbai afforded its rightful place and respect, Bombay Dost can take quite a bit of the credit for this happy occurrence. Much work needs to be done of course, but on its 25 birthday, Bombay Dost (which only stopped publication for a brief spell in its run) is quite used to being greeted with 'You've Come a long way, baby!

Celebrity testosterone
As far as celebrity testosterone is concerned, not much can compare with this vintage picture of some of Mumbai's most swashbuckling rugby players, which we chanced upon recently.

Celebrity rugby players in 2003
Celebrity rugby players in 2003

Taken at the Castle Lager Celebrity Rugby Match of 2003 at the Bombay Gymkhana, and featuring the likes of Vinod Khanna, Shahid Kapoor, Zayed Khan, Marc Robinson, Rahul Bose, Ken Ghosh, Harsha Bhogle, Simi Garewal, Chaggan Bhujbal and a very young looking Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed, it proves that when it comes to rugby, boys will be boys.

Incidentally, though they have not been identified, we think we also spotted NDTV's Srinivas Jain and ad filmmaker Prahlad Kakkar in the heady mix.

Was it or was it not?
Fans of Jennifer Lawrence might be able to shed more light on the matter. About a month ago, guests at a five-star eatery in SoBo were dead sure that the actress had strolled in for a meal with a male companion, who they swear was equally stunning.

Jennifer Lawrence. Pic/AFP
Jennifer Lawrence. Pic/AFP

Being convinced, it was the actress herself, they even went to the trouble of checking with the hotel reception if it was indeed the Hollywood heartthrob.

“But though we learnt that they, the couple, were staying in a luxury suite at the same hotel, the names didn't ring a bell,” said our source adding, “perhaps as is quite common, the actress had booked under a pseudonym?”

So did JL make a flying personal visit to Mumbai — and most important of all — who was her handsome companion? Fans of the talented star: was she on Indian leave a month ago? We'd love to know.

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