>> As every one weighs in with their opinions on Rahul Gandhi and his promotion to top but one rung in the Congress party stakes, one little known fact about the reluctant prince might throw light on his personality.
While travelling to a cousin’s farm in the capital recently, our ears pricked up as we overheard a conversation between two teenagers in the back seat.
“All this is part of the Gandhi farms,” said one of our young travelling companions, pointing to a large swathe of barricaded land on our way to Chattarpur.
“Rahul Gandhi spends his time here when he wants to get away from it all,” he said. And what on earth does he do, we naturally asked looking at the vast wilderness unfolding ahead of us.
“Drag racing” was the response. “He has a professional track and all the equipment, and he’s passionate about the sport. And he’s joined in these races by Omar Abdullah and Jyotiraditya Scindia and Robert Vadra.”
How do you know this? I pursued. “Jeeze, it’s every school boy’s fantasy,” we were told. “Neighbours around the farm can hear the roar of the engines even though it’s so well insulated from the public.”
Interesting. So the Congress’ choice for VP is a speed demon. And a teenager at heart.
Though somehow we don’t know if drag racing was what Sonia had in mind when she spoke about galvanising the country’s young with youth-oriented programs!
When the stars rocked
>> Ok! So we promise this is the absolutely last item we will carry about the Kothari-Bhartia nuptials in Chennai when all of Mumbai-Dilli and Chennai converged.
Apparently the highlight of the wedding was when on the last evening of the festivities a relieved and joyful Tina Ambani who’d been on host duty along with the rest of the Ambani clan, let her hair down and grabbed hold of old friends Amitabh and Abhishek and regaled guests with an impromptu and faithful rendition of Kajra Re right down to the last jhatak and matak.
And yes, Aishwarya Rai was very much present but chose to cheer on from the sidelines!
>> The star at yesterday’s marathon according to a marathon veteran was the weather.
“Though you saw the usual suspects, Anil Ambani, Rahul Bose, Anand Mahindra, Tara Sharma, Milind Soman and a few interesting faces like Shantaram author Gregory David Roberts (at the Dream Run), the weather really stole the show,” we were told “It was a crisp clear morning, a slight breeze and a gentle sunshine.”
And the second best thing of all, according to our source who’s taken part in all ten so far: “families had lined up to cheer us on with mithai, chocolates and water. The community feeling was palpable on the streets.” We like!
Securing the jewels
>> With so many fabulously wealthy and high profile families involved in weddings recently has any one given a thought to the behind the scenes logistics that are called for in these affairs? Especially as far as security and safety for the guests and their jewels is concerned?
According to a hotel source, two rooms next to the Presidential Suite had been fitted out with safes and security detail to accommodate the jewellery and gifts that the groom’s side was carrying for the bride and her family.
With so much weighing on their minds it’s a wonder that the parents of the couples involved in these high profile events can manage to look relaxed and be hospitable at all.
>> Surprise, surprise. We ran into David Dhawan at a banker’s brunch this weekend and after the usual pleasantries found ourselves discussing Salman Khan and his image change, which led to his irresistible rise at the box office.
Dhawan, remember, was in part responsible for bequeathing the star his comic, slightly ironic, slightly self-deprecating humour in films like Biwi No 1.
“Yes, his new image has partly been the result of his advisors,” said the director. “But most of it is Salman’s own personality. He is very intelligent and has gained enormously in confidence over the years. In Bigg Boss he’s superb. And the public love his macho funny irreverent persona,” he said.
>> At the recently concluded Hitkari-Misra nuptials conducted mostly at the Taj Crystal room at Apollo Bunder, which featured a night of Mika performance, Chef Hemant Oberoi at his creative best and a large swathe of the usual suspects, guests swear that two vignettes from the celebrations repudiate recent news reports quite decisively.
The first concerns the groom’s grandmother, the matriarch of the Hitkari clan who newspapers reports had said had fallen out with her son Arun, the father of the groom. “ Well, from what we saw, it looked like there had been a patch up between mother and son” says our source “because the graceful old lady sat throughout the ceremonies and appeared very fond of her son”.
The second concerns another much reported social couple and their famous marital reconciliation again reported by the papers. “Not true,” says our source. “Though Sheetal and Atulya were at the same party, they both hung out separately and looked very much on their own,” we were informed.
Never take things at face value is what we say.