Collateral damage

Published: Nov 07, 2012, 07:41 IST | Malavika Sangghvi |

A result of the Naipaul-Karnad slugfest is the collateral damage to the standing of LitLive's organiser Anil Dharker

>> A result of the Naipaul-Karnad slugfest is the collateral damage to the standing of LitLive’s organiser Anil Dharker.

Apparently one of the things that has irked the journalist turned literary impresario most is that Karnad has cast aspersions on his secular credentials for bestowing Naipaul with his lifetime achievement award.

Girish Karnad

“How can he say that?” Dharker has been heard complaining on innumerable news channels, “When I have been on the forefront of the secular movement! In fact the group that I work with Citizen’s for Justice and Peace has actively been fighting to bring justice to many victims of the Gujarat riots,” he says.

VS Naipaul with wife Nadira

True that. Whatever views one might have about LitLive’s choice of conferring its Lifetime achievement award on Naipaul, anyone who knows Dharker will know that secularism runs deep within his veins and is an intrinsic part of his personality. Interestingly and not that it would establish his secular credentials but for many years Dharker was married to the Pakistani born poet Imtiaz Dharker.

Anil Dharker

Strange that Naipaul too, is married to a Pakistani woman of letters. His wife Nadira was a Pakistani journalist when they met. If for anything at least this recent spat has established that one’s personal and political views are separate entities altogether and have little to do with each other. As for Naipaul, we are happy to note that his communal non-fiction writing has been called in to question by no less a literary giant than Karnad. Now how about examining his racist and misogynist worldviews too?

Motherhood and Mandira
>> We have always liked her for her gamine impishness and charm. And the way she injected a certain oomph in to the world of cricket. (Spaghetti straps never seemed more appropriate to bouncers until her intervention). But with her latest outing as cover girl on the November issue of Priya Pathiyan excellent Mother and Baby mag, we feel Mandira Bedi has come in to her own.

Mandira Bedi

Posing resplendent in what looks very much like a spaghetti strap blouse and sari with her adorable 14-month year old son Vir, Bedi makes for one of her best avatars yet. Who said motherhood cannot be sexy?

Shame and scandal
>> Oh dear. This wealthy developer family known for its lavish lifestyles and designer parties never seems to be out of the news. This time it’s to do with a raging battle between father and son over the former’s affair with a much-married woman who his son does not see eye to eye with him on. Not only has this led to a showdown between the two but it also spells a probable split in the business according to our source. Meanwhile, the besotted father we hear has gifted his lady love’s recently married daughter with a Rs 20 crore apartment in the hope of wooing her mother so that she leaves her husband and moves in with him. Such complications. Just another day in paradise in Mumbai we say.

Chef Kejriwal
>> The irrepressible Sylvester Dacunha has sent this ditty in.

Arvind Kejriwal

A chef by name Kejriwal
Discovers there’s ‘kala’ in ‘dal’.
Now ministers are nervous
As are babus in service
They’re quickly losing their ‘baal’.'

Big Boys Club
>> Interesting to finally see Gulu Lalwani, the international jet setter industrialist who once famously dated Princess Di in person. Accompanying his sister Bina Ramani at the Thinkfest in Goa, we overheard the swashbuckling Lalwani go up blind, pull out his visiting card and introduce himself to Bob Geldof at the bar on the final night of the event. Impressed by his suave networking, we were gobsmacked when two minutes into the introduction we heard him invite the singer and his family to Phuket to stay as his guests at the resort island where he now resides in great style. And from the looks of it, Geldof appeared quite interested in the prospect. That’s the way the big boys operate.

The final dance
>> While the rest of us remain glued to our TV sets and witness the making of history from the sidelines, a little bird tells us that uber restaurateur Rahul Akerkar and his daughter Shaan have had a ringside seat at the run-up to the US presidential elections by being present at the historic finale — the concert at Columbus Ohio where Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z performed.

US President Barack Obama with singer Bruce Springsteen

As reporters noted it was a spectacular moment in pop culture with The Boss ‘spending the entire day with Obama, travelling on Air Force One from Madison, Wisconsin, to Columbus, Ohio, and then to Des Moines, Iowa…’

Rahul Akerkar

And whereas we do not know the details, we are waiting to pin Akerkar down when he returns to tell us what it felt like to be present at the epoch making event. Meanwhile, back to the TV to cull whatever details about the Big Result!

All things green
>> She’s the lesser-known sister of one of the country’s most enigmatic politicians but nevertheless Ambika Shukla, Maneka Gandhi’s charming younger sister has a pretty packed social life.

Dr Mukesh Batra and his son

We have run in to the soft-spoken, attractive lady in Mumbai, Delhi and Goa so far at many a high voltage event and always in the company of the country’s most high-profile and successful homeopath-the ever-smiling Dr Mukesh Batra.

Given the sisters’ interest in all things new age and green the friendship with a famous homeopath should not come as a surprise. Batra himself we are told besides presiding over a flourishing practice is also the owner of one of Goa’s most beautiful homes. 

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