Mehta and the 'accordion' paratha

Nov 04, 2015, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Zubin Mehta is a gift that keeps on giving. Even as the maestro left Mumbai in his thrall after two mesmerising concerts at the NCPA last week, stories of his Delhi outing have been doing the rounds

Zubin Mehta is a gift that keeps on giving. Even as the maestro left Mumbai in his thrall after two mesmerising concerts at the NCPA last week, stories of his Delhi outing have been doing the rounds.

These two had us particularly riveted. Apparently, Mehta, who had been a significant contributor to a home for mentally-challenged girls up North, had been paid a visit by a few of the younger inmates, who’d been brought to his concert by the Christian priest in charge of the home.

Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta

All these girls were apparently hearing-impaired. But that did not stop them from performing a little song-and-dance routine for the delighted maestro. What’s more, they’d been given special seats at the concert, where their chaperone described the music being played in sign language.

Unsurprisingly, meeting them was an extremely moving experience for Mehta and his orchestra. The other anecdote has to do with Mehta, the consummate foodie. (He is said to carry his own green chillies to the toniest of eateries internationally).

Residing for the first time at the Oberoi hotel in Gurgaon, Mehta is said to have been enchanted with the hotel’s food. “I ate a lachcha paratha,” he is said to have reported to a friend. “It reminded me of an accordion.” As far as we are concerned, that is one of the finest examples of the syndrome known as ‘synesthesia’.

Wisdom from unlikely places
You can pick up profound wisdom in the most unlikely of places. Shooting the breeze at Meena and Suresh Raheja’s recent party, with some of the city’s choicest high-rollers, we were pleasantly surprised to be drawn into a rather more philosophical discussion with Tata honcho Jammi Jamwal, husband of our friend Nisha.

Nisha and Jammi Jamwal
Nisha and Jammi Jamwal

The conversation began with our flip remark on the sure ways of recognising the signs of a mid-life crisis in Alpha males. “They buy a sports car and trade in for a younger wife,” we’d said facetiously.

The eternally cheerful Jamwal, who recently turned 50, had laughed along with the others, but then he’d turned to us and in a softer, more wistful tone, had whispered. “A friend enquired if I’d had my first mid-life crisis as he’d already had his first two,” Jamwal narrated.

“I replied that after what I’d already been through in my life, a mid-life crisis would not even be noticed,” he said, adding, “I treat emotions the way I treat a TV remote control: it’s up to me to choose how I want to feel at any moment,” he said. “Happiness, for me, is a decision.” See what we mean? Wisdom and profundity from the unlikeliest places: a rocking Mumbai party. His words have had a profound effect.

Happy birthday, AD
We are never going to live this one down. Yesterday, we texted our friend, the restaurateur AD Singh, to enquire about some banal F&B-related issue. ‘Can we speak?’ we’d texted, as is our wont. Singh called right back and we engaged in a rather long conversation about the price of onions, etc.

AD Singh
AD Singh

Then he invited us to a party on Wednesday night. “It’s my birthday,” he said in a voice that had a tiny reproach in it. (Singh is legendary for his sensitivity.) “Ah yes!! Tomorrow!” We said brightly, to cover up for the gaffe, trying to imply that we knew all along and we were right on the button, meaning to call him the next day. “Actually, it’s today,” said Singh. “That’s why I thought you wanted to speak to me …” Good grief!

Turning around a London eatery
Things sure appear to be coming up roses for Dinesh Nair and family. Not only has the co-chairman and MD of the Leela hotel group turned around the restaurant formally known as Le Chateaubriand in London — by changing the chef, the menu and decor, and giving it a new name, 8 Mount Street — as an European brasserie, but his daughter Samyukta Nair’s sleepwear line, Dandelion, is said to be extremely popular in the film circuit, amongst its quality-conscious fashionistas, who can’t seem to get enough of the brand.

Dinesh Nair
Dinesh Nair

Incidentally, Bollywood’s resident foodie, Rishi Kapoor, who had a meal at 8 Mount Street recently, was heard raving about it and even tweeted about it last month: @chintskap: 8 Mount Street. Super food, good ambience and friendly people at this restaurant. Congratulations Dinesh and Madhu Nair. You have a winner! See what we mean?

Er, that’s not a costume
Oh dear, this high-profile SoBo gent who bears a blue chip surname, but is better known for his in-your-face taste in matters sartorial, sure confused guests at a mid city pop-up party on Halloween night.

Thing is, the small but perfectly formed gent, who likes to show off his bulging biceps and six-pack abs in ripped cleavage-revealing tees and leather jeans and boots (and is not averse to wearing a little make-up to enhance his perfectly shaped Cupid’s lips and eyes), decided to make an appearance at the gathering sans a costume!

This, when the rest had taken much care to dress in, er, much the same kind of clothes and make-up that he wore on normal days. So can you blame a couple of witless green horns who put their feet royally into it by congratulating the gent on his ‘scary Halloween costume’?

And pity the poor bystanders who overheard this breezy compliment and didn’t know where to look! As we were saying: just another day in the paradise they call Mumbai.

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