Plane Talk

May 22, 2015, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

It's a truth universally acknowledged that one cannot be rich enough. Ever. We'd once narrated the story of a clique of high rolling Indian businessmen, who were overheard showing off about their preferred airlines for first-class travel

It's a truth universally acknowledged that one cannot be rich enough. Ever. We'd once narrated the story of a clique of high rolling Indian businessmen, who were overheard showing off about their preferred airlines for first-class travel. One praised the on-board service of his regular carrier, the other, the vintage champagne served on board his, and the third, the comfy pajama set that he looked forward to, each time he boarded...

However, the balloon of their intercontinental swagger was quickly deflated when a fourth gentleman, who'd been listening patiently, waited for all to finish and whispered softly, "Ahh.. I haven't flown commercial for so long..." We were reminded of this when our friend, the high-flying peripatetic Suhel Seth, posted a pic of himself looking very dapper in the cabin of a very sleek private jet.

Suhel Seth
Suhel Seth

His social media friends were naturally agog. Seth, known to live the high life, looked infinitely to the manor born and very comfortable in his surroundings. "A birthday gift?" said one. "Your new jet??" said a second.

"Show off!" teased a third. But matters were put to rest when Seth 'fussed up,' sportingly "I WISH IT WAS MY AIRCRAFT. It isn't and don't make me feel miserable," he wrote, further de-glamourising the whole affair with: "Bumped into a friend at Geneva airport who invited me within the terminal to see the mock up of the new Falcon 5."

At which, another friend piped up, "Is the jacket yours?"

Flamboyant in London
This week witnesses the opening of Photo London (May 21-24) the city's response to France's Paris Photo, which is Europe's largest photography fair. And, whereas Photo London is more modest in scope and size, housed at Somerset House and featuring the works of more than 70 galleries from around the world, it is expected to evolve as the interest in photography is growing rapidly.

Ram Shergill and Boris Johnson
Ram Shergill and Boris Johnson

Be that as it may, this picture of celebrated India-born London-based fashion photographer, the very flamboyant Ram Shergill (his catchphrase is said to be glamodrama), in his favourite Abu and Sandeep brocade jacket, with the equally flamboyant London Mayor Boris Johnson, with his own significant India connection, delighted us.

"Me and Boris at the opening of Photo London tonight! You must go, its Incredible! With Tasveer Gallery," said the glamazon, whose catchphrase was so much fun!" Nice!

Beauty Comes Full Circle
Few corporate narratives come full circle so neatly. Following the announcement that Anil Chopra, the old Lakmé warhorse, best known for giving the stately Tata cosmetic company a whole new spin with its association with the Lakme Fashion Week, would be fronting StudioWest, the cosmetics, fragrances and skin care brand for Trent–Westside, we were curious to know how his second innings with the Tatas would pan out.

Anil Chopra Simone Tata Noel Tata
Anil Chopra, Simone Tata and Noel Tata

After all, Chopra had been with the Tata-owned Lakmé almost from the start, and was an important part of its buyout by Hindustan Lever in the mid-nineties. What was he most looking forward to working on, with his former chairman, the very posh Simone Tata, we asked Chopra.

"I was invited about 18 months ago to do the project by Noel Tata, who is now Chairman of Trent/Westside about," said the man who is known as Mr Beauty Business in India. "Mrs S Tata is now Chairman Emeritus. However, on account of age, she is not involved in the business," he said.

According to Chopra, StudioWest is firstly a 'beauty space' designed to house the big brands for cosmetics like Lakmé, L'Oreal, Maybelline, Chambor, Revlon & ColorBar. "But that's not all; it is also the name of 'a new brand of cosmetics by Westside', which will be sold along with other brands (something like Sephora, which has Sephora & other brands)," he said, his gaze determinedly set to the future. "For me it's a homecoming, But also bringing the cosmetics industry under one roof, including Lakme."

Down and out in Breach Candy
We often think that irony is a wasted quality in Mumbai, when so much around us is rife with incongruity and bathos. Yet, recently, when we were informed that after the US Counsel at Breach Candy shifted headquarters to the Bandra-Kurla complex, leaving behind an old canine faithful, our interest was aroused.

"He is so sweet, almost blind, and still waits outside the old consulate door months after they left," said a leading Sobo diva known for her love for animals. "All of us animal lovers take turns feeding him and looking after him when he's unwell," she said. "Would you like to meet him?" It was late at night after a charming dinner and we were passing that way. How could we refuse?

And that's how we found ourselves staring into the foggy eyes of a near-blind street dog, whose patches of missing fur could be easily discerned in the street light, outside the former precincts of a first-world super power. 'What's his name?' we asked, as the dog recognised our friend and attempted to wag its tail feebly at her approach.

"Bush. I forgot to tell you. His name is Bush," she said. "That's what everyone's been calling from the days when the US consulate was here…" she said, as we got into the car while a sleepy watchman patted Bush to sleep. As we said, irony is a wasted quality in Mumbai...

Goa Goan Gone
Our first encounter was serendipitous. Soaked in a sudden downpour and without transport in Goa's Calangute, we dived in what looked like a tiny hut with a few tables and chairs. We had no idea that it was an evening-only eatery, and one of Goa's most popular with local residents, paean to mind blowingly good Goan home cooking.

Lloyd Braganza
Lloyd Braganza

The pleasant young man behind the stove introduced himself as Lloyd Braganza of Saipem, and many of the dishes were from his mother's kitchen. By any standards, the evening turned out to be a huge success as we ate vindaloo and sorpotel, as cars whizzed by not even a few feet away.

A few months later, when we saw that Braganza had blossomed his mom-and-son enterprise into a fulsome, utterly charming cafe in his ancestral family mansion, as the House of Lloyds, we almost took parental credit. Which is why we were thrilled to hear that, next weekend, Braganza himself will be in Mumbai to serve up his legendary Goan fare at the speakeasy bar, 'Please Don't Tell' (PDT) at Lower Parel and were dreaming clams and chops dreams.

The event has been put together by a company called Trekurious, and the event will kick off their series of planned Goan pop-ups in the city (some of the other names doing the rounds are Bomra, which serves Burmese cuisine in Candolim, and L'Atelier, the fusion Indo-French joint in Ashwem). Surf's up.

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