War of words

Sep 08, 2015, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Never engage in a long drawn out feud with a fellow writer, you will only end up wasting your most elegant put-downs and insults for free

Never engage in a long drawn out feud with a fellow writer, you will only end up wasting your most elegant put-downs and insults for free.

When the two czars of literary Delhi, Aatish Taseer and William Dalrymple exchanged barbed words recently in what is said to be one of Delhi's long-running battles — delighted readers were privy to some very elegant phrases free as the correspondence went viral due to leaks.

Aatish Taseer and William DalrympleAatish Taseer and William Dalrymple

What transpires is that Dalrymple in his capacity as founder director of the Jaipur literature festival had invited Taseer to next year's extravaganza to speak on Manto (who the writer had translated) and on Partition, an act innocent enough to the uninitiated eye, but one which Taseer took grave offense to.

"Willy, even you must know that you don't write to a writer in the week that he has published his most important work yet, and not so much as mention it. Manto?!" Shot off an enraged Taseer. "What is Manto compared with what I have achieved in The Way Things Were?

Do you really believe I don't know the worth of my own work? Here is a review, published yesterday — the first in the US — that goes part of the way in capturing my own high opinion of what I have done in The Way Things Were," said the literary diva adding, "Let me make this simple for you: go away and read my book.

Then sit down and put in words your own admiration of it. After that I will gladly take seriously your invitation." To his credit the older, more seasoned gladiator Dalrymple appeared placatory and weary of the needless aggro. 'There is no plot, and I am playing no game.

I genuinely hold you no grudge, though I readily admit I am bored of this pointless feud and welcome the opportunity to hold out an olive branch," wrote Dalrymple. "So please: do come to Jaipur, and while we're about it, how about we bury the hatchet?"

Of course though this does not come anywhere near the great feuds of authors like Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer, it's given readers a few delightful moments of exquisite reading. Now, to see if Taseer accepts Dalrymple's invitation and shows up in Jaipur...

Action packed week
The weekend saw a gathering of some of Mumbai's best and brightest at the roof top of the Trident for a party thrown by Videocon's Anirudh Dhoot to congratulate Chairman of VIP, Dilip Piramal for becoming President of the Indian Merchants Chambers and uber banker Rana Kapoor.

Shalini Piramal
Shalini Piramal

Seen on the occasion were Niranjan Hiranandani, Neeraj Bajaj and Praful Patel amongst others who make up India's business establishment.

Dilip Piramal, Chairman, VIP Industries Ltd, Anirudh Dhoot, Director, Videocon and Rana Kapoor, President & MD, Yes Bank
Dilip Piramal, Chairman, VIP Industries Ltd, Anirudh Dhoot, Director, Videocon and Rana Kapoor, President & MD, Yes Bank

Piramal, whose Presidency got off to a flying start what with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Governor Rao visiting the Chambers, followed by wife Shalini Piramal's steering of a spectacularly successful IMC ladies wing festival shopping extravaganza, said, "It's been quite a week. And it's only just the beginning."

Pouters without borders
Who said pouts are the prerogative of women only. Take a look at these unabashed pouters actor Abhisek Bachchan and London-based photographer Ram Shergill on the sets of the latest sequel to HouseFull where Shergill met with AB Baby (with whom he has a lot of common friends like Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla.)

Ram Shergill and Abhishek Bachchan
Ram Shergill and Abhishek Bachchan

Whilst doing a cover shoot with Akshay Kumar, "The team are currently shooting in the English countryside," said Shergill when asked about the selfie, which had elicited comments from 'Stud' 'Hotpot' to 'Perfect'!

From 'Gurgaon' to 'Goregaon'
Has Mumbai's quintessential boy AD Singh spent too much time in Delhi? It appears so. Yesterday we received a text message from the serial restaurateur Singh inviting us to the launch of his latest new venture an 'Olive in the Oberoi Mall in Gurgaon this Friday.' The Oberoi Mall in Gurgaon? We teased Singh when we ran in to him at lunch.

AD Singh
AD Singh

Surely he meant Mumbai's good old Goregaon and not Delhi's wild, wild hinterlands? Singh conceded that he'd been away from the city of his growing up years too long before informing us that this month he's got three new restaurants opening: The aforementioned Olive at the Oberoi Mall, his very popular SodaWaterBottleopener in BKC and a third Indian eatery in Delhi.

As for the hole that the shutting of Olive by Gupy has left in Sobo's eating out scene with — Singh says that from now on for him it's going North by North as far as Mumbai's concerned. "That's where it's all happening," said the man who got the Bandra club life going way back in the nineties.

Skrillex comes to town
Word comes in that Sonny John Moore, better known by his artist stage name Skrillex will be in India next month as a part of his Asia tour.

The American born DJ and electronic music producer, a 6-time Grammy award winner, who shot to fame in 2010 with his chart-topping album 'Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites' is set to perform in Mumbai on October 10, at the new Reliance JIO Gardens in BKC, the 13,000-sq m plot which is a joint initiative of Reliance Industries and MMRDA (the garden was inaugurated a couple of months ago by the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Ranbir Kapoor, this will be their first hosting of a high profile concert).

VH1 Supersonic is putting the concert together, and we hear they have plans to aggressively get into the live event space. We hope there aren't any scary monsters or mouse-heads around.

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