Guys, I have been naughty and neglected this space. My apologies! This is what happens when there's a new baby ... err... book, to deliver. Being both devout and superstitious, I went straight to the feet of Lalbaugh Chha Raja and gave the Lord my first copy ( duly gift wrapped ) of 'Shobhaa at Sixty'. I was nervous.... would we be able to jostle past the crowds and reach him? Guess what? It turned out to be a magnificent darshan, all thanks to a gentleman who shall go nameless ( he graciously said, " Darshan happens only when Ganpati Bappa calls and only due to his benevolence. Glad you had a divya darshan!"). 'Divya' , it most certainly was! Strange. When I am in Ganeshji's divine presence, I turn to mush and go blank! All the wonderful things I want to tell him, stay in my mind. All those 'requests' remain non-articulated. I can only close my eyes, surrender.... and feel uplifted! It is such an extraordinary feeling - and nearly everybody I've asked, has also told me they experience a strange power when they enter the Lalbaugh pandal, that renders them numb! I emerged from the darshan feeling twenty kilos lighter.. and in a state of unadulterated bliss. On a more mundane level, I was also famished! We rushed to my favourite restaurant SOAM, right across the road from the historic Babulnath temple. We feasted on palak and moong dal with jowar bhakri. Shudh vegetarian fare. So 'satvik' and wholesome, I want to go back for more. Soon!
Then, it was another round of back- to- back interviews, shoots ( watch out for the next issue of 'Society' - Suchitra Iyer, the clever Tam Brahm editor, and Vikram Bawa, the man with the magic lens, made me feel like a Goddess ) and, of course, my own columns. This morning I shot with Shekhar Gupta for NDTV's 'Walk the Talk', which will be telecast tomorrow night, 9.30 p.m. India time. With a repeat telecast on Sunday at 3. 30pm. I enjoyed it thoroughly, even though our last few shots took place under a downpour! The skies over Marine Drive were spectacular - deep grey and full of attitude. They were also heavy with rain, which came down in torrents as we were about to wrap up. It was time for a Bollywood -style duet! But Shekhar had a flight to catch. And I, a potential author! It was fun catching up with Shekhar - he's an old friend. What a scary memory the man has. It's scarier than mine!
As I write this, several Ganpatis are bidding farewell to the city. I have had my fair share of 'ukdi modaks' ( steamed to perfection , with the right balance of jaggery , freshly grated coconut and cardamom).
Here's a thought : Something good is happening to all those of us who have hit 6O! 'Sexy Sam' has won the National Award for 'Paa', and my darling school friend Shabana Azmi turns 60 tomorrow! It's official, folks - it's definitely super cool to be 60 - geddit???