Hong Kong was fun. But Macau was delirious - totally OTT and enjoyable even for people like us ( ha ha ha) who don't gamble and think of casinos as gigantic con shops. Macau over Chinese New Year was bursting at the seams with extraordinarily loaded Chinese tourists from the mainland. Every single hotel was fully booked, and getting tickets for the most spectacular show on earth ( " The House of Dancing Waters' - check out their website) was a major feat ( ably accomplished by Rama - my young journo friend based in HK). This Franco- Dragone production is so techno and terrific, one keeps gasping through those ninety minutes crammed with dance, song, stunts and gushing water that appears and disappears in the blink of an eye. I hear 2 billion dollars have been invested in this mind boggling show that makes the Cirque du Soleil look amateurish!
More on HK and Macau soon. Perhaps with a few images.... I took lots of pics, including a few of the annual fireworks display in the Harbour. We watched the show from an old friend's elegant home on top of The Peak . Since it is the Year of the Rabbit, the patterns formed by the sparklers were of bunnies! Cute....
This appeared in Sunday Times....
Rahulji….. Will you be my Valentine?
A week from now, lovers the world over will go completely mad on Valentine’s Day – and guess who’ll be laughing all the way to the bank? Florists! While I don’t plan to send guldastas to India’s heartthrob (the Dimpled One, who else?)I am all set to pen him a prem patra reflecting the ardent feelings of his panting admirers….
Dearest , Chweetipie Rahul,
I’m writing this on behalf of thousands of young girls across India, who are totally fida over you. For now, I’m leaving out the young boys. That is your special appeal. I believe you are known as the Unisex Hottie by your adoring fans. All this is good for any young person’s ego. But as a former Agony Aunt and current Grandma Moses, let me tell you, being a heart throb is not all that easy. Especially for someone in your unique position. Dil Ki Dhadkan is one thing. But you have to deal with Desh ki Dhadkan. And this desh is vast and varied, Rahulji. As you well know.Your helicopter chakkars all over the place must have given you a pretty good idea by now. To say nothing about your impromptu visits to chhota chhota villages, with or without foreign diplomats in tow. In fact , it was your very first photo op in a jhopdi, sharing a frugal meal with the poorest of the poor that broke so many female hearts. ‘Cho Chweet’, chorused all those girls, as they watched you seated awkwardly on a khatiya, before you turned in for the night, wrapped in a rustic razai. Chicks go for such stuff big time! It brings out their motherly instinct. They feel protective and mushy. They love a man who can rough it out - it proves he is made of stern stuff. Your mama must have been worried, but that’s what mamas are for… and even though you do come across as a maa da laadla, the girls who love you believe you are definitely not spoilt (“ bighad nahi gaya”, they coo). Plus, independent minded, too. I mean, at close to forty, mama has not managed to bully you into marriage. That’s unusual in India. A feat!
Now to the crucial question : when is the big day, Rahulji? There are only two bachelor boys left in your super league, and one of them is saying he isn’t interested in getting hitched, since he already has babies! Go figure. Yup. That’s a Salman original, and if Sallu Bhai’s trail of broken hearts gets any longer, there will be a line going up to the Himalayas and beyond. The other eligible bachelor boy is still a baby…. and rumour has it he is taken. Sid Mallya just may beat you in the Valentine stakes this year, especially after Baby Mallya ripped off his ganji, post-Marathon. But there are years to go before he gets hitched. Unless …. There is Ness, of course. But we guess, he has a lot on his errr… mind. The others don’t really count. Pundits ( political and the other astro kind) are predicting a shaadi for you in 2011. In fact, those in the know in Dilli ( which means, everyone) claim the date is set, and the dulhan is getting her trousseau ready even as we speak. Bol Rahul, bol, sangam hoga ki nahi? If wedding bells are about to clang, you’d better beat the British royals to the altar. We don’t want our Prince to receive less international coverage than … what’s his name, again?? Yes, William.
Of late, you have been talking very sensibly. Mothers of prospective brides like that. You want to bring back all the black money stashed away in those secretive Swiss Banks. The money you say belongs to India’s poor. While we don’t really understand how India’s poor were looted of their money which is now accumulating in foreign accounts, it sounds very noble and honourable. We really like noble and honourable young men considering there aren’t too many of them around. We also liked all that stuff about rooting out corruption and cleaning up the system… your father used to say that, too. But a few unfortunate deals got in the way… most of us have forgotten, but not Mr. Ram Jethmalani, God bless his memory. The thing is, our youngsters have what is known as ADS (Attention Deficit Syndrome). They have no time for history-wistory and that is why they love you. You also don’t bother about history and boring stuff like that. You prefer action… like changing the life of that orphan boy in one minute. Niiccce! Looks good. Feels good. Reads good. Lucky boy. And your humility!! Mummyjis really appreciate that quality and keep saying how simple and humble you are even though you belong to such a great family and all that. It’s true. You asked for ten years to clean up corruption. That was simple of you. Another hot headed, impatient, show off politician would have demanded fifty. See?? Indians are sentimental and understanding. They know you are not a magician. But they also know if anybody can do it, it is you.
Rahulji, you have no rival, no equal. Even Rajni can’t match you. If there is one hero Rajni cannot take on, it is you. Mind it! So on behalf of those million hearts going dhak dhak for you this Valentine’s Day, let me wish you a super romantic, pyaar bhara time ahead. Cupid is standing by with several arrows ready. India awaits the most anticipated reality show of all time – ‘Rahul Ka Swayamvar’. All are invited. No presents please. Only blessings!!