Came across this fun picture shot in the croc park ( Australia) last year, when I was looking for some other images for a piece I am writing. It cheered me up immensely! Not that I am looking for extra cheer - I have been feeling euphoric since yesterday. Life transforming experiences do that to people. Let me just say - I am in such a state - transformed! I rushed to catch the evening aarti on Maha Shivratri (yesterday), at the Shiv temple in Colaba, and was delighted to see Dilip Maharaj, the chief pujari , conducting it with characteristic grace and devotion. There was much to thank God for.... yesterday in particular... and always.
Today, I am breaking my standard 'no lunch' rule to meet the devilish Anthony Spaeth ( a good friend, who is based in Seoul, where he edits the main English daily). He is back in Mumbai after 11 long years and cannot believe the dramatic changes his keen journalistic eye has been taking in. Why did I refer to him as a 'devil'? Well, many moons ago he was the writer assigned by TIME magazine to profile me. And he was the culprit who coined that annoying, nonsensical 'Jackie Collins of India' tag, which has become an albatross around my neck since! Perhaps, I should even the score with Tony and take him to a real dump for lunch. Punishment enough? I don't think so. Your verdict, guys???
This appeared in Bombay Times on monday......
The ‘fringe’ routinely has its moments as a style statement… I guess, it’s enjoying that moment now.Especially in Bollywood. The only actress who had dared to sport a fringe in the old days was Sadhana ( recently embroiled in an ugly property dispute). I recall taking a scissor to my own hair after watching one of her films and cutting an uneven, untidy fringe. It looked awful! And my parents were exceedingly cross with me.Perhaps Sadhana herself was taking a cue from the gamine Audrey Hepburn, who wore her fringe most elegantly. It kissed her forehead and high-lighted her expressive eyes perfectly. All these images flashed past me as I greeted Urmilla Matondkar at Nari Hira’s lively party to mark 40 years of the iconic film magazine he started ( a game changer that altered not just film journalism, but mainstream journalism as well). It took me a minute to recognize the super svelte Urmilla who’d just done it – cut a lush fringe! As she put it, “ I was tired of people obsessing over my hair. Bored with the look… and ready to move on.” I have always believed Urmilla has not received due acknowledgment as an actress – she is not just good, she is very good! And smart! Years ago, both of us were speakers at a hard core Maharashtrian rally, and I recall being struck by how articulately and intelligently she expressed her thoughts. She reached out effortlessly to a huge gathering and pressed all the right buttons when she made an impromptu speech that reflected her concerns. Urmilla would make an effective parliamentarian if she ever decides to take the plunge into politics. Till then , we can watch her fringed avatar as a judge on a reality show. The girl can walk the talk, and shake a leg with the best of them. What more does the audience want??
Today is D-Day… or rather, B-Day. And Nana Chudasama will be hosting an adda as usual at his Marine Drive office. Attendance at his Budget adda is by invitation only, and it sees an interesting gathering of ‘men with opinions’. Women are not welcome! Well, they are not exactly barred from this elite club, but the macho men prefer to crunch numbers and analyse the budget over beer, bhel puri and bawdy jokes. Mumbaikars of a certain vintage will remember the scintillating deconstruction of the blessed Budget by the legendary Nani Palkhiwalla ( the grounds of the CCI Club overflowed with his fans seeking instant gyaan). Believe me, such was the power and prestige value of Nani’s extempore and erudite analysis ( strictly no notes ), that Mumbai’s best and brightest would start arriving hours in advance to grab vantage seats on the lawns. From Nani’s address to Nana’s adda – Mumbai has its own unique way of reacting to the annual trauma also known as the Budget.
Mamatadi’s railway budget made sense – literally and otherwise – only to co-Bongs. The rest of us needed translators and interpreters, or at any rate, a ticker or sub-titles would have made it possible to understand what the lady was saying with such josh. Experts on television made it easier for the aam aadmi by providing highlights and bullets. In short, Mamatadi used the opportunity to spell out her own agenda. By all means, go ahead and become the next C.M. of West Bengal….but, don’t shortchange the rest of India for your personal ambitions!