Here's a pic with my all time favourite lady - the incomparable Sridevi. Was delighted to present the award to her...
Spent an incredibly warm and wonderful weekend in Goa with friends. The mood... the compatibility factor.... the sparkling conversation.... the exquisite venue, with Goan cuisine, music... and dazzling company.... it was a reaffirmation of all that is gracious and generous and genuine. I was reminded that there is something called hospitality of the old world kind still left in our businesslike world. All this, and a looooong lunch at La Plage.... a quick dekho at Soma and Bardot.... we really managed to pack a lot into our short stay...
The redone Marriott on the Mandovi, has its own quiet grace. But what a breakfast...... one of the most lavish spreads ever! From Goan sausages to waffles, eggs, aloo parathas and dosas.... was it laid on .... and did we pig out...telling ourselves it was the Carnival in Goa.... and we were there to enjoy ourselves. Errrrr.... that's code for indulging in unadulterated gluttony!
This appeared in The Week...
The best accessory at JLF
Forget literary fireworks and mighty issues involving caste, class, talent. The biggest takeaway for a lot of eager attendees at the MahaKumbh of Words and Wars in Jaipur this year was the official unveiling of the Trophy Boyfriend. It was really something else. Unveiling new titles suddenly seemed so insipid, so yesterday, as several gorgeous ladies used the platform to flash their latest acquisition – The Boyfriend. Imagine the sweet irony - last year’s status symbol, the pricy Birkin, was smoothly displaced by the flashy BF. Overnight, as it were, one of the world’s most coveted handbags appeared slightly passé in comparison to the dazzle of besotted couples happily flaunting new partners. The Jaipur Lit Fest is like that. A great equalizer, really. And it is possible to delude oneself during those five, all too brief days that there is a massive love fest going on under those beautiful Neem trees dotting the dusty grounds of Diggi Palace. Nostalgia lovers try hard to get into a languid Woodstock mood, as they relax on charpoys making goo goo eyes at their newly minted lovers. Late night parties which, disappointingly enough, never convert into full blown orgies, but are described as ‘insane’ regardless, provide the perfect ambience for coy declarations of naya naya pyaar vyaar. Whether the JLF love affair dies a swift, inglorious death like the many controversies generated on the very same lawns, is another matter. But Cupid certainly finds enough aching hearts here. Which is quite a wonderful spin- off really, especially for those in search of more than just literary stimulation.
I love the idea of today’s accomplished, confident ladies bringing their favoured men to the venue for the official coming out party. It is most apt, given the charged atmosphere here. Add to that the unbeatable comfort provided by the presence of like-minded friends and you have the perfect setting for a good and proper show off session. This is certainly a big and bold change from the sneaky old days when single, attractive ladies were expected to keep their lovers under wraps…. till a ring was produced and the relationship was suitably sanitized. How boring! In today’s far more relaxed environment, it is only in the fairness of things that the official boyfriend is regarded with no extra special interest. He is looked over… assessed….and post-scrutiny,given appropriate marks – as is his woman! The JLF has become some sort of a litmus test for relationships. If you make it here as a couple, you can make it anywhere.
‘Couples’ is a rather old fashioned description. ’Companions’ sounds too cold….even books are described as companions. But it is still a big improvement on ‘Plus One’. However, nothing beats the slightly sinful ring to the word ‘Boyfriend’. It’s just that much sexier .
What I do not know at this point is this : Are the men comfortable with the new positioning? Does it make them feel a little less diminished… or more? I read a quote recently which made me think about this from a man’s perspective. It came from a talented actor called Randeep Hooda, who for years and years was known simply as Sushmita Sen’s boyfriend. He sounded miffed . Some of the other boyfriends of famous women I have met, don’t sound as miffed . If anything, they appear mighty pleased to be linked to influential, successful, high profile career ladies. The ladies themselves appear to be entirely comfortable with their men, too, which is perhaps how it really should be.Years ago I had written a column on a similar topic. The boyfriend in that column was a good looking young actor who had been acquired by a Grande Dame. And ‘acquired’ is the appropriate word here. Today’s boyfriends are a different breed altogether. They are not toy boys. They are adventurers. They lead reasonably successful lives themselves, but do not enjoy as much fame and recognition as their partners. They are obviously turned on by power women. At the JLF, there were at least ten such combos. Of course, the couples attracted a fair amount of attention and gossip. But what the hell. I liked their attitude . The women were unapologetic and out there as they did the social rounds.The JLF was their old stomping ground, after all. And the men seemed pretty cool, too. I did overhear someone say in utter astonishment, “ What do you know! The boyfriend is intelligent …. and he actually reads!” Take that for a between the lines barb, if you wish. But girlfriends of famous men have heard worse. It’s the turn of the boyfriends now. Deal with it, guys.