My darling and highly creative friend Chanda Narang who runs Frazer & Haws, is always ahead of the curve when she inspires her team to come up with new concepts and designs in silver. I was in Delhi this week for Spring Fever and was delighted to have dinner with Chanda at Tres ( Delhi's latest, smartest and uber hip bistro). Her store at Khan Market happens to be cheek by jowl to Tres. I checked out Chanda's latest creations and fell in love with these two. What do you think of them? Beautiful or what????
And yes.... do contribute to a good cause....the campaign has just kicked off. Remember , even 500 rupees can change a little girl's life forever.
This appeared in Sunday Times today...
What is there not to love about Italy and the Italians? Errrr…. we’ll get to the Marines later. Let’s start counting first : We have flipped en masse for Italian cuisine.Eating Italian has become a big, fat food trend across the country. And this generation of Indian bachchas would rather pack pasta for their nashta than parathas. Every nukkad has a pizza parlour these days. Gelatos may soon replace kulfi. We also love Italian wines and cheeses. Italian olive oil and tomatoes. Parmesan and Mozzarella have more takers here than the humble paneer and chhana. We listen to Italian opera – aah Pavarotti! Oh Domingo. We love their movies and movie stars. Our film buffs have watched Fellini,Visconti.Antonioni and worshipped Mastroianni ( Marcello, to you) for decades. Generations of desi men have fallen in love with Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Monica Bellucci.While women have swooned over De Niro and Di Caprio. Will the wild female fantasy of the Great Latin Lover never end?How can we overlook Italian design? Italian shopping? The unmatchable leather boots and saddles? Handbags and shoes? All those impeccably crafted objects of desire, guaranteed to make shopaholics go weak in the knees season after season? Have we forgotten their silks and gowns? Fancy frocks and haute couture? No, no, no. How can we not recognize the obvious – ‘Made in Italy’ means ‘Made in Heaven’? No wonder planeloads of tourists from India land up in Rome, Pisa, Venice,Napoli, Capri, Milano in search of the perfect vacation. Well- heeled travellers book their favourite villas in Tuscany months in advance and talk knowledgeably about the joys of eating al fresco at their favourite neighbourhood bistro. Si,si si – it’s true - Indians do go gaga over all things Italiano. But…all that may be a thing of the past now.
So, why has India’s love affair with Italy suddenly ended, not with a bang but a tantrum? Well, there is that nasty little business involving two maddeningly attractive Italian Marines with maddeningly melodious names (Salvatore Girone and Massimillano Latorre). They have been really, really naughty. In our part of the world, we’d call them murderous. But in Italy, these things happen. Guns go off. Innocents die. Bad stuff takes place And then finito! It’s all over. It happens like that in India as well. But what happens in India, stays in India. In Italy, things work a little differently. Promises are made. Assurances given. Lawyers and governments get involved.Two naughty Marines are locked up . And everybody waits for a fair trial. Then the Italians work on our soppy sentiments and play the X’Mas card. Awwww! We say. Poor guys. They want to spend X’Mas with their families. Let them go. They’ve promised to come back. And they will! Surprise, surprise! They do come back! And all of us heave a sigh of relief and say, “See! Those Marines kept their word.” We relax a little. The families of the murdered fishermen don’t. They know something we refuse to acknowledge. The Marines are not to be trusted. Nor is the Italian government . But, we allow the accused men go back to Italy once again. This time to cast their votes. “They’ll be back. Just like the last time…” we say. Ooooopps! That doesn’t happen. They change their minds. They are not coming back in a hurry. In fact, they are not coming back at all! Deal with it! Our chaps look terribly foolish as they tch!tch! and take the Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini, to task. He remains as cool as those gelatos we love and makes all the right diplomatic noises. Italy is our friend, we say, somewhat unconvincingly. But this is an act of hostility, someone pipes up. Contempt of our courts, roar those who don’t particularly like Italians…. especially one Italian lady who lives in Delhi. Blood is thicker than water, snipes a neta. Whose blood? What water? There is anger and confusion all around. Women who love their Italian bags, shoes, clothes and jewels, wonder whether it would appear unpatriotic to flaunt them in public now. “We must stand by our country,” they declare virtuously, and promise to boycott the Fashion Week in Milan this year. Roadside vendors of pizzas switch to selling dosas. It’s time for solidarity, we insist. Forget olive oil, it’s about time the Italians extended an olive branch, declare apoplectic politicos. La Dolce Vita does not look all that ‘dolce’ any more. And the Italian lady in Delhi is in no mood to get into this mess. Arrivederci! Ciao! It’s time to say goodbye to the absconding Marines. As for the dead fisherman and their grieving families… they will probably be taken care of the old fashioned way. For a few Euros more… of course. And they should remember to say ‘Grazie’ nicely when that happens!