Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Getting into bed with Britain....

This was written for the Asian Age \ Deccan Chronicle
Oh I came across this lovely picture with my daughter Avantikka, shot by my darling cousin, ace photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha

Dear Mr. Cameron, the natives are restless tonight…

British PM David Cameron is hip, hot and sexy. A little like that other perennial British pin-up – Elizabeth Hurley. What fun! They can be conveniently bracketed in the ‘same same but different’ category given their India connections. Hurley is married to Mr. Bandgala… and it sure looks like Cameron is ready to wear one. What better way to woo those restless natives. All for a good cause , of course! As photo-ops go, his ‘namastey’ in Bangalore made a few front pages. As good p.r.giri goes, his references to national icons and symbols ( SRK, Sachin, curry, lingo) during his Bangalore lecture for 2,000 techies, won him several extra brownie points. Cameron is a smart cookie, and it really was high time the British figured out how the cookie crumbles in India. A steamy Indo-British romance is heavily in the air. So far, we are reasonably pleased with the suitor’s efforts. Cameron is on a mission to woo us – and we aren’t being bashful or coy, either. In these crass and nakedly commercial times, nobody should shy away from discussing lolly. In fact, it should be the number one item on the agenda – money. How much are we going to make after getting into bed with Britain? I’m all for a pre-nup. That’s the bottom line, everything else is secondary. Once those dirty filthy commercial details are taken care of, Manmohan Singh can also praise Lady Gaga, Elton John and their cricket captain. But he must never ever make the mistake of praising British food or else the world will know he is lying.
Courtship rituals vary, but Cameron and his band of merry men ( well, mostly…. there were very few saucy lassies on his team of 90), stayed with a fairly traditional, even predictable script. The mood was ‘Hawk-ish’ – the Rs.5,200 crore deal for advanced jet trainers is in the bag. There were several other ‘farmaishes’ on the British wish list – from UK law firms interested in setting up shop in India,to British banks and supermarket players like Tesco getting down to serious business here. Let’s do a little singalong folks, “ All I want is a deal somewhere…. far away from this cold nightmare…… oh, wouldn’t it be loverly”?? This two-day visit – let’s call it a quickie - spells (and smells of) just one thing – cash. But at least there is no fake attempt at making the whirlwind trip sound like anything other than what it is – a shopping jamboree.
Cameron’s crack team is packed with cuties, too. George Osborne whizzed through Mumbai, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, despite his hysterical schedule. As always, Mumbai’s unchallenged power couple,Parmesh and Adi Godrej pulled out all the stops and showed the visitors what the mega watt Mumbai magic is all about at a marvelously structured dinner party for sixty of their closest and dearest friends – other industrialists, Bollywood stars, fashionistas, socialites, writers, professionals. It was a dazzling line up of the city’s best and brightest, to say nothing of the hottest. Since the dishy under-40 Chancellor of the Exchequer was the star invitee, Mumbai sat up and took notice, giving him the sort of ‘bhav’ generally reserved for Bollywood royalty and nobody else. An invitee who had flown in from Delhi especially for the soiree commented wryly, “ Thank God for Adi and Parmesh. Thank God George’s first impressions of India will be formed at an evening like this, rather than at a stuffy Delhi dinner,where guests often ignore the visiting chief guest and gherao the local politicians present. The Mumbai crowd is so much more blasé and cosmopolitan – the guy can relax and have a great time.” Well, given that gallons of Dom were generously flowing and the dinner table was laden with baked crab and salmon, it must have been very difficult for Georgie Boy to concentrate on biz talk or even believe he was indeed in India. How many times did he pinch himself that night???The enticing stretch of the glittering Queen’s Necklace glittered wickedly beyond the tranquil infinity pool of the Godrej mansion . Ironic! The Queen (Victoria) to whom this ‘necklace’ was dedicated was the Empress of British India at the time! And now every Mumbaikar believes this priceless necklace belongs to him \ her – as it indeed does. Members of Georges’ team were caught ogling the lovely ladies present.The lucky visitors had the chance to feast on enough eye candy to give them a belly ache for weeks. Gorgeous men and women floated around dressed in the most eye popping couture. A mega industrialist’s beautiful wife was sporting a whopper of a diamond ( not less than 40 carats )… and oh-so-casually at that ( over a classic black dress). Everywhere one turned, there was red hot glamour ( starting with the hostess dressed in a figure hugging red Herve Leger). Mercifully, there wasn’t a behenji in sight, as the Dilliwalla observed, while he braced himself for round two of partying in the Capital the following night.
Well, the Big Boys from Britain have successfully pulled off a charm initiative. As a seasoned legal eagle who attended a cruelly timed (7 a.m) breakfast meeting with Osborne , the morning after the night before, commented, “ He made all the right noises and kept repeating, ‘We are here to learn’… that’s a good place to start.” You bet! Especially when you forget to add, “We are here to sell….” Let us watch how it goes once the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE), make it official.
It is pay back time, buddies. We know how to drive hard bargains and squeeze the testicles of trading partners when needed. Your time begins now - tick tick tick tock . The mouse ran up the clock. Big Ben and Rajabai Tower are the new BFFs in town.
Oye, Lucky, Oye!!


Anonymous said...

Will read post later.
First let I comment:
Beautiful 60+
That pink sari is old one rewinds memory-mother used to wear the same.
very very nice picture.
Thanks for sharing.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

First things first.
Areey please, please don't take Lady Gaga from us! She is our own local middle finger flicking local baseball team supporting, hugely talented and very thankfully... slightly subversive and not quite apple pie New Yorker! His excellency in the blue turban is welcome to sing her praises too but she is American:)

The picture is lovely. Liked daughters necklace and the color she is wearing. Pink looks lovely on you.
Saris are just wonderful. They are slowly becoming staples in my desi wardrobe. Now if only I could find a desi tailor to make me up some proper blouses. Every tailor can whip up a mean salwaar kameez blindfolded but none to make a proper blouse! But then on my last trip to the old homestead, sari blouses looked like they are totally optional in urban India at any social events after 5 pm.

The British are a very wily lot. Nuff said.

sunil golcha said...

you look stunning shobha

a hindu seeker said...

i am always in favor of pre-nups.

anamika said...

Arre Shoba..let yur daughter have some space man..how can u compete her at this age..:P


UjjwalRaaj said...

LOL. Epic this one was.

obssesor said...

Great one...and your daughter looks good!!

Divya (Virmani) Chadda said...

stunning pic as always. Both of your daughters look real good. A special mention for your daughter's necklace... I'll be going back to Mother India and that necklace is on my list now... :) :)

and yeah, as always, another well-written article!

Latha said...

Okay so there was glamour & glitter all around ! Lots of eye candy...who's who & what not. We shall imagine everything. So nice...there goes ms Godrej...Cameron....& Mumbai's glitterati. Sounds nice. You know what. It was like listening to a radio drama without the visuals.
Squeeze in some pictures, ma De. Never mind the delay. That's the prize we pay. You can start the process of uploading & go give a cucumber massage to your eyes. Even if it finishes uploading it'll wait for you. Computers are meant to wait for us. We are not meant to wait for them.
Nice deal. So this is the way business is done ! Nice piece in these days of 'recession'.

The Panorama said...

Interesting post. It's funny how times change and the British are now wooing India again. The last time they did that, they overstayed their welcome by a century. Lets just hope, it's different this time.

The picture is lovely and you look stunning in pink!

kakaka said...


i assume you wrote tht cuz she calls herself gaga.
at times like this i realise, you are not from our gen.
you look prtty in the pic!

Harish said...

Firstly... gautam rocks, even when he clicks candid pics.

and de, avantika and you look like behen behen. You no way look like her Maata. O! you know even i have a yummy mummy, used to love it when my friends used to tell me that woman is so pretty... and i would listen to all their adjectives and then proudly proclaim.. She is my Mom. :)

so glad that avantika has the prettiest mom, just like me. :)


parmeshwar guest line... the fleets of diggajjs of the world stop by her feet. :)

david is vivid. ekdam jabardast like a dose of viagra. as compared, our desi pigs cant even hide behind leaves of fig... though there are some exceptions... what to do... the 99% of bad politicos give the remaining 1% a bad name.

And so nice that GarmaGaram David played his innings well, by hitting a sixer with brand NewIndia - Sachin, SRK and curries... (wonder why he missed out Rahman and jai ho! ) Manmohan sings an english opera.. (well, his gyaan and gaan of hindustaani economics has not made any ones Man Mohit you see) ...

in past, all firangi connections have just been atrangi... lets keep our fingers crossed and hope this shaadi doesnt end in barbaadi.

wish david singh and manmohan cameron give birth to a new india.

saima said...

hi shobha,
i am saima from bbc. i have been crazily trying to reach out to you for a telephonic interview. the number that i had doesnt exist anymore!
please mail me your contact info. my email id is saima.iqbal@bbc.co.uk


Pooja Rathore said...

The pic' is beautiful( the credit goes to your cousin for his camera skills)both of you look gorgeous - Avantika is preety , i like the expression on your face.
I LIKED THE POINT - "money" the essential rest non-essential.

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Tanvi said...

The thing is i am your fan!!!
I had a lesson in my twelfth grade written by you, and i was really happy to read it :)

Your writings range from different satirical to the new age cool and true writings. I loved your this post too. You and your daughter look great :D

Unknown said...

love love love this post
I love the potshots at the dilliwallas ...but then ... you are always anti delhi (and so was I) .... if only the dilliwalas could be sporty enough and respond !!!
Its like New York and LA !!!
*wink* *wink*

Unknown said...

gee...shobhaa (whats with the extra 'a'???) read your blog....your writing leaves much to be desired...you try too hard to be funny n sassy....and don't accomplish either of the two....for crying out loud...get some life in your words lady....

Debu's Blog said...

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Sidhusaaheb said...

"hip, hot and sexy"?

With a slight paunch and a hint of a double-chin?

Well, if you say so.


BTW, the AJT deal hardly looks like a hard-driven bargain, at least to me.

Unknown said...

whats happening....3 days and still no post!!!

Pranavam Ravikumar said...


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Suruchi Puri (Author) said...

Both of you are looking gorgeous..and standing pretty in saris...

visit:- http://rhymesandverses.blogspot.com/

Jyostna said...

OMG u n ur daughter look like u guyz r of same age grp..not to offend ur darling but u luk equally young. post not yet read

Alpana Verma said...

You both look soooooooooo beautiful...
pink suits you a lot!

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