It’s the beginning of a weekend and nearing the witching hour. The time when the creatures of the night will come out to play.
On the terrace of a GK-2 house, the scene is set: music sets the mood as trays line up with choicest cigars, varieties of sushi (the most famous Japanese dish outside the country), long stemmed glasses of champagne and sake (a Japanese rice wine).
Soon the guests will arrive and post gushy greetings, sit together to partake the finer things of life, a commonality that has brought them here. And threading all this together is 29-year-old Sharik E Currimbhoy, heir and grandson of cosmetics diva Shahnaz Husain.
“We started out as a cigar club and then I realised that as people in our circles travelled extensively, their tastes broadened.”
He held the first sushi-sake get together at his in-laws place in Jorbagh in April this year. “Nearly 150 people turned up for it, since then it has become almost a monthly affair,” he says. The second edition of the party apparently saw 500 guests in attendance and Currimbhoy claims even “Michelle Obama’s second cousin” put in an appearance.
The club is evidently an ‘exclusive’ one, as other members explain that Currimbhoy personally screens all those who wish to become a part of this la-di-dah tribe.
“The numbers have grown through word of mouth and Facebook groups. In fact I’m going to be launching a Mumbai chapter soon,” he smiles.
Safir Anand, 38, a Delhi-based trademarks lawyer and a member finds the club an “intriguing discovery”, “an opportunity to switch off and tune into a gathering that seems a know all”.
Anand also calls it a kind of an elite dating ground. “With the smell of cigars in the air and people who have no boring office or political talk, you swing your way in a manner that not only leaves you making friends but doing so literally in a kind of mass blind date. The key however is that the blind dates are handpicked in mind, character and come with their own mindsets of fun. So much so that if at the end of sometime someone talks business too, he or she seems to be in it with you.”
The get-togethers are a combination of networking and “wild partying” and the crowd is a varied mix of socialites between the ages 20 to 60.
“Tastes are changing and maturing in India. Expats are coming in. People like me travel a lot. There is a market today for things like sushi, sake and cigars. It’s an excuse to bring like-minded people together, those who can afford a 1500-rupee cigar. Many business deals get done, conversations happen, people make friends,” Currimbhoy says, explaining the dynamics of the group.
Hospitality professional Garima Chawla, 27, says she learnt how to eat sushi at one such gathering. “It’s a fun setting, it gets people interested to learn different things,” she says. Adds Aanchal Bhatia, 33, clinical psychologist and a regular at the dos, “So far we have all been ‘warming up’. In the coming meets, we plan to learn how to make these goodies we’ve been enjoying so far!”
While Currimbhoy is busy setting up the Mumbai chapter, the current members are gearing up for the next Delhi meet, which will be held at AI in the MGF mall in Saket on 9th October.