Malavika’s Mumbaistan: College HumourUpdated: Aug 30, 2019 09:12 IST
Along with Shashi Tharoor and Kabir Bedi, they are both alumni of Delhi’s celebrated St Stephen’s college and therefore expected to be articulate and witty. So, when NITI Aayog chairman Amitabh Kant dealt with his fellow Stephanian Shekhar Kapur, a rapier-like put-down, couched in humour, no one was surprised. It all began when Kant tweeted his enthusiasm about AI, describing it as the single largest technological revolution of our lives with a potential to disrupt all aspects. “It’s a once in a generation phenomenon,” the bureaucrat had said, adding, “For India, an incremental USD 957 billion could be added to GDP by 2035, boosting India’s annual growth by 1.3% points”. Kapur’s response appeared to be as laconic as his approach to film-making. “Are you talking about AI?” he asked his college mate. Perhaps, tired of all the policy-tweaking and statistics, Kant took the opportunity to indulge in some college-canteen humour. “It’s artificial intelligence and not Air India nor Artificial Insemination,” he shot back. Incidentally, Kapur’s Twitter handle has earned him much grief in recent times. A few weeks ago, Javed Akhtar had trolled him for one of his utterances with a ‘Shekhar sahib, you are not well. You need help. Come on, there is no shame in meeting a good psychiatrist. Cut this melodrama you poor rich but lonely guy.”
Time to go back to college?
They belonged to the same party and were seen as its brave new face, initiating it into fresher, younger ways like social media and public outreach and there were many who said that this attractive duo was also a couple. That they made a very handsome pair and were both single should have been reason enough to go public with their liaison, if it existed. But for some reason, their friendship was never made public and very soon, the lady in question, a bright spark by any standard, became the victim of party infighting and was removed from her position and relegated to the backroom. That her departure from the center of things coincided with his floundering, gave people one more reason to suspect that it had been more than a friendship after all. But none of this was ever acknowledged or confirmed by the couple itself, leaving it nothing more than a rumour in the public imagination. But now, sources confirm what people had only speculated about. The two they say had been a couple and had been spotted on occasions, spending time away from the public eye, in each other’s company at romantic dinners. Politics and romance are not known to make good bedfellows, but now that both have seen their political careers go pear-shaped, perhaps the romance can blossom?
“Our politicians tell lies, and then the media misreports those lies. We officially have fake fake news.”
- Stand up Comedian Vir Das
According to guests who attended the Mumbai reception to celebrate the wedding of Manasi Kirloskar and Neville Tata last week at the Taj Palace, Apollo Bunder, there was much to note. The groom is the son of Tata scion Noel and Aloo Tata (daughter of Pallonji Mistry) and thus closely related to Shapoor and Cyrus Mistry, as well as Ratan Tata .“First of all, it was the epitome of understated elegance,” said a guest. “Right from the flowers, decorations and setting of the venue, to the dinner banquet which was to die for, the chefs had really outdone themselves. Also the fact that even though there were so many guests in attendance, there were somehow no queues and everyone got to meet the couple in a relaxed manner, was a lesson in dignity and graciousness,” she says, adding, “Senior Tata executives along with Ratan Tata and Simonne Tata were present and given that the Taj group is a Tata-owned company, the hotel’s senior-most staff was in full force and yet, everything was done discreetly, with no one being made to feel that it was anything out of the ordinary.” One more thing, we are informed that as a marked departure from norm, the wedding couple showed up at their own reception exactly an hour before their guests were invited, unlike other receptions where the wedding couples arrive half way through the festivities, citing fatigue or wardrobe issues. “They arrived on the dot, greeted their guests with warmth and were there till the very end,” says the guest. Interestingly, we are informed that though Ratan Tata arrived around 8pm and was there for a full half hour, no one saw a face-to-face between him and his erstwhile Tata chairman Cyrus Mistry, with whom he has had a very public falling out.
“They must have timed it perfectly to avoid any awkwardness at the happy family occasion,” says the guest.
First Published: Aug 29, 2019 23:46 IST