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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Of Buddies, Bestsellers and Shiva and Ganesh

Bestselling authors Ashwin Sanghi and Amish (Tripathi) have so much in common.

mumbai Updated: Mar 15, 2019 01:53 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Ashwin Sanghi and Amish
Ashwin Sanghi and Amish

We’ve often thought of featuring both in a ‘Mirror Images’ department together, because bestselling authors Ashwin Sanghi and Amish (Tripathi) have so much in common: firstly, in spite of their success, they are both amiable and grounded; both entered authorship via corporate careers; both engage with themes of mythology, history, spirituality and science; and both have the same workman-like approach to knocking off a stream of steady chartbusters. But as always, the universe beat us to it and brought them together quite serendipitously this week. “I had dropped in at a gift store in Lower Parel to pick up a small Shiva statue for my home. While I was browsing, Amish suddenly dropped in to pick up a silver Ganesh for one of his friends,” said Sanghi, a consummate teller of tales. “As you know, Amish and I started our publishing careers around the same time (2008/2009) and we are often invited to events, lit fests and seminars, where we find ourselves clubbed together because we are interested in the same topics. Amish often jokes that I am his ‘brother from another mother’.” Of course, the chance encounter resulted in much bonhomie and laughter. “The sales lady was watching, wondering if either of us was actually going to purchase anything at all or whether we were planning to use her shop as a space for socialising!” laughed the author of The Krishna Key and the Keepers of the Kalachakra. So was there a sale, then, we enquired, almost at the edge of our seat to know how the story had ended.

“Yes, I asked Amish to help me pick a Shiva statue which he graciously did,” continued Sanghi, adding, “Who better to help than the author of the Shiva Trilogy,” he concluded.

And thereby hung a tale.

Shell Phone Talk

Rohit Bal
Rohit Bal

He’s a creator of exceptional visual beauty, writes exquisitely on occasion and is now displaying promising on-cam comic skills. This week, when the fashion world’s enfant terrible Rohit Bal shared a clip of himself mincing sweet-nothings into a giant-sized ‘shell’ phone, in what sounded like a familiar and much-parodied Delhi patois, we couldn’t help being utterly delighted. “It was shot four days ago in Goa. The accent is very nouveau riche west Delhi. I was trying to spoof the current mindset of the new generation which is obsessed with gadgets and status symbols,” said the son of a colourful and artistic north Indian clan, with branches in theatre, film, music and the arts, adding, “But have no sense of style, nor any concept of subtlety or elegance.”

Or the sense and sensibility to realise that true style is when one’s words and demeanour are as valuable as the cellphone one carries.


The highest echelons of India Inc. are said to be reverberating with what is being seen as a collective egg-all-over-its-face situation this week. Apparently, during a recent visit to the city by an international corporate leader of a leading American company, a local juvenile business hot-head entered into a gratuitous argument with the visiting dignitary, regarded as something of a holy cow in these circles, and the exclusive, afternoon lunch meeting between the visiting corporate VIP and the city’s Young Turks, held at a mid-city five star, went pear-shaped after that. “It ended in a fiasco,” a source informed. “He began by challenging everything the chief guest had stated — outright — and then went on to make some pretty fantastical, outrageous and libellous allegations,” he said, shuddering. “He’s always been known as a maverick, but certainly no one saw this coming…”

Oh dear, a storm in the pea soup?

Seeing Things Her Way


Could it be the case that award-winning thespian and feisty activist Shabana Azmi takes things too literally? A few days back, the actress had reposted a popular meme, featuring three fat old bags, obviously beyond their prime and happy about it, lying on deckchairs proclaiming: “It’s exhausting being this fabulous…I don’t know how we do it.”

It played right in to the prevailing baby boomer mindset of being grateful for each passing year and noticing the irony in every situation. But Azmi had viewed it another way. “Post about senior? Oh! It was a forward from a friend,” she explained yesterday. “To be a perfect mother, wife, friend takes a lot of doing! Better to hang out with girlfriends, give a tosh about your weight and just be who you are!!” she said, which perhaps suggested a teeny case of irony-deficiency? Azmi, as is known, has been a dazzling overachiever on all fronts, ticking most of the boxes of success. Her text, accompanying the meme had read, “We have reached the age where praising ourselves is looked upon with kind indulgence by the Millennials.”

We prefer the “Better to hang out with girlfriends, give a tosh about your weight and just be who you are!!” approach, frankly.

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 01:51 IST

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