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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: That old-school tie

mumbai Updated: Apr 13, 2018 16:24 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Shekhar Kapur (left) and Amitabh Kant.
Shekhar Kapur (left) and Amitabh Kant.

“Shekhar and I are from both the same school and college — Modern School and St Stephen’s College, Delhi. I have known him for a long while,” said Amitabh Kant, the IAS officer, who distinguished himself, among other things, with his brilliant campaigns for government initiatives like God’s Own Country and Make in India.

“Shekhar was senior to me,” says the CEO of the all-powerful NITI Aayog, about this picture that features the dapper and urbane duo deep in discussion. “It was shot at the NITI headquarters. He is a fascinating guy as he has constantly kept himself abreast of new technology, unique innovations and cutting-edge disruptions,” he says of the director of films as varied as Mr India, Phoolan Devi and Masoom. “I was impressed with his evolution as a person with immense knowledge of artificial intelligence, machine learning and block chain.”

Wonder if they swapped stories of college and school days, too?

Kebab nights

Word comes in that former model, cookery show host and author, the svelte Padma Lakshmi, was in Mumbai this week for a brand endorsement. The lady, who is said to have had a busy schedule filled with shoots and media interactions, found time to fulfil a food craving. Onlookers were surprised to see her walk into the roadside Mughlai eatery in Colaba, Bade Miya, which is just a stone’s throw away from her hotel, late one evening. The Top Chef host is said to have been with friends when she went to get her fix of the eatery’s famous tikkas and rolls, making sure to capture everything she ate on camera. Interestingly, Lakshmi, who when she isn’t on camera, prefers vegetarian fare, ordered a roll with extra mixed vegetables in it, while happily sitting in relative anonymity on the Colaba sidewalk on a balmy Mumbai summer evening.


Dept of flying

AIB’s brilliant spoof on nightmare air passengers, which aired on a TV channel this week and the recent manhandling by Indigo staff of Dr Saurabh Rai, who objected to mosquitoes on his aircraft, has got us thinking about the business of flying. For us, flying is a Zen experience; indisputable evidence that it is better to journey than to arrive.

Having said that, who amongst us does not have flying quirks? Ours is queues. We love standing in them. Except: They must be absolutely straight, with every one waiting their turn patiently. A well-formed queue is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. But in India, we have the Queue Vandal. You must have met him/her before.

The person whose family honour will not, under any circumstances, allow them to stand in a queue. They either sidle up to your left or right, just close enough behind you, to make you think they might edge you out when you reach the top; or, he/she will try to disrupt the queue by dodging in and out, so that no one can ever accuse them of having stood in line.

So, top of our list of flying bugbears are Queue Vandals.

Next week’s flying bug bear: Ground staff, who check you in without looking up from their computer screens even once!

Congress cubs

He is known in Delhi circles as ‘the gatekeeper’, given his proximity to AICC president Rahul Gandhi. But his role as a member of RaGa’s office isn’t his only claim to fame. Kaushal K Vidyarthee, 33, was born in a small town in Bihar and went on to graduate with a DPhil degree (the equivalent of a PHD) in Social Policy from Oxford University, as an Inlaks scholar. His education — he was also the vice-president of the Oxford University Student Union — seemed to have shaped his professional interests in urban planning, poverty reduction and women empowerment, for which he spent two months in East Africa doing field work before joining the Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana — the poverty reduction and women empowerment initiative wing of the Rajiv Gandhi Trust. Given his bashful nature, he is seldom spotted in public while accompanying Gandhi during his travel, but is the man to call in Delhi to arrange a meeting with the leader of the Opposition. No surprises then that Kaushal, along with Divya Spandana, who is in charge of Gandhi’s social media and online re-positioning of the Congress, is said to be part of RaGa’s inner circle, among those heralding the much-touted Cong Renaissance that is said to be underway. No surprises then that they are the ones to watch closely as the general elections approach.

First Published: Apr 13, 2018 16:24 IST

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