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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Thinking Women First

mumbai Updated: Jul 12, 2019 01:10 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,malavika's mumbaistan,suhasini haider

Barkha Dutt, Suhasini Haider and Yamini Aiyar.

“We were in Bangkok for a track-two India-Pakistan conference, and decided to make an evening of it,” said Barkha Dutt, noted TV anchor and listed columnist for the Washington Post about this portrait of Alpha women that features herself with fellow-TV anchor Suhasini Haider and president and chief executive of the Centre for Policy Research Yamini Aiyar, under a beautiful sky. All three women had grown up in Delhi and carved formidable careers for themselves, more or less around the same time and in the same circles, and the bonhomie was understandable; but it was made more special because it was hard-won. After all, Yamini’s and Suhasini’s fathers, the fiery Congressman Mani Shankar Aiyar and BJP’s equally fiery Subramanian Swamy, respectively, have crossed swords, pitched armed battles and aimed sharp and hurtful words at each other’s political affiliations and ideological leanings for decades. As for Barkha and Suhasini, they too have found themselves fronting programmes on competing TV channels, chasing those elusive TRPs in countless news cycles. Mercifully, as mature and intelligent people, the women did not allow such exigencies to mar their evening together. After all, friendships, shared histories or even just an evening, is not worth destroying over politics, ideological differences or supposed enmities. “We walked to some great Thai food at a local joint, and then celebrated on the rooftop, with gin under a lovely sky,” said Barkha,who besides her daily TV appearances is getting ready to scale up her successful, ‘We the Women’ talkfest from a one-city event to four cities this year, as well as launch a web portal with an exciting new digital collective this August. About the picture, she signed off: “Thinking women, gin, a lovely sky and the full possibility of life. What more can a girl ask for?” Indeed.

True Lies
When this svelte yummy mummy walked out of her marriage and closed the doors on a powerful film family, many saw her as a home-breaker and called her irresponsible. What few knew was that even as she put on a brave face and tried to give the break-up as much grace and dignity as she could muster, she had suffered years of indignity behind closed doors, her friends say. “One of the family members is the stingiest person you can imagine,” they say in her support. “For all the success and fame, the household budgets with which she was expected to run her kitchen fires on were shockingly mean; the entire family’s kitty was under the vice-like control of this person, so much so that even for her personal belongings, she had to make requests and have them discussed with all members of the extended clan at the dinner table,” the friends said. Apparently, the last straw was when a request for a holiday with her son came up for review and was turned down. All that glitters is not Chanel?

Overheard:
‘What ya Kohls,
we’d brought out the dhols,
perhaps in haste,
So sure we’d win
Made so much din
But to lose to the Kiwis
Spurred on by their biwis
If we lost to the Poms or Oz
We wouldn’t feel so shit
The problems remain
Who at no 4
Pant is too raw
And the rest of the batting
Depends on you and the Rohit-man
We played like champs
Perhaps a small revamp?
So where do you go from here bro?
For starters don’t feel blue, yo!’
-Ode to Kohli and Co penned by playwright and director Rahul da Cunha yesterday.

Going Corporate

Himanshu Taneja with Saif Ali Khan.

It’s been something of a dizzying shimmy up the corporate ladder for chef Himanshu Taneja, a familiar face in Mumbai’s F&B circles. The affable IHM Trivandrum graduate (he was batch-mates with chef Gaggan Anand) had spent six years at the JW Marriott in Juhu before taking over the reins of the St Regis Hotel following the large-scale merger of Marriot and Starwood a couple of years ago. Then, last year, he traded his chef’s coat for a suit-and-tie, when he was promoted to the post of Culinary Director for the Marriot group in India, a role that would see him in charge of the hospitality major’s 100 or so hotels in India. Now, word comes in that earlier this week, there was more reason for cheer, as Taneja was promoted again, this time as culinary director, South Asia, for the group, a high-ranking post on the corporate ladder. As we were saying, it’s been something of a dizzying shimmy up the corporate ladder for chef Himanshu Taneja.

First Published: Jul 12, 2019 01:10 IST