(Clockwise from top-left) Nisha Millet, Nirmala Balakrishnan, Somika Basu and Zohara Jamal
(Clockwise from top-left) Nisha Millet, Nirmala Balakrishnan, Somika Basu and Zohara Jamal

Obtuse observation

Broadly the invitees or non-invitees can be sectioned into groups: the entitled, the FOMO kings/queens, the pretend-to-be ‘nonchalants’ and the eager-beavers.

BENGALURU: I get geared up to write my book(s) every day! My kind publisher (who is also my friend) rather sternly told me that I couldn’t be suffering from a writers’ block for two straight years!

My close friends guffaw getting entertained for free whenever I recount anecdotes of TOD’s (The Original Desperados), who are a mix ‘n’ match of the older leftovers from the Page 3 era to the newer-bees who harangue, threaten and intimidate various PRs to extend them invitations for various high-profile events.

As a result I see a healthy mix of people at various arenas (rather than the usual snobs). As a ‘people-watcher’, I observe (like a fly on the wall), different homosapiens engaged in a social dance of their own, looking covetously at the other, planning on how to further their own agendas. Broadly the invitees or non-invitees can be sectioned into groups: the entitled, the FOMO kings/queens, the pretend-to-be ‘nonchalants’ and the eager-beavers.

There can be sub-groups and further ‘subber-groups’ (wee! I just coined a new word). It’s taken me 25 years to figure this out and truth be told, I am still trying to figure out the social hierarchy! By the time my book hits the stands, I can promise that I will be less restrained!

So one could say all my outside shenanigans are purely for ‘research’! But no one told me research would be so much fun! I love eating with smaller groups of people where conversation flows and invariably, the evening unfolds to be raucous and engaging. My favourite ‘world-class-Chinese-dining’ Hakkasan, was in our city for a small ‘dekko’(sounds way better than a pop-up)!

Hosted at its sister concern Yauatcha, (Yum-Cha, meaning tea and Dim-sum meaning house), the meal needless to say was superlative! I must admit that I have never had even a couçi-couça meal at any of their outlets. Fresh produce, fabulous cooking techniques and consistency are all hall-marks of a great meal.

Of course, as a true-blue writer I carried my extensive research to the revival of Dum-Pukth cuisine at The Windsor Manor by the legendary chef Ghulam Qureshi, the scion of the even more legendary Imtiaz Qureshi, who has given Dum Pukth many of their inimitable recipes. I was fortunate to dine on the master Imtiaz’s table twice before and his take on Awadhi, Lucknowi and NE Frontier cooking was unsurpassable.

Since my better half’s name was the same as his father, chef took a shine to us and it was great to be pampered by him much to the chagrin of his other fans! The lovely Sabrina Dey has taken charge of the iconic Windsor Manor and it was refreshing to see youth, glamour, charm and intelligence rule the roost at the table!

The lovely Ruma Singh is a dear friend, a former journalist, an oenophile and a member of the London-based Circle of Wine Writers. She played moderator to an insightful conversation with Rajeev Samant Founder/CEO of Sula Wines with a formal wine tasting session and hors-d’oeuvres crafted especially for the wines. The room at The Oberoi was packed to capacity as the discerning audience paid rapt attention to the conversation and the wines…which were truly exceptional, especially the Rasa Cabernet Sauvignon! Wine drinking and appreciation is an elegant custom…

We are coming of age baby!

(The writer’s views are personal)

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