Uggghhhhgggaaah! That's the guttural sound I produced when I went to Harper Collins' launch party for Mita Kapur's F-word.
The evening was full of surprises for me. First surprise I get on crossing over to Eros Cinema is this: Eros is screening Hindi films. Gone are the days when I used to tremble with excitement when I would buy tickets for: Trinity Is Still My Name, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Towering Inferno, such like movies of the seventies. Ah! Those days are gone I say to myself.
Then I see that they have done up and renamed "Sundance Café" into "Chez Nous" (Pardon my ignorance, what does this mean? I am too lazy to use Google translate.). Gah!
Again I go to Eros East side and see Valhalla (the hall in which the souls of heros slain in battle were received by Odin) and a form breezes past me with the slightest of nods. The Griff is here, I think (He has waist-length hair, you know. I am jealous of him. The reason is when I grow hair all I get is a few wisps below my bald spot at the back of my neck and when I tie it in a pony tail, it rather looks like a pig's tail. Gah!). So, this must be important. That's surprise three.
Then when I open the doors of Valhalla, I have this feeling of enjoying some salacious passages from online friend Mita Kapur's "F-word". I was completely, no, totally, taken aback when salaciousness was replaced by talked of salads and dal tadka (sauted lentil soup).
So there was Shobhaa De in conversation with Mita Kapoor, who I had seen only in photographs. Here were two very articulate women in conversations and again I go "Gah!" Not only because I didn't get the salaciousness I expected.
So there I am standing beside The Griff and all the television cameras and Cannon EOS cameras get trained on me and The Griff (because he has waist-length hair, and all) and I think I have become some sort of celebrity. But, that's only reflected celebrity-dom. "Gah!" I go.
There are celebrities plenty at the launch. Om Puri is present with Nandita Puri (made up I guess). There is Rashmee Uday Singh (or, someone who looked like her), other people who were celebrities or trying hard to look like celebrities: neat beards, long hair, glasses with fluorescent strips on the sides, ponytails, you know, the works….
Since I had joined in the middle of the launch I wasn't aware of what vibes were going on, or, what had already taken place. Mita is absolutely articulate about her book (which incidentally is about Food and not the other "F-word" your dirty mind was conjuring up), about restaurants, about what to cook when you are dead tired, and various domestic situation she has faced.
"I put my daughter on rice and dal (lentil) for the rest of the week after the binge," she says. Good. Mr. Kapur is smiling supportingly from the side. A lot of family is in attendance so, obviously, a lot of Punjabi bon homie is on display. I love their earthiness.
Shobhaa says there aren't any good Maharashtrian restaurants. I would suggest that she stop at Belapur on the way to Pune and have Kombdi Vadi and other Malvan food at Chillies in Sector 6, Belapur. That's where I order the said delicacy.
I meet Ramesh Gowri Raghavan and David DeSousa, my Facebook friends. The latter I am meeting for the first time after being be-friended online through a common friend. It's amazing how we connect with people on Facebook, I have made a lot of friends and keep in touch with them. I ask David how his book "Itinerants (launched at the Kala Ghoda Literary Festival)" is doing. He says it has done well and only a few copies are left.
I would have liked to meet Mita, but I saw her being mobbed for book signing and couldn't penetrate the thick crowd of admirers. So, since I had a train to catch, I left without saying "Hi." Sorry, Mita. Hope your book does well.