They are both advocates of peace and compassion. So yesterday, when His Holiness The Dalai Lama invited New York-based author and wellness guru Deepak Chopra, along with a small group of his overseas followers, to his residence in Dharamshala, as expected, it was a sublime experience. The 84-year-old Tibetan leader set the tone of the meeting with his characteristic humour starting the session with a reference to the traditional Maori way of greeting by rubbing of noses, rubbing his against a delighted Chopra’s. After that, the mood of the awestruck sombre audience dissolved into one of laughter and informality and the revered spiritual leader spoke about the burning issues facing the world such as global warming, the threat of nuclear weapons and war. “It is now an acknowledged fact by scientists that 95% diseases, be it cancer, auto immune diseases or heart ailments, are caused by inflammations in the body,” said Chopra, making the point that war, global warming and violence were part of the same syndrome. Interestingly, when asked by a member of the audience, who were the world leaders he admired, The Dalai Lama mentioned Mahatma Gandhi, Independent India’s first President Rajendra Prasad and German Chancellor Willy Brandt. The convivial assembly ended with the octogenarian revealing that his mission over the next 10 years was to spread the knowledge of ancient Indian teachings, especially from Nalanda; and then he affectionately pulled the jeans and sweater-clad Chopra towards him saying, “Since I have been studying these texts from Nalanda since childhood, I think I am more Indian than even you are.”
Being A Sport
Most cricketing enthusiasts have heard the story of the yesteryear politician who had a love for cricket. The politico was so obsessed by the sport that he often fancied playing it along with his supporters during free time on campaign trails. The story goes that when the politco would go on the field to bat, his sycophantic party colleagues in the opposing team, eager to win his favour, would throw the ball for sixes instead of catching him out. Mercifully, times seem to have changed and we were glad to hear that when Shiv Sena cub Aaditya Thackeray took to the field over the weekend in an under-arm cricketing tournament, where he is one of the team owners, he received no such favours. Thackeray, who has often lent his name and clout to promote sporting and fitness initiatives like football and mixed martial arts, was spotted giving it a go by batting. “Some games you play for fun, some to win,” he said, about the occasion. “It’s important that we all get a chance to play and that we step out to play, no matter who we are and what we do.” And we are happy to report, no catches were dropped.
Not Too Many Chefs
It’s not often you find genuine bonhomie between some of India’s most famous celebrity chefs. But this weekend, word comes in that the New York-based chef Vikas Khanna dropped in to taste the food at Indya, the recently-opened restaurant by chef Vineet Bhatia in Dubai. Both chefs have much in common, having left India at an early age to find success and win Michelin stars in their chosen cities, Vikas in New York and Vineet in London. But they seem to share a mutual regard which is uncharacteristic in an industry filled with jealousy and one-upmanship. “The chef I have admired all my life is Vineet Bhatia. Had one of the best dinners of my life at Indya, Dubai,” shared Khanna, along with the photo of the two during their kitchen rendezvous. And on the subject of famous Indian Michelin-starred chefs, we are informed that London-based Atul Kochhar, who seems to have moved on from his tweeting controversy which cost him two of his restaurants, will soon be back in action. “Atul will soon launch his latest venture Kanishka on Maddox Street in Mayfair just around the corner from Benares,” informs out source. All’s well?
Party Hearties Unlimited
A mega Game Of Thrones-themed party was hosted for around 250 guests by real estate developer Milan and wife Kalpana Loonkar to celebrate the latter’s 40th birthday this weekend at the Four Seasons. From the entrance, which featured screens of LED-created fire and a massive throne festooned with armour, shields and crowns, where guests could have their pictures taken, to the main party area bedecked with a gold-painted forest, sofas covered in animal skin prints and benches made of logs, and gold masks and fog to simulate the perfect ambience, no stone is said to have been left unturned to create the mood of the popular fantasy drama. But it was not the décor alone that had guests raving about the attention to detail. A saxophonist, a Brazilian percussionist and international Burlesque dancers along with DJ Aqeel, to rev up the crowd, added to the aura. What’s more, according to sources, this was not the only bash to celebrate the hostess. In the run up to her special day, a series of back-to-back parties, each more meticulously planned and executed, had been hosted by her circle of friends to mark the occasion. And with so much excitement over GoT in the air, no surprises that the hashtag was #kueenswearkrowns