The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
One evening The Delhi Walla attended the launch of journalist Vinod Mehta’s second volume of memoirs, Editor Unplugged: Media, Magnates, Netas and Me at central Delhi’s Lodi The Garden restaurant. It was hosted by Penguin Random House India.
Novelist Arundhati Roy formally launched the book. She followed it with an impromptu speech on Mr Mehta; it was both sentimental and political. Novelist Vikram Seth, who was dressed like a Hasidic Jew but without the black hat, read out a few passages from the book; Mr Seth had come with mummy, retired Chief Justice Leila Seth.
However, Mr Mehta himself was nowhere to be seen. He had died a few weeks ago. He was represented by his wife, Sumita Mehta, who was dressed in a light-blue sari lined with a silver border.
There were many famous faces in the crowd. Photographer Dayanita Singh was seen fiddling (rather gingerly) with a teenie-weenie camera. Heart surgeon Naresh Trehan was spotted chatting with lobbyist Dilip Cherian. Author Patrick French constantly circled around his wife, Meru Gokhale, Editor-in-Chief of Penguin Random House. Chiki Sarkar, Penguin Random House India publisher, too had come with her husband, Alex Travelli, but they did not play man-woman. In fact, Mr Travelli spent a long time with Gurcharan Das, Delhi’s eminent intellectual who describes himself on his website as “author, commentator and thought leader.”
Of course, the charming Ratan Kaul was there too; she shows up in every important party in town. (I have written about her here.)
The gathering also included many journalists from Outlook, the magazine that Mr Mehta founded in 1995. Its former books editor Sheela Reddy was sighted after a long time in public. The frail Nandini Mehta, who looked regal in a red sari, was another former Outlook colleague of the late editor (later, as an editor in Penguin India, she edited her ex-boss’s books).
Editor Unplugged was originally to be launched in December last year. But then Mr Mehta fell ill.
Red rose petals were scattered on all the tables. The evening ended with cocktails.
Party with a difference
2. (Vikram Seth)
3. (Patrick French with Meru Gokhale)
3a. (Dayanita Singh)
4. (Gurcharan Das)
4a. (Sumita Mehta, Vikram Seth)
4b. (Nandini Mehta)
5. (Dayanita Singh, Alex Travelli, Chiki Sarkar)
6. (Sheela Reddy)
6a. (Ratan Kaul)
7. (Sumita Mehta)
8. (Arundhati Roy, Saeed Naqvi, Shantum Seth)