The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
There was so much room to breathe during the forgettable launch of Tavleen Singh’s book a few weeks ago at the India Habitat Center. The veteran journalist with 233K followers on Twitter is a passionate devotee of the current regime and there were barely any people in the venue.
There was almost no room to breathe at Rana Ayyub’s memorable book launch. It ended up being the biggest event of the season.
One recent evening The Delhi Walla attended the unveiling of Ms Ayyub’s book Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up. The young journalist with mere 98.8 K followers on Twitter is a passionate critic of the current regime and the hall was filled beyond capacity. A long queue stretched outside the auditorium.
Inside, it was a scene straight out of a Bombay local. The elegant women in hand-woven saris had a hard time making their way through the leftist crowd–most men were unshaven. The hall was so packed that there was no way to watch the author in perfect convenience—her wildish hair looked like a bird sanctuary. Most of the attention on the stage was claimed by lawyer Indira Jaising who frowned through the evening. She looked like India Gandhi with a daughter-in-law trouble.
Even so, the beautiful people must be noticed. Journalist Saba Naqvi was in a red sari. Academic Zoya Hasan came in a salwar suit with a blue dupatta. Former East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit flaunted a diamond earring. TV news star Rajdeep Sardesai wore a pink shirt and an iPad.
Author Raghu Karnad looked quite solemn.
A lot of famous faces stood in the waiting line outside. Celebrity journalists Barkha Dutt and Shekhar Gupta behaved like true Delhiwallas by jumping the queue (see photo 17 below). HarperCollins India publisher Karthika VK walked in muttering about Veerappan. The dreaded sandalwood smuggler was from South India. Ms Karthika, too, comes from somewhere in the South. Author Sankarshan Thakur looked irritated, as always. Rajni Malhotra of Bahrisons Booksellers flashed happiness.
Ellen Barry of The New York Times was also spotted.
Arundhati Roy, too, was sighted. The novelist’s shoulders were scandalously bare (I’m not showing her photo).
An evening to remember
1. (Rana Ayyub)
2. (Barkha Dutt)
2a. (Indira Jaising)
3. (Saba Naqvi)
7. (Raghu Karnad, right)
8. (Karthika VK, center)
9. (Sandeep Dikshit)
10. (Rajdeep Sardesai)
11. (Zoya Hasan)
12. (Ellen Barry)
13. (Abhinandan Sekhri)
14. (Seema Chishti, right, Jyoti Malhotra)
15. (Shuddhabrata Sengupta)
16. (Rajni Malhotra)
17. (Shekhar Gupta, in blue kurta)
18. (Rana Ayyub’s face)