The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Most people looked grave enough to pass off as authors. The curly-haired Vinay Sitapati was not one of them (see photo 3 below). He looked like an author only on his book’s back cover.
The Delhi Walla was at the India International Center to celebrate the launch of Mr Sitapati’s book Half Lion: How P.V. Narasimha Rao Transformed India.
The power couple of Delhi’s literary circle was also there. Writer Ananya Vajpeyi and her husband, writer Basharat Peer, glowed with the confidence of successful Delhi intellectuals on intimate terms with influential foreign correspondents. Mr Peer was solemnly chatting with sociologist Ashis Nandy while Ms Vajpeyi was engaged in a tête-à-tête with Max Rodenbeck, the South Asian bureau chief of The Economist (see top photo).
Years ago, they say, the beautiful Ms Vajpeyi was linked to some scandal in which her alleged leaked e-mails were making the rounds of Delhi in-boxes, provoking much disbelief. A gossip columnist put up those emails on a blog. (Click here to read Letter Leaks – Author Ananya Vajpeyi Secretly Tried to Get Dr Ambedkar’s ‘Annihilation of Caste’ introduced by Arundhati Roy Banned.)
But this is a small world. Grudges among the progressives can’t go forever in these dangerous times. That probably explains the warm greetings accorded to Ms Vajpeyi by Meru Gokhale of Penguin Random House, Ms Roy’s publisher.
The evening’s letdown was the Vice-President. He threatened to come, and his security escort forced all the sophisticates to pass through an ugly barricade. Nobody was spared, not even retired Chief Justice Leila Seth, who had a white rose in her hair.
Some nice people spotted: eminent journalist Vinod Dua, who looked as happy as his glistening earring; author Ira Pandey, looking beautiful in a cream sari with orange border. Economist Kavita Iyengar (see last photo) was wearing a metal band that went far up her dark arm. Her beautiful grey hair was unforgettable.
The stylish Nandini Mehta was also sighted. Dressed in smart pants, the publishing house editor was sitting on the back row with a young man, who, we believe, is no known relation of hers. We will Google on them.
All the people who matter
1. (Basharat Peer, left, and Ashis Nandy)
2. (Meru Gokhale greeting Ananya Vajpeyi)
3. (Vinay Sitapati)
4. (Nandini Mehta)
5. (Security barricade)
6. (Leila Seth)
7. (Kavita Iyengar)