Netherfield Ball – Novelist Manu Joseph, Friend of Publisher Karthika V.K., Seen Cozying Up To Publisher Chiki Sarkar at Shashi Tharoor’s Book launch, The Taj Mahal Hotel
The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Delhi’s a bitch. You can smell conspiracies even in the most innocent dealings.
One smog-filled evening The Delhi Walla was at the outdoor launch of Anglophone politician Shashi Tharoor’s book An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India at The Taj Mahal Hotel (relax, it’s not a Trump property).
This was an assembly of some recognizable names including the venerable Vice President, Hon’ble Shri M. Hamid Ansari. Poor man. He had worked hard on his speech and, therefore, it was memorably dull.
What raised eyebrows, however, had nothing to do with Mr Tharoor. I’m talking of novelist Manu Joseph, a faithful fixture in the book launches hosted by HarperCollins India’s long-time publisher Karthika V.K.–Mr Joseph is her publishing house’s star author. But now new alignments are being made. Ms Karthika resigned a few days ago and Mr Joseph is already seen cozying up to another publisher—the famous Chiki Sarkar of Juggernaut Books—she has 43.7K followers on Twitter! (Ms Karthika has 7,043 followers.)
The two entered like a couple and stayed together for a long, long time, constantly talking to each other, not caring for Mr Tharoor’s profundities. The heavily pregnant Ms Sarkar has never been seen in public with Ms Karthika. One can only guess the extent of mutual admiration the two publishers cultivate for each other. Even so, we can only hope that the talented Mr Joseph will continue to stay in touch with his old friend.
Of course, there was more to the evening than just this duo. The terrace garden shone with a galaxy of star faces. The notable Anglophones included the suave Karan Thapar—he is such an intelligent, witty, reasonable, well-informed TV news host that nobody watches his show. Also spotted: the incomparable Ratan Kaul–be very scared of her; she keeps a tab on every society person in town.
Also seen: the charismatic Madhu Trehan, the pioneering journalist in this opressive part of the world.
Authors Raghu Karnad and Manu Pillai, too, were spotted. Both these men carried themselves with grave dignity. They were very conscious of their handsomeness and took turns to stand beside Aanchal Malhotra, the partition archivist.
Author Sanjaya Baru was also noticed. He smiled his way through the crowd. Since he came of age after exposing his former employer, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a tell-all book, his society friends understandably looked nervous around him.
And did I mention Rachna Singh-Davidar? The woman behind Chennai’s Lit for Life literature festival, she was in black pants and looked like a charmingly despotic fashion magazine editor-in-chief.
The evening’s most surreal sight was of a person in anti-pollution mask. Between us: this was Karthika V.K. in disguise (see last photo below).
An Incestuous World
1. (Shashi Tharoor)
2. (Chiki Sarkar and Manu Joseph arrived together)
3. (Madhu Trehan)
4. (Karan Thapar)
5. (Chiki Sarkar and Manu Joseph)
6. (Ratan Kaul)
7. (Chiki Sarkar and Manu Joseph)
8. (Sanjaya Baru)
9. (Chiki Sarkar and Manu Joseph)
10. (Rachna Singh-Davidar with Kapish Mehra of Rupa publishers)
11. (Chiki Sarkar and Manu Joseph)
12. (Raghu Karnad with Aanchal Malhotra)
13. (Manu Pillai with Aanchal Malhotra)
14. (Karthika V.K. in mask?)