Netherfield Ball – Wicked Babble on Narayani Gupta, Laila Tyabji and Meru Gokhale at TCA Raghavan’s Book Launch , India International Center
The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
She is supremely enigmatic, and since she is a diva, she never allows herself to be photographed. You may Google for a clear portrait of her face and you shall be disappointed.
This is no more the case.
One evening The Delhi Walla unabashedly photographed historian Narayani Gupta for two long continuous minutes despite her severe censure towards your humble lensman. I had sighted her at the launch of TCA Raghavan’s book Attendant Lords: Bairam Khan and Abdur Rahim, Courtiers and Poets in Mughal India at the Fountain Lawns in India international Center.
The elusive Ms Gupta now stands totally exposed to the voyeurs of the world. All the historiophiles are encouraged to circulate her pictures widely on the net. (See the Narayani Gupta series of photos below).
The gathering comprised of many other notables, including writer Mrinal Pande (affable and graceful), and the city’s other prominent diva–the great sari sartorialist Laila Tyabji. Her stunning white sari had tantalizing hints of less tamed colors splashed all over it.
Journalist Reshmi Dasgupta was seen sitting quietly in a corner. Poor woman. Her husband is a right winger.
Serial (but always authorized) biographer Patrick French, who, like all successful authors, divides his time between the orient and the occident, was also spotted. We overheard him telling a gentleman, “I live in Jor Bagh.”
Jor bagh is universally acknowledged to be Delhi’s most fashionable address.
Mr French’s Indian wife, Meru Gokhale, was wearing a long white pearl necklace. She commands Penguin Random house while Mr Raghavan’s book has been published by Penguin’s great rival, HarperCollins India, whose Ananth Padmanabhan reluctantly condescended himself to be photographed with Ms Gokhale. They both carried themselves with passable dignity.
Also spotted, another Penguin face: the charming Ranjana Sengupta. She is rumored to be married to the evening’s author.
The author himself has served as India’s High Commissioner to Singapore and Pakistan. Like all the retired diplomats of his stature, the grave Mr Raghavan tossed casual sweet-nothings to admirers in carefully-guarded words, with great emphasis on every ‘the’ and ‘a’. Indeed, the venue was milling with such discreet and careful diplomats.
Also seen: Author Mala Dayal and her historian daughter, Naina. Hailing from the house of the legendary Khushwant Singh, both the beautiful women nurture an unreasonable hatred for the paparazzi. I took their photograph, too. See the last picture.
Spot the faces
1. (from left: TCA Raghavan, Ananth Padmanabhan, Patrick French)
2. (Laila Tyabji)
3. (Ranjana Sengupta, left, and Mrinal Pande)
4. (Meru Gokhale with Ananth Padmanabhan)
5. (former ambassadors Amitabh Tripathi, left, and Kiran Doshi)
6. (Narayani Gupta)
7. (Narayani Gupta with Ratish Nanda)
8. (Narayani Gupta)
9. (Narayani Gupta)
10. (Radhika Chopra)
11. (Reshmi Dasgupta, left)
12. (former ambassador Radhika Lokesh)
12a. (Nandini Sundar)
13. (Mala Dayal with daughter, Naina)