SO, WHO SPILLED THE BEANS?

My impression was that people read the Grapevine, chuckled a bit, chatted about what I had written on the phone or at a party and then forgot about it till the next week. Little did I realise that the aftereffects of my musings would be felt for the whole week, much like the smaller tremors that follow a major earthquake.



By Jawahar Chhoda

Published: Sun 11 Jan 2004, 1:37 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:40 AM

As my colleague Aquin George colloquially put it. "This time you have ended up antagonising almost everyone."

Now who was angry, you might ask? Well forget being angry with me, almost everyone was upset with everyone else. Like the group that was planning the New Year's Eve party at Nad Al Sheba Club but were not able to get it off the ground were very upset with the group that organised the successful party at JW Marriott. They felt that the latter group, buoyed by their success, had rubbed salt into their wounds by providing me with all the information about their doomed attempt to organise a party.

Now the JW Marriott group who were initially in very high spirits following the tremendous response to their event suddenly felt that they were being wrongly blamed for something they hadn't done. They have been at pains to clarify that they weren't the ones who had passed on the information to me. People from the Nad Al Sheba group tried to call me through third parties to find out who was my source. But being a true journalist, I refused to divulge the names of my contacts. Here I must state that during the course of the day, I meet and talk to several people, so the information I receive comes from various sources all of whom are guaranteed anonymity.

Then I got frantic calls from members of the JW Marriott group who wanted to know who had given me all the facts about their Nad Al Sheba group 'friends'. Their reasoning was that since all of them were actually buddies and hobnobbed with each other on a daily basis, all the misunderstanding was creating awkwardness among them when they met each other. Then their wives were giving each other killer looks. So on the basis of friendship that I shared with them, I should reveal the name of my source. Of course, once again I had to make it clear in no uncertain terms that this was not to be.

Then all the people who were seen chatting with me at the JW Marriott party were blamed for leaking out the information. It was as if a big diplomatic faux pas had been made with everyone blaming everyone else but no one really knowing who was responsible.

Anyway, as far as the two groups are concerned, I am sure their friendship can sustain such minor bumps and they will be back to normal after a week.

As to who told me all those facts, which all sides unanimously agreed were very accurate, my answer is to keep on guessing because no one will find out at least from me.

These weren't the only people upset with me. I heard from sources that the Palm party organisers were livid because I had not complimented them on all the hard work they had put up. But here I maintain that despite what they might claim, overall the reports haven't been very flattering. Last week I wrote about the beverages running out, here I must apologise because later on I found out that contrary to initial reports, the beverages lasted well until 4am and were not being provided by the glass but by the bottle. So if you asked for a glass, you were handed a bottle which proved to be a bonus for many.

Here I must mention that many people went to the Palm because they were hoping to see matinee idol Amitabh Bachchan there but were disappointed because he did not turn up. Well, Bachchan was here along with family members and close friend Anil Ambani. They were staying at the Grand Hyatt but decided to party with a few close friends at a distant farmhouse.

Then I also heard that the organisers of 2002's New Year's Eve bash at Metropolitan Beach Resort were upset because I had reminded people of their eventful party held that evening.

Then someone told me that even the Metropolitan Resort people were worked up because I had rekindled memories of that event not only for the guests who attended it but also the resort who would much rather forget that it even took place.

The family of a young man who is about to be married is also very wary because they feel that if I keep on writing about his dalliances, his engagement might break. Let me assure them that this is certainly not my intention. I wish him a happy marital life particularly for the sake of the girl marrying him.

Now you see, almost half of Dubai is upset with me either directly or indirectly. But what to do, that's the way I am.

Alok and Laxmi Aima had also organised a huge bash at their Emirates Hills residence. Here Nina Pillai was spotted along with close friend Hariram Shastri, a multi millionaire businessman from Delhi. Also present was Anita Pratap, the CNN correspondent in New Delhi and Ajaat Shatru, son of Karan Singh. Even here, they were expecting film stars like Karisma Kapoor to show up with her hubby Sanjay but this never happened.

I heard good reports about the Instant Bandish event held at Nad Al Sheba. Almost everyone who was there praised the ambience and the music. Of course, when I mentioned this to Farhad Wadia, the organiser, he was very pleased. Thank God for that, at least someone is happy.

Anyway enough of the New Year's Eve which is a thing of the past. Let us look forward to 2004 and hope that it proves to be bountiful for all of us, friends or foes.

Last year, my friend Chimoo Acharya came up with her idea of hosting monthly get-togethers for like-minded people. A sort of relaxed chill-out event where people from different walks of life would gather and exchange their views freely and frankly. She asked me to join hands with her and I readily agreed. However although the plan was in place, nothing came of it till I accidentally bumped into Chimoo recently at the Oasis Centre. I was having coffee with Amin Rajwani and Chimoo was at the next table. She joined us and complained to Amin that I had not followed up on her idea. She insisted that we set a date for this get-together there and then before the idea loses its momentum once again.

So, we decided on January 6 and the first event took place at Chimoo's house. Among those present were Amin Rajwani, Jyoti Karmali, Farhad Wadia, Laila Merchant, Sunil and Simi Grover, Pooja Rajani, Mahi Golchin, Mehirr Nath Choppra, Renu Singh, Ambika, Sunanda Lal and Chimoo's friend Maya. It was a nice gathering and the discussion veered towards event organisation, the problems faced by event organisers, the unhealthy competition and undercutting and overpricing indulged in by competitors, the clamour for free tickets before every major show and even the duplication of tickets.

Almost every event organiser present there expressed his or her views on the subject and the whole discussion was very enlightening for people like Pooja, Mahi and myself who are not in this business. The next get together will be at Amin's house at the beginning of February. This time we will try to focus on other topics of discussion and also invite different people. Quite good, isn't it?

Susan Furness is a lady whom I have known for the past five years. The first time I met her was at the relaunch of Harry's Place at Renaissance Dubai. Since then we have remained good friends although our busy schedules prevent us from meeting frequently. But this time we decided that we had to meet up and set up a date. We had dinner at Ossigeno at Le Royal Meridien. Present there to welcome me was Jaideep Bhatia, the Marketing Manager of the hotel. He told me that Sigi Von Brandt, the hotel's Director for Business Development was upset that I had ignored him at the Royal Mirage that too on his birthday and despite the fact that he had tried to attract my attention.

Of course not Sigi. I would never do that to a friend like you. The problem was that it was so dark there that I never paid attention to the other diners and whenever I am at Eau Zone, I am more worried about falling in the water than about who else is sitting there. Even this time, I walked gingerly along the pathway and felt safe only when I was seated. Then even the other three dining companions never pointed out that someone was trying to attract my attention. Otherwise I would have definitely gone and wished Sigi and even asked for a piece of cake.

The event calendar in Dubai is full for the coming season. Almost every day there is something planned. Events range from Bollywood extravaganzas to Jazz concerts to Mariah Carey to Whitney Houston to Hari Prasad Chaurasia to Hariharan. So you see my diary is full.` The next Club Encore event will be held on February 19. and even if a few people choose not to invite me for their events, it makes scant difference. It's their loss, not mine.`



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