Flight of fancy Columns

Short and sweet

From left: Gayatri Rangachari Shah with friends Noelle Kadar and Cecilia Morelli   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

If the past two weeks of my life are any indication, then 2021 is off to a galloping start. I’ve been on a two-day trip to Goa, followed by a dash to Jaipur, ending with a family wedding in the picturesque town of Mahabaleshwar. I’ve done more Covid tests in the past one month than I did all of last year! The travel and near-constant mask wearing has gifted me a spate of acne that would put any teenager to shame.

Goa didn’t beckon for its nightlife. Instead, I went to meet a famous Ayurveda doctor, whom many of my pals had been recommending for years. Dr Sudhindra Uppoor set up the Ayurshree Ayurveda clinic in 2004 and today has a fan following akin to pop stars. His trips to Delhi and Mumbai are booked solid; wealthy families and politicians fly him and his wife Hema, who manages the clinic, across India for weeks at a time. While I was aware of his popularity, it was only after spending time with my friend Vasu Gandhi over the Christmas holidays that I decided to seek him out. She had done a two-week detox at the clinic and was glowing. Even though there was nothing wrong with me physically, one can always improve one’s well-being. Meanwhile, my parents thought I was being ridiculous and couldn’t understand the need for this “unnecessary travel”.

So there I was, over the Pongal holiday, in Calangute, in a small office adjacent to a crowded parking lot filled with tour buses. “Why don’t you move?” I asked Hema, motioning with my eyes at the chaos outside. “So many people have asked us to, but we are happy here,” she replied. I felt somewhat chastened and decided to keep my big city mouth shut. Dr Uppoor was a kind looking man who asked me a few questions, then had me remove my mask, felt my pulse and examined my tongue. Since I didn’t have the time to stay and do a week or two week cleanse, he suggested a 45-day diet re-set. So out goes all raw foods, millets, and cruciferous vegetables. Instead, I had to re-embrace wheat, rice and diary. Oh and I can drink a bit of wine and Champagne — he really is a good doctor. I’ll let you know how I feel after 45 days.

Clockwise from top: Calangute beach, Goa, at Sid Kasliwal’s farm; and the new Idli store in Jaipur

Clockwise from top: Calangute beach, Goa, at Sid Kasliwal’s farm; and the new Idli store in Jaipur   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Last week I was back in Jaipur after a year. “Jaipur is filled with an eclectic mix of creative individuals,” noted my friend, Tahir Sultan. “It is a destination for people from all over the world.” Which is why he saw an opportunity to change the food scene. So in the midst of the pandemic, Tahir set up a food catering business alongside his other projects and now lives between Delhi and the Pink City, feeding the fashionable set in both cities. I was accompanying another friend, Cecilia Morelli, who owns the Mumbai concept store Le Mill. She needed a wingwoman and I was looking for furniture. Between hunting for household goods, jewellery, carpets and textiles and meeting an eclectic group of Europeans and Indian transplants, it was heaven. We managed to have a drink at the Polo Bar at the Rambagh hotel with our friends, art consultant Noelle Kadar and jeweller Akshat Ghiya, dine on delicious home food at the farm of Sid Kasliwal of Gem Palace and meet designers Marie-Anne Oudejans, Thierry Journo, Marie-Hélène de Taillac and Simon Marks.

There’s nothing like a wedding to affirm the future. My niece Dhwani Kothari’s wedding in Mahabaleshwar was a small, intimate affair. The surrounding hills were the perfect setting, with lush vegetation and cool evenings. Everything was outdoors, and all events ended by 10 pm. Now that’s one Covid-related development I wouldn’t mind adhering to post pandemic.

This fortnightly column tracks the indulgent pursuits of the one-percenters.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 10:19:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/short-and-sweet/article33694202.ece

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