| GOLDEN GIRLS: Indian sprinters celebrate their 4x400 metre relay win
And now let the beauty games begin...
British Indian journalists attending the Commonwealth Games last week met for dinner at the Press Club in Delhi and engaged animatedly in an apparently sexist debate on the relative merits of the Indian women bringing in a haul of gold, silver and bronze medals.
I did manage to catch a wonderful evening of field and track events at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium I experienced a bit of drama myself when my hand luggage with my laptop, camera, tape recorder, money and other valuables was expertly stolen from my taxi under the noses of lots of policemen and so can report that one male journalist voiced the hitherto unvoiced question: Who are the good lookers? I couldnt possibly write that story I would be hauled over burning coals.
He looked at the TV screen repeatedly showing images of flag-wrapped Indian women posing for the photographers.
I couldnt possibly go into names here but he shook his head sadly: Not the one second from right but the one in the middle has possibilities. We have had only Sania (Mirza) we now need some new faces.
Now that certainly is true. Companies, especially fashion houses, working in the UK-Indian advertising, corporate, arts and PR sectors, will be delighted with the wealth of new Indian heroines thrown up by the Games.
British firms will want the global cosmopolitan look. The young but very talented fashion expert, Rishti Gandhi (nee Diwan), who studied at the London College of Fashion but now lives with her husband in San Diego, is currently in Calcutta for the Pujas and could probably offer sound advice on the Indian look that would work in the West.
There are no rules in the beauty business but if Westerners make the selection, the preference will be for darker complexioned girls in fact, the darker the better. So the right question to ask is: is there a new Naomi Campbell out there among the Indian winners?
With the right imaginative agent in London, the female athletes have every reason to be optimistic look at the way Freida Pinto, for example, has been promoted in the West after the success of Slumdog Millionaire.
Among England women cricketers, the Bengali medium pacer Isa Guha does not model but she has been proudly projected by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as almost their pin up girl.
| DRAPE STORY: Sharen Kaur in her prize winning British corset sari
Perhaps the Indian women athletes ought to try out the corset sari, this years winning design in the great British sari contest.
It has been won by Sharen Kaur, a Manchester-born fashion graduate who has been inspired by the trousers women wore under their skirts when working in local coal mines.
According to the judges, her breath-taking blue sari with a corset and leggings took the top prize in this years competition for a sari reflecting British life today.
Women are breaking boundaries with these garments, enthuses Amit Rastogi, director of London sari retailer RCKC which stages the competition with cultural agency Bridging Arts. They are making us think anew about what the sari is about and what it means for women across the world. Its an important step forward.
Sharens British sari creates an all-in-one effect with its corset and trousers a contemporary Western silhouette.
It looks like the kind of garment in which you can fight your way into the Calcutta Metro or race for the 2B bus.
The British sari can be styled for different occasions, appealing to both western and eastern cultures and the British Asian niche market, comments Sharen. The market level for this garment would range from a young woman of 18 to a sophisticated woman of 40.
Ray of light
Florence, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, will have an added attraction from December 3-9.
The River to River, Florence Indian Film Festival, will focus on Satyajit Rays masterpieces.
Selvaggia Velo, the enthusiastic Italian woman who has been the festivals director since she established it 10 years ago, has announced: Four masterpieces of the Bengali director will be screened.
She has picked Jalshaghar, Charulata, Aranyer Din Ratri and Shatranj ke Khiladi.
Selvaggia, a frequent visitor to India, adds that as a further tribute, the Museo Marino Marini will host a photographic exhibition on Nemai Ghosh, Rays director of photography, who will come to Florence to present his work.
Last year, after Rang Rasiya (The Colours of Passion), based on the life of Raja Ravi Varma, was shown at the festival, Ketan Mehta promised his long awaited movie, starring Nandana Sen, would be released in India.
As BBC reporters say, this doesnt look like happening any time soon.
An English lawyer with a historic family connection to India is writing a play on Warren Hastings, the first Governor General of India from 1773 to 1785.
The playwright is David Sullivan, a Queens Counsel, who is the great, great grandson of John Sullivan, the man credited with discovering Ooty, the hill station in Tamil Nadu.
Hastings was accused of corruption and impeached in 1787 he organised some games really badly. Sorry, just joking. But he was certainly accused of minting money in India. He was acquitted, though, in 1795.
In July last year, after a search that began in 1985, a bank executive and amateur historian from Coimbatore, Dharmalingam Venugopal, located the grave of John Sullivan in England at the 900-year-old St Laurences Church in Upton-cum-Chalvey, Slough, a short drive from Eton College.
A few days ago, Venugopal returned to the UK, met David Sullivan and, appropriately, gifted him a packet of special Nilgiri tea.
David has retired from legal practice but remains a historian and writer.
He has also been researching John Sullivans father, the Rt Hon. John Sullivan, who in 1781 was Resident at the court of Tanjore with responsibility for all the southern provinces of the Madras Presidency, says Venugopal, director of the Nilgiri Documentation Centre and the Sullivan Memorial at Kotagiri.
Davids grandfather, Henry Edward Sullivan, the second son of John Sullivan, also served in the Madras Civil Service and was the Collector of Coimbatore in 1870.
Venugopals search for John Sullivans grave, a kind of detective story, would also make a gripping play.
|MUSE MATERIAL: The Tharoors with M.F. Hussain (centre)
Madhuri Dixit, Tabu, Amrita Rao and Vidya Balan all illustrate the first law of PR for celebs, at least in London if you wish to be taken seriously no muse is good news.
When the Jaisalmer in Jeopardy conservation charity held its 2010 fundraiser at Bonhams New Bond Street earlier this month to coincide with the auction houses Islamic and Indian art sale, many were wondering: Will Pushkar be pushy enough to qualify as MFs new muse?
The occasion was graced, as we like to say, by M.F. Husain and Shashi Tharoors new wife, Sunanda Pushkar, looking suitably glamorous in a red sari.
Shashi, billed as Indias most charismatic MP, was in conversation with the film director Waris Hussein on the exchange of influences and ideas between Indian and western art and culture.
But most of the guests felt that Indias greatest contemporary artist appeared to be pondering an altogether more profound issue: would Pushkar be a suitable subject for a portrait?