Hema Malini was invited to address the recently concluded Hindu Lit Fest for her achievements in various fields, for being a cultural icon. Yet the one question from the audience that got her to laugh was not related to her work as an actor, producer, director or danseuse, but about the Kent water purifier, a product she endorses. A member of the audience told her that his grandmother believed in Hema so much that she even bought the Kent RO as it was endorsed by her. But it had stopped working—to which Hema promised that she would forward the complaint to the company. That’s customer care for you, from the Dream Girl herself.


It seems that the Congress has decided against projecting a Chief Minister face in either Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh—the problem being one of plenty. And so both Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia have been asked to campaign extensively in MP, while Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot will battle it out in Rajasthan. In fact, straight after the Gujarat elections, Gehlot hit the ground running in Rajasthan, thereby nailing rumours that he was looking to shift to the Centre as a headquarter honcho, leaving the field clear for his young rival, the state Pradesh Congress Committee chief. Clearly, there will be more battles than one that will be fought in the state elections due towards the end of 2018.


As winter draws to an end, there has been a round of winter lunches to mark the beginning of the New Year. Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupender Hooda threw his traditional Lohri lunch last weekend, which saw all Congress stalwarts drop in for some makki ki roti, sarson ka saag and gajjar halwa, and lots of political gossip. But it was the judges’ controversy that dominated the conversation, because of which Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid’s table had the most draw. Next weekend, BJP’s Vijay Goel threw a Basant Panchmi lunch, with chaat from his constituency in Chandni Chowk dominating the menu. The biggest draw at Goel’s lunch was Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, wearing a striped kurta. Other ministers who dropped in included M.J. Akbar and Harsimrat Kaur Badal. But the high point of the lawn were not the kites that Goel was flying to celebrate Basant Panchmi, but the selfie corner that he had arranged on the lawn, with a large placard of a haveli in the backdrop. Who says the host hadn’t thought of the very last detail!


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