I'm very sleep deprived. Spent till some four in the morning at a friend's house and then staggered home around four thirty and my sleeping cycle being as it is, had to read till at least five thirty to get myself sleepy. Then I had to wake up this morning and groggily down a cup of coffee, but I still don't feel human.
My best, most energy-packed hours start around six pm and go on till one in the morning. I'm a bit of a vampire that way, I can only start functioning once the sun is down or on its way to doing so. And I need a lot less sleep than most people. Gah. You know my life is boring once I start babbling on about sleeping.
I have to go for the Manav Gangwani fashion show tonight. The theme: An Evening In Paris. The main attraction: Sharmila Tagore and Shammi Kapoor, who in all likelihood will not even breathe on the press. I hate people like that. I mean celebrities who have some stick up their asses about not speaking to the media. Hello, the only reason you were invited was so that the press would come and the only reason the press will talk to you is because, buddy, the press made you. You are famous because you have been written about and spoken about. Really.
Now some celebrities are nice. The B-grade ones, obviously, poor things, make sweet love to the media every time they see them. Like model Neha Kapoor, for instance. Now I really like Neha Kapoor, she's sweet, she's polite and she always stops to chat with me. But it's a reluctant kind of liking, because I know she's playing me. And she knows I know she's playing me. So we have this sorta understanding, where both of us will smile and say hello and how are you and pretend like we really care. Among the A-list, I like Sushmita Sen a lot (no need to give a link to her, surely?). Now Sushmita Sen is funny, down-to-earth and the sort of person I can see myself gal-palling it with. Perhaps she's playing the press too? It's possible, but her friendly attitude beats that of the other smaller stars, like Zayed Khan or Hema Malini, who gaze at you snottily. Or even Konkona Sensharma, who I haven't met personally, but who I believe is a bitch to get a quote out of. And being with the print, like I've said before, I think, we don't have the authority that the chick waving the red NDTV mic does.
Some of our own page 3 types are pretty terrible too. Take Anoushka Shankar for example. I want to like Anoushka, I really, really do, because this one time way back, when I was still in college and going to the Mezz I saw her there and she said hi to the DJ who was also a nodding acquaintance of mine. And the Mezz at that time was for me like TC is now. I knew all the regulars. So to see Anoushka Shankar there was like she was part of my extended social circle. But nowadays she sighs, she flips her hair around, she reluctantly poses for pictures and even more reluctantly gives you one small quote that you have to practically drag out of her. C'mon Anoushka! You're more articulate than that, surely?
You have to know your celebs to get along as a features writer in this city. Designers, will talk to you depending on their social level. So Gauri and Nayanika Karan squeal and tell you about their new line, but with JJ Vallaya, you have to make an appointment with his PR just to get him on the phone. Authors are pretty much always ready to talk, but they can get really snotty, if they think you're too young, or just a hack reporter or (heaven forbid!) haven't read their "masterpiece". Unless of course, the author is Sir Vidia, who just says, "Na-ow, I reeelly don't know about that," to every question. The trick to Naipaul, I've realised, is to get to his wife. If you can get her to start chatting to you, she'll make sure hubby dear talks too. The art frat--artists, theatre people, musicians--varies. Jatin Das for instance, is almost obsessive about being called on his cellphone. So first you have to submit to his stacatto interrogation: How did you get this number? Who are you? What paper? Why are you calling me?. The theatre guys, thankfully, know me, so Vivek Mansukhani will make miles of polite conversation. Musicians I don't really interact with that much, but other than Anoushka and Daddy, I believe the rest are pretty co-operative. Oh, funny story about Ravi Shankar. So the other day, he was introducing this new jazz band and the media was talking to him. And this one, very young trainee-type reporter, looks at him, after all the rest of us have got our stories about his take on fusion music and whether jazz was catching on in India etc, and says, "Sir, will you ever do an album with Norah?" Our collective jaws dropped and we gazed at Ravi with delight. "With who?" he asked, puzzled. "Sir, with Norah, your..um... daughter?" she stammered. Now our eyes were shining and most people started to look away so that they could smile in peace. "Oh, with Anoushka?" he asked now. "No, no" we chorused as one entity, "With Norah! Your other daughter!"