Home Bangalore After Dark All you need is love

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From left, Athena Salim & Aslam Gafoor, (top right) Kripal Amana, Anupam Banerjee & Chander Mannar and (below) Hemanth Surreddi & Rocky Patel

My friends call me an eternal romantic. Sometimes I suspect I am, especially when I am affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a young and vibrant woman who used to create waves in the ‘pretty people’ circuit. I didn’t know her, although I remember meeting her briefly at a party where her high-profile and erudite husband took center stage.

I saw a twinkle in her eye, and I remember at being surprised by her warmth and firm introductory handshake. What struck me though, was that they looked besotted by each other and it was endearing to see an Indian man displaying such affection. All the women present swooned and I for one gave my hapless husband hell for not being ‘that’ romantic. Well, now she is no more and I am convinced she died of a broken heart, and there ends my dream of ‘eternal love’!

But my eternal love for elegant soirees didn’t go unrequited this week. We were invited to the Ritz Carlton poolside to enjoy an exclusive cigar and single malt evening, by our high-flying gregarious host Rocky Patel. An India-born American entrepreneur, this ‘Cigar Mogul’ has all but ousted the erstwhile Cuban stranglehold on the art of cigar making.

He owns his own tobacco growing areas in Puerto Rico and the Honduras and is now launching his brand in India. He has also wisely decided that namma Bengaluru must be his launch-pad. We were introduced to the ‘curvy Cuban’, the gorgeous Maricza Alvarenz (his quality control manager), also an accomplished cigar roller.

It was almost sensual the way she demonstrated how a good cigar should be rolled, inspiring the guests to puff on the different flavoured cigars with aplomb. It was a fun evening with the non-smokers even trying out the excellent cigars. Fidel Castro would have gone green with envy!

The elite Bangalore Wine Club, decided to usher in the New Year with a champagne breakfast at The Ritz Carlton. Members mingled and enjoyed the fabulous repast laid out for them by the amiable Michelin star chef Anupam Banerjee. Amidst the delectable aromas of choux pastry, waffles and dim sum, a glorious Sunday morning was well spent. I smell love in the air.

- Rubi Chakravarti (m rubichakravarti@gmail.com)

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