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Question

Hi Vir,

I've read a couple of your articles on Oberoi's/Taj and wanted to find out if you had any knowledge (or if any Taj executives that you interviewed "Rude Hotels: The time is probably right for Hilton to make a more assured return to India" knew) about when exactly the Taj entered into an agreement with Intercontinental.

It must of been before 1967/8, because that's when the Sheraton/Oberoi collaboration was approved by the Government. In the MS Oberoi book "Dare to Dream" it is implied that the Oberoi's couldn't go with Intercontinental for the Mumbai hotel because Taj had already tied up with Intercontinental, hence before 1967/8

I look forward to your response,

Alex F

Posted By: Alexander Farrugia  |  Posted On: 04 Feb 2016  |  City: Adelaide, South Aus

Answer

 Thanks Alex. But I am afraid that I have no access to any inside information about when those contracts were signed though, speaking as an outsider, the timing you suggest sounds about right. 
 
It might be worth checking on the aborted Hilton project in Worli. As far as I know, that happened in the mid-60s.
 

Question

Vir,
I remember sometime last year you saying how much you like Bernie Sanders but thought he would not win. Guess you must be really pleased to see his late surge? He tied with Hilary in the Iowa caucus and continues to draw huge crowd.

Shiv

Posted By: Shivaprasad Patil  |  Posted On: 03 Feb 2016  |  City: new york city

Answer

 My dream scenario is that Bernie is the Democratic nominee and that Trump is the Republican candidate. And Bernie whips Trump's ass.
 

Question

Vir,
With so much knowledge and interest in food/restaurant business why haven't you gotten down to opening one? I am sure you must have received a ton of offers from Investors

Posted By: Shivaprasad Patil  |  Posted On: 03 Feb 2016  |  City: new york city

Answer

 Just because you write about politics, it does not follow that you should become a politician. So it is with food. I am a godawful businessman and would be a terrible restaurateur. 
 

Question

Hi Vir, you are very active on Twitter but quite inactive on your blog here. Why so? We wan to hear from you what cannot be said in 140 characters.

Posted By: Rahul Mehta  |  Posted On: 28 Jan 2016  |  City: Jaipur

Answer

 Fair point. Will try and be more active. 

Question

Hi, what do you think of the likely re-shuffle of Modi's cabinet.
Isnt that admitting that he made a mistake and things went wrong or the folks were incompetent

Posted By: Haroun Zutshi  |  Posted On: 24 Jan 2016  |  City: Surat

Answer

  It is long overdue and I don't think it amounts to an admission of failure. All governments, all over the world, have periodic reshuffles. There is no shame in admitting that people have not lived up to your expectations. 

Question

Hi Vir-

Please share your thoughts on the following:

1) During UPA there were serious charges of impropriety against Union ministers with the telecom, CWG scam etc. In comparison, the controversies during NDA rule such as Hyderabad student suicide, killing of authors do not as directly show Central government impropriety?

2) Is it pure coincidence that Delhi church attacks issue subsided after Delhi elections and gear wapasi movement after Bihar elections?

3) This is old subject you have already commented on, but I found it surprising that authors (and media) did not raise tardy progress in investigations into the killing of authors (esp. Dabholkar in 2013) with the law and order m

Posted By: Raghu  |  Posted On: 21 Jan 2016  |  City: Singapore

Answer

 Let's take them one by one. Yes, I agree that there is less evidence of impropriety and financial manipulation in this government than there was in UPA II.
 
As for the second one, I think you're reading too much into the timing. 
 
As for the third one, I agree entirely. We should make an issue out of the fact that people who have killed authors have still not been convicted. 
 

Question

Hi Vir,
Since you have come to Calcutta recently, here is the question about it. Which is your favourite Biryani place in Calcutta? and isnt Calcutta Biryani the best :)

Posted By: Hsu Shen On  |  Posted On: 20 Jan 2016  |  City: Calcutta

Answer

 I am out of touch so I can't really give you an authoritative answer. Calcutta biryani is wonderful. Not sure that any one biryani can be called the best however. 
 

Question

Hello Mr vir,
Do you not think that this molecular gastronomy trend needs to be a finishing school after chefs have put in hard graft behind the stove ..I mean it's a bit like trying to mix music before you have learnt the basic notes! I mean what's the point of making a mint chutney foam if you can't make a proper mint chutney. ( I am a chef born in Mumbai , run my restaurant in Sheffield www.urbanchoola.co.uk ) ..

Posted By: ROHAN  |  Posted On: 18 Jan 2016  |  City: Sheffield

Answer

 I agree entirely. 

Question

Hi Vir, AAP had a very successful rally (or so it seems) in Punjab yesterday.. what do you think are their chances of winning the Punjab assembly elections??

Posted By: Suresh  |  Posted On: 15 Jan 2016  |  City: Mumbai

Answer

I don't think they will win but they have the potential of becoming serious players in the state. 

Question

recently BBC published this article that that talks about the origin of balti-curry (http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20160113-in-search-of-a-truly-british-curry). I was surprised to see that the discussion was solely focused on Britain, Pakistan, & Afghanistan! Has India no role in this great dish?

Posted By: cheetos  |  Posted On: 14 Jan 2016  |  City: dc

Answer

 It's a terrible dish and I am pleased to say we have no role in its creation. 
 

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