IT was here, in between mouthfuls of succulent seafood, that one of the greatest all rounders of the game prophesied victory for the Pakistanis. By the time the celebrity customers—Imran Khan, wife Jemima and the others—left, the restaurant that fed them lunch was eating out of their hands. Payment by India Jane Pike's credit card and the handsome tip that the Pikes always left behind had little to do with it. Instead, it was the compliment that they—rather she—paid that did the trick.
"Fabulous. Out of this world," remarked Jemima, as she tucked into the sumptuous spread. Her husband approved too. Five British friends, based in India, joined Imran and Jemima at their table in Bombay's famous sea-food restaurant, Trishna. Their orders included one king crab butter-pepper-garlic, two medium crab butter-pepper-garlic, one lobster-butter-pepper-garlic, two jumbo prawn garlic, one medium prawn butter-pepper-garlic, one boneless pomfret, Hyderabadi tikka , three dal hyderabadi , one sarson da saag , one makki di roti , one plain palak , one serving of ladyfish, two kadak naans, two plain naans and two rotis served by some star-struck staff. "India Jane and her husband Francis dine here regularly. But we never knew that Jemima is India's half-sister," says Manohar Kuckian, Trishna's manager.
Jemima has shown a preference for sub-continental fare, but it was the first time she was having it in Bombay. At friend Parmeshwar Godrej's Juhu residence too, the couple feasted on biryani , tangdi kebab , chicken and paneer tikka , dal and platters of cheese. Breakfast comprised curd and mangoes washed down with sweet lime juice. During the two days they spent in Bombay, they ate most of the meals at home. "There was little time for shopping and they spent a lot of time watching TV. Many high-level industrialists visited them as well," reveals a source from the Godrej household.
"This was her first visit to Bombay," says half-sister India Jane. "She seemed to like it here and she liked the food too." Evidently she did; for the following night when Imran was in Bangalore for the India-Pakistan match, Jemima turned up at Trishna again for a second time.
Food and fashion, Trishna and Tahiliani dominated Jemima's stay in the city. "I wonder what kind of an impression one can form after being in the city only for two days. But she did seem to be having a good time," observes Tarun Tahiliani, haute couture designer-friend, who is responsible for the classic creation that Jemima almost wore for her wedding. Though Tahiliani wasn't one of the 'secretive' seven who lunched at Trishna, he "met them for dinner at the Pikes' Colaba residence". Jemima returned the call at Ensemble, Tahiliani's haute outlet. "She walked in with her sister and walked out with two bags—promising to return formore," says Preeta, a visibly unimpressed journalist on the prowl for an exclusive. "She seemed open to conversation but her sister shut her up and Jemima actually listened to her. Then they drove away in a cab."
The jet-setting couple did not strike a single pose for the press or the public. Imran did not accompany wife Jemima during most of her shopping, as he was busy with the match in Bangalore. Does Jemima comprehend cricket? "I do not know if she does," says Tahiliani. "She wasn't around when I was discussing it with Imran." But Kuckian swears she sped to the Oberoi hotel to watch the match when Pakistan was seven wickets down, abandoning her food.
Imran should have perhaps joined his wife at Trishna for her last supper in Bombay this time around instead of eating his words in Bangalore.