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ET Awards 2019: Raspberry sorbet, kebab platter at the table; Goyal-Bajaj moment, Ola-Oyo bosses bond over Ladakh, dogs

There was a lot more on the plate - and on the minds - of the VIPs over dinner on a night of accolades.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 02, 2019, 01.07 PM IST
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(L-R) ​Zia Mody, Ashu Khullar, Ritesh Agarwal and Sachin Bansal engrossed in conversations.
(L-R) Zia Mody, Ashu Khullar, Ritesh Agarwal and Sachin Bansal engrossed in conversations.
There was a lot more on the plate — and on the minds — of the VIPs over dinner on a night of accolades.

Piyush Goyal entered the dining room looking for Rahul Bajaj. “Where is Rahul?” he asked. Then, spotting him at the far end of the room, he went across, warmly shook Bajaj’s hand, reassured him that he did the right thing by speaking upfront and told him not to worry.

With one move, Goyal showed that nothing at this high-wattage dinner was off the table.

The taste of zest
Right after, Goyal took a good-hearted dig at industrialist Harsh Goenka for being a Twitter celebrity, saying, “Bahar ke lawn se badi audience mere baaju main baithi hai [I have a bigger audience next to me compared to those on the lawns outside].”

(L-R) ​N Venkatram and Harsh Goenka listen keenly to Piyush Goyal​.
(L-R) N Venkatram and Harsh Goenka listen keenly to Piyush Goyal.

Perhaps, the raspberry and kala khatta sorbet right after the kebab platter did the trick. The sharp tart taste cleansed the palate and added that extra zest that lingered long enough to add some chutzpah to the dinner table conversations.

Little bit of this, little bit of chat
The commerce and railways minister was both witty and frank: He said he will not allow Zomato to arm-twist local restauranteurs, looking right into the eyes of Sriharsha Majety, co-founder, Swiggy and an award winner. Majety was, of course, the baby of the table that had patriarchs Adi Godrej and Rahul Bajaj.

At another table, Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal and fellow unicorn Ritesh Agarwal of Oyo discussed holiday notes from Scotland to Ladakh and their love for dogs. Bhavish, who has two dogs, has been yearning to get more — till he reaches 10. Wife Rajalakshmi demurred. Two are enough, she said. Ritesh Agarwal chuckled and told his fellow unicorn that it was clear who called the shots at home.

​Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani greets Times Group Chairman Indu Jain at ET Awards held on Saturday in Mumbai.​
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani (R) greets Times Group Chairman Indu Jain (L) at ET Awards held on Saturday in Mumbai.

Exchange of cards — and ideas
Between helpings of mattar ki biryani and lotus stem tadka yellow dal, Zia Mody, Sachin Bansal and Citi’s new CEO Ashu Khullar engaged in an animated conversation about tiffs between founders affecting team morale, the most recent and high-profile example being Indigo. “It is so demotivating to get caught between a promoter fight,” she said, adding, “No one actually wins.”

Everyone looked at Agarwal for comment, having cherry-picked former IndiGo CEO Aditya Ghosh as his key lieutenant in India. But by then, he was already busy explaining his China and US expansion to Rishad Premji, another award winner.

(L-R) ​Adi Godrej's words of wisdom for Sriharsha Majety and Neetha Joy​.
(L-R) Adi Godrej's words of wisdom for Sriharsha Majety and Neetha Joy.

Meanwhile, Mody asked Sachin Bansal if he had trademarked his new visiting card. She had earlier introduced the former Flipkart co-founder by saying: “He’s quiet and unassuming but is brimming with ideas.”

Her description, or parts of it, could have been apt for any number of the trail-blazers that evening.

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