Suhel Seth tells you how to befriend the rich and famous
News television's favourite motormouth tells you just how he climbed the ladder of social success.
For many of us Suhel Seth is the guy on our television screens who will talk on any topic under the sun. He's there practically every other evening and ensures that he is heard.
Heck if small screen wasn't enough, Seth has also made his way to Bollywood where he's made bit appearances -- as someone's father in one movie or a doctor in another.
And yet, if you were to ask those who watch him on television or films what Seth does for a living, I suspect very few of them would really know.
Seth wears many hats. He's an ad man, brand manager of sorts, serves on the boards of various government committees as well as private companies and counts among his friends Nita and Mukesh Ambani, Vijay Mallya, Shobhaa and Dilip De, Sabina and Anil Chopra among hundreds of others.
Some of these friends made their way to Seth's recent book launch in Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel. The Des were there as was journalist Malavika Sangghvi and Pritish Nandy. Then there was Queenie Singh who insisted that Seth join her for her birthday party later this month.
Suhel Seth of course was right there in the middle of it all, enjoying the attention and never once letting go of his poison -- vodka soda.
This is Seth's third book and is a far cry from his first two: In Your Face is a collection of his columns and Kalighat to Calcutta co-authored with Khushwant Singh and R K Laxman.
Get to the Top: The Ten Rules For Social Success is something of a self-help title that lists out dos and don'ts for climbing the social ladder.
Image: Shobhaa De and Dilip De are among the many influential people who count Suhel Seth (centre) as their friend.
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
Prioritise your party list
Seth comes across as a practical man and the launch of the book was a fairly simple affair -- the stage had a podium and just a single chair, which clearly indicated that there would be no 'discussion' about how the author chose the subject or some such topic that so many book launches have these days.
The plan was simple. Someone from the publisher would introduce him, Seth would read out two passages from his book and later he'd invite two of his friends to talk about him.
Then everyone would be free to head to the bar or their homes or someone else's homes if they pleased.
A frightfully large number of them though said they were heading to the airport from where I assumed they'd be flying out. Which probably was not such a good idea considering one of Seth's friend's airline was in the process of cancelling an awful number of flights.
Then again I suppose not a lot of them knew of it and I can hazard a safe guess that if all of them were indeed heading to the airport, they'd probably be seeing each other sooner than they thought.
The one thing that I learnt about Suhel Seth that evening is that he isn't just a talker. When you are speaking, you have his complete and undivided attention. Seth also seems to have an uncanny memory for names.
It doesn't matter who you are, he'll remember your name and before parting company, Seth will ensure to take your name and thank you. He will hold your hand with both his in a warm handshake tell you how lovely it was meeting you in the most genuine manner ever.
Suhel Seth may be a social climber -- Malavika Sangghvi remembered him going from being 'a marketing guru in shorts' in Kolkata to being a host of large parties in New Delhi -- but the truth is that he's a bloody good one at that.
As he read out passages from his book I also realised that he is also a good reader (A general observation will tell you that not all good writers or poets are good readers. Poets especially can kill their poems when they read them out to an audience).
He first read out a passage where he talks about how to prioritise the party list. What do you do for instance if there are two parties at the same time?
What would you do if you have to choose between an invite from a business partner where you'd get to network or a house party of a childhood friend?
On Rediff iShare: Watch Seth tell you how to get out of this sticky situation.
Video: Hitesh Harisinghani
'Life isn't about being interested in things it is about being involved in them'
Seth also talked about being interesting. Who, he asked, would you rather be with -- someone who's interesting or someone who's bright?
"Don't be a bore. It is the greatest social crime you can commit," he says, "You aren't successful if you're bright. You're successful if you're interesting!"
Then he went on to talk about how he takes holidays every few months and makes sure he lives his life to the fullest -- something he says not a lot of people do.
"Life, he declares at the end of the passage, isn't about being interested in things it is about being involved in them."
In all honesty, none of what Seth read out was out of the ordinary. Yet in some way it was interesting -- partly because of the smart one-liners that Seth is so good at coming up with and partly because it came from a man who's done it himself and done it well.
On Reddiff iShare: Suhel Seth talks about being interesting and intelligent.
Video: Hitesh Harisinghani