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The OG MasterChefs are here; Tête-à-tête with Scam 2003’s Gagandev Riar


BYJU’s problems seem to be getting worse. 

This time, the edtech company has delayed November salaries for a section of its employees, The Economic Times reported, adding it has impacted about 1,000 staffers.

The company has told the affected employees that it would deposit the pending salaries by Monday. 

Meanwhile, at COP28, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proposed that India host the UN climate conference in 2028. He also launched a ‘Green Credits Initiative’ focused on creating carbon sinks through people’s participation. 

In other news, the government has banned the use of “dark patterns” on ecommerce platforms—applicable to all platforms offering goods and services in India, and even advertisers and sellers—which intend to deceive customers or manipulate their choices. 

Also, Wipro Consumer Care Ventures, the venture funding arm of Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, has launched the second fund with a corpus of Rs 250 crore. The Fund II will focus on investing in consumer startups in India and Southeast Asia.

ICYMI: After 86 years, here’s an animal the world thought had gone extinct!

It’s called The De Winton’s golden mole—an elusive, iridescent golden mole not recorded since before the Second World War! 

Lastly, check out the most expensive classic cars of 2023.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • The OG MasterChefs are here
  • Tête-à-tête with Scam 2003’s Gagandev Riar
  • A love letter to the planet

Here’s your trivia for today: Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of what food sticking to the roof of your mouth.

Wine and Food

The OG MasterChefs are here


It’s not every day that reality TV’s biggest faces visit India. And when it’s the grand reunion of MasterChef Australia’s former judges—Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston, and George Calombaris—there’s bound to be much noise.

The former judges of MasterChef Australia were recently on a tour to India, enthralling patrons with a series of dinner pop-ups and masterclasses with Bengaluru-based Conosh.

On the plate:

  • When off-duty, they were busy gallivanting around Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, in search of new food adventures. From savouring succulent kebabs at Rajinder Da Dhaba in Delhi to relishing ‘proper dosa at Rameshwaram Cafe in Bengaluru—their itinerary included it all.
  • Mehigan’s previous association with Conosh convinced both Preston and Calombaris to join hands for their much-awaited reunion. 
  • The trio have their individual standing today, far beyond their MasterChef lineage. But it’s interesting to witness that camaraderie intact, much like how it was on screen.

The Interview

Tête-à-tête with Scam 2003’s Gagandev Riar

Gagandev Riar

At the peak of stardom, Gagandev Riar of Scam 2003 fame still considers himself a student and lives a simple, humble life. In a candid chat, Gagan talks about his theatre journey, the actor behind the screen, his love for gaming, and more.

The Scam Story:

  • Interestingly, at a time when the aspirations of middle-class Indian parents revolved around making their children pursue careers in medical, engineering, or civil services, Gagan’s father encouraged him to join the theatre.
  • With limited source material available, Gagan watched short interviews covered in a three-part documentary by Discovery called Money Mafias, studied photographs, and imagined how Abdul Karim Telgi would have been in real life.
  • When asked if he sees himself as an artist or a superstar post Scam 2003, Gagan replies saying, he is neither. He considers himself a student. “I just want to see, learn, observe.”


A love letter to the planet

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Ditty, singer-songwriter

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Ditty, singer-songwriter

As a little girl, Aditi Veena (Ditty) lived across a park in South Delhi that she often disappeared into, to “speak with the birds and the trees.” Raised by a botanist mom, Ditty felt an inexplicable tenderness for the natural world growing up. 

Today, Ditty, a musician from Goa, is touring by trains and performing in open spaces to promote environmentally-conscious concerts.


  • Ditty’s music is a culmination of her mental and emotional journey of witnessing the environmental deterioration in Delhi. She grew up in the city in the early 90s, before the satellite towns had emerged.
  • During her ‘Songs for Forests Tour’ last year, she took trains to six cities across India and joined hands with Greenlane—a Bengaluru company that helps companies track and improve their ESG metrics—to measure the carbon footprint of her tour.
  • She then followed it up by planting an indigenous food forest with the help of local environmentalists at the Pollam Farm in Hyderabad, to offset the carbon emissions caused by the tour.

News & updates

  • Space pacts: Amazon and SpaceX, competitors in the satellite internet space, have inked a deal to launch satellites supporting Amazon’s Project Kuiper. Three launches of SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 rockets are planned for early to mid-2025, though financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Delays: OpenAI’s app store for AI, the GPT Store, will not launch this year as previously announced, but rather on an unspecified date in early 2024. The delay is almost certainly due to the leadership shakeup that occurred in November, just after the initial announcement.
  • Exit: The Biden administration has forced a Saudi Aramco-backed venture capital firm to sell its shares in a Silicon Valley AI chip startup backed by OpenAI Co-founder Sam Altman. Rain Neuromorphics, a startup designing chips that mimic the way the brain works and aims to serve companies using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, raised $25 million in 2022.

Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of what food sticking to the roof of your mouth.

Answer: Peanut Butter. Arachibutyrophobia is the intense, irrational fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one’s mouth, likely related to an inability to open one’s mouth or a fear of choking.

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