Always great to catch up with Padma Bhushan Yusuf (Yuku) Hamied, the billionaire scientist and Chairman of CIPLA on our evening constitutional; we love nothing more than to listen to a man who tells a good story, and Hamied tells many.
This one has to do with the time he received his Padma Bhushan in 2005 from former President Dr Abdul Kalam and was introduced to Sonia Gandhi on the occasion.
Sonia Gandhi. Pic/AFP and
“She looked a bit grim and said a formal ‘Namaste’,” says Hamied acting out the scene with the familiar twinkle in the eye. “I said : ‘Madame we have something in common.’ ‘ What’s that?’ she replied, a bit startled,” narrates Yuku.
“‘We were both at Cambridge,’ I told her at which she softened and smiled,” said Hamied. Of course, Hamied was too much of a gentleman and had used the preposition ‘at’, when in actuality it ought to have been ‘in’. After all, only he had been a student ‘at’ the University!
Home is where the pool is
When superstars go house-hunting for the first home that they will set up together, their needs are not much different from yours and mine.
Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif
With a few swimming pools thrown in, that is. And so when Ranbir and Katrina found their way to Kishor (Bada Saab and Hakkasan) Bajaj’s residential building at Pali Hill to look for an apartment, no one was surprised.
After all, the entire exclusive building in which Bajaj has occupied the penthouse is said to be the last word in luxury-living and only available to very few.
Bajaj and his wife Kintu are long time aesthetes who’ve in the past been known to commission architects like the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright, trained architect Nari Gandhi to build their Lonavala getaway.
“I don’t know what style the apartment that Ranbir and Katrina liked has been done in, “ said our source, “But from the happy looks on their faces, it appears that they like what they saw and their search is over!” For the uninitiated, the building is in Pali Hill, very close to Sushmita Sen’s residence.
High Tea with Simi
“Raveena broke down about her broken engagement to Akshay Kumar! Nawaz Singhania confessed about how she was dating another guy when she met Gautam and she’d initially had reservations about getting married, being from a broken home!
Queenie Singh spoke about her marriage going wrong and keeping her kids drug free! Neeta Lulla talked about Aishwarya Rai‘s screen tests wearing her outfits... !”
It was our friend Simi Chandoke (in pic) telling us about her new show ‘High Tea with Simi’ on Zoom every Sunday night at prime time. “I meet them all in their homes,” said the lady, “Please do watch it.” We will. We certainly will.
Coffee, Tea and the BJP
It was a gathering of the power elite at the Trident Rooftop when Shekhar Gupta released his book ‘Anticipating India – The Best of National Interest’ with an electrifying (and according to many-a pro-BJP) discussion with BJP leader and former cabinet minister Arun Shourie on Tuesday night.
Shekhar Gupta, Arun Shourie and Uday Kotak
And vying for the spotlight were not only the eminent guests in the audience (Mukesh Ambani, Uday Kotak, Lord Meghnad Desai, Deepak Parekh and Chanda Kochhar) but also witty one-liners that were being offered up on stage with amazing speed.
Wittiest of all was Arun Shourie who is reported to have said that the civil servants were like the present Prime Minister ‘both civil and servants’. Uday Kotak also impressed many with his question, ‘When will India change from being a state of entitlement to one of opportunity?’
As for Gupta himself, who’s witty speaking style almost surpasses his columns-he was at his crackling best. Guests were also delighted to see Wholetime Director and Head of The Indian Express New Media’s, dashing young Anant Goenka, playing host of the evening.
Praful and the Beautiful Game
And a little bird informs that following Praful Patel’s winning the bid to host the 2017 under-17 FIFA World Cup in India, in his capacity as the AIFF chief, he has another ace up his sleeve. In the next few weeks, India should win the bid to host the 2015 FIFA club World Cup-for which they’ve also officially put in a bid.
As all Footie fans know this is a big deal (the best club teams from each continent play), and with Patel driving, the football craze fans of the beautiful game are in for a treat: The newly formed Indian Super League spearheaded by IMG and Patel will also take place at end of this year and witness international big name players coming down to play.
Cutest couple in town
Who says Mumbai doesn’t have savoir-faire and is not sophisticated? This high powered Marwari couple both, who’d been married to other people long ago but were single now, have not only found acceptance amongst all their friends and social peers but are also known as the ‘cutest pair’ in town.
“They go on dignified dates to movies and plays, speak on the phone every day and give each other companionship in the evening of their life,” said one Sobo matron. What she didn’t mention is that it was more quality time than she shared with her own husband!