There is a special place in Heaven reserved for parents who support their children’s dreams and give them the freedom to choose their own careers. Even by those standards, the decision taken by one of India’s leading industrialists, Kumar Mangalam Birla, (in pic) Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, India’s third largest business house, is nothing short of exemplary.
Word has it that he has given his blessings to son and heir Aryaman’s decision to go in for a career in professional cricket.
Apparently, the young Birla scion has displayed enough talent and enthusiasm for the gentleman’s game for his parents to agree to get him some first-rate international coaching in England.
But given that he is heir to an empire, it must not have been easy for the very traditional and straight-laced Marwari family to acquiesce.
And what’s more is that cricket is only one of the young man’s interests: a few years ago we recall hearing his beatific voice soar to the ceiling of the Bhabha auditorium as he performed in a Shiamak Davar concert.
Now, if he can whack the ball to the same heights, India’s got a cricket star on its future team — and what’s more it will be a Birla!
Spreading festive cheer
He’s always been known as a man of substance and the quintessential gentleman (notwithstanding the drop dead impersonations he does that can have viewers rolling on the floor laughing). So, it’s no surprise that actor Boman Irani took time off darting the festive season to spend time with some of his friends at the Don Bosco Shelter this weekend. “With my Angels of the Don Bosco Shelter at their Christmas party!” he said. “These street kids will go on to be significant citizens of this country! That is the endeavour!”
Boman Irani with the kids from Don Bosco Shelter
Now that’s a real happy New Year wish.
Three old friends
“Well we can’t tease him about his eating habits now since he’s become so good about them,” said Delhi’s buoyant bon vivant Suhel Seth about this photograph featuring him with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and legal luminary Raian Karanjawala, referring to the former’s battle with the bulge. “I threw a small bash for Raian’s penultimate fiftieth birthday on Friday,” he said about this photograph. “The three of us go back many years. I got to know Raian and Arun in 1999, when I went to live in Delhi, of course the two of them have been friends from college,” he says. “So I had a few friends not more than fifty people over to celebrate.”
(From left) Raian Karanjawala, Suhel Seth and Arun Jaitley
As for his friendship with Jaitley and Karanjawala, he says, “The one thing we never discuss is politics. In any case, these days everything in Delhi is so ‘thandaa’; there’s no gossip in Delhi now!”
And in a move totally unrelated to this, Seth has decided to spend New Year’s in Dubai this year, the first time he’ll be doing so away from India.
Whose hamper best of all?
Who in Mumbai is unfamiliar with that great festive ritual — the exchange of festive gifts?
Yogi Deveshwar and Adi Godrej
Hampers of dry fruit, cheeses, condiments, diyas, stationery, luxury goods, electronics, diaries, bottles of wine, aromatic candles, silver bric-a-brac and fine crystal… there is no end to the trouble that Mumbaikars go through to make their presence felt and to garner the goodwill of those who matter in their lives.
And this year, as in most of the previous, the awards for the most awaited and appreciated hampers go to ITC head honcho Yogi Deveshwar’s during Diwali and Godrej Chairman Adi Godrej’s for Christmas and New Year.
“Deveshwar’s requires a small tempo to deliver, and almost three persons to carry in,” said one happy recipient of the largesse. “Godrej’s comes in two parts, one containing the entire Godrej Home Care products and the other a huge sampling of the delicacies and gourmet offerings from their Nature’s Basket store. Housewives especially look forward to these as the selection is excellent and can be used for the seasonal entertaining that they have to do.”
Once again the FMCG to the fore!
Off with their heads
And perhaps the time has come to admit that the ‘celeb wielding broom Swachh Bharat thingy’ is getting a bit out of hand.
Word comes in that executives of a leading industrial group were a bit cut up about the fact that their Chairman’s wife organised a high-profile outdoor event to which she invited the top personnel of her company and announced a ‘maidan sweeping competition’ amongst them to see who could best sweep the public ground.
“Of course all of us complied,” said one middle-aged gent, “but we felt a bit ridiculous.”
Talk about sweeping statements!
And on the subject of festive gifting, has any one else noticed the dwindling of that year-end staple-the diary and the calendar? “Now that people have switched to digital notes and reminders, less corporate gifting has to do with these,” said a lady in the know of such things. “And not a moment too soon!” she says. “I’d never know who to ‘re-gift’ all those calendars to! Even my dhobi uses an app on his cell to note down the weekly clothes lists!” she says.