A date with Ranbir? A day with Priyanka?

Apr 10, 2014, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Not that we are in a position to bid, but the tantalising items going under Karan Johar’s hammer at the Swades fundraiser this evening has got us thinking: What would we really really want in a list that included attending a soon to be held Dior Cruise show, flying on a charter plane with Shah Rukh Khan, a dinner date with Ranbir Kapoor, a chance to spend an entire day with Priyanka Chopra, a portrait or mural done to order by a leading artist and a holiday in Champagne?

Ronnie Screwvala and Zarina Mehta

Such happy thoughts will be on the minds of a delicious mix of Bollywood business and social tycoons as they make their way to Ronnie Screwvala and Zarina Mehta’s fundraising gala at the Palladium tonight for their NGO Swades.

Established with the single-minded focus of lifting a million lives in rural India out of poverty, the Foundation has already influenced 3,00,000 lives in Raigad, Maharashtra.

Recently Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan visited villages where Swades worked, for a first hand view of it’s engagements and interacted with local villagers in a demonstration of how the five verticals that Swades works within Health & Nutrition, Education, Water & Sanitation, Community Mobilisation and Agriculture & Livelihood empowered villages.

Amitabh is also the guest of honour at this evening’s function where many luminaries like Sonakshi Sinha, Neha Dhupia, Dia Mirza, Malaika Arora Khan, Shiamak Davar, Leander Paes and Ayan Mukherjee will walk the ramp in creations by Vikram Phadnis, accompanied with some of the people whose lives Swades has touched.

Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan

So what will we choose if we had to from the enticing auction list? The Dior Cruise show? A chartered flight with Shah Rukh Khan? A dinner date with Ranbir Kapoor?

A day with Priyanka Chopra? A personalised works of art or a holiday in Champagne?

We would, gentle reader, choose that the Screwvalas and their excellent NGO Swades achieves its goals and that one million lives are indeed transformed. For then, the encounters with the stars, the international fashion outings and the personalised works of art will be that much the sweeter!

Bizarre coincidence
And for those who often spend time wondering about things like this, isn’t it a curiously coincidental thing that three of the world’s top and most celebrated athletes are facing such an unimaginably difficult time? 

Michael Schumacher. PIC/GETTY IMAGES

Michael Schumacher in a coma, Oscar Pistorius tragically bereaved and facing murder charges and Ian Thorpe’s career brought to an end by a deadly virus! Three men who at one time were at the top of their game and appeared to have it all. Who could imagine that they would face such challenges?

Oscar Pistorius. PIC/AFP

And has any one captured the topsy turvy reversals of life better than that nasal voiced blowin’ in the wind philosopher Bob Dylan, who decades ago had proclaimed ‘the order is/Rapidly fadin’ and the first one now/Will later be last/For the times they are a-changin’?

We think not.


Enter the poet —Thalaivar’s grandpop
A mark of a truly great leader of men is that sooner or later they will publish a slim volume of verse that will give rise to many hosannas amongst their loyal flock. Such a thing appears to have happened with the right honourable, soft-spoken, dulcet-voices great leader Narendra Modi, prime ministerial candidate, rival to Shakespeare, Eliot and Tennyson all rolled together, man with 56-inch-chest and Thalaivar’s grandpop when it comes to histrionics.

Narendra Modi

The good people at Rupa we hear are ‘delighted to announce that they will be publishing ‘A Journey: Poems by Narendra Modi’, around (sic) 20 April.’

‘Devotion and dedication, love and longing, strength and vulnerability, all find expression in Narendra Modi’s poetry.

This English translation of verses originally written in Gujarati transports us into the poet’s mind—his voice, his vision and his thoughts,’ says the marketing spiel that accompanies the announcement of the much-awaited tome.

The poet meanwhile is more bashful: ‘These are streams of thought/like a spring of fresh water,’ he is reported to have said abut his poetic intervention, ‘Of things I have witnessed, experienced, and some time imagined/ May the soft sound of this spring’s waters/ Resonate in your ears and mind/ And touch your heart,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, the Bard from Gujarat’s translator we are informed is a Ravi Mantha himself, a lover of poetry, a polymath, and a public intellectual (sic).

On closer inspection one of Mantha’s previous books appears to be the enigmatically titled; ‘All about Bacteria’.

Is that his special area of specialisation? Is that why he took on the aforementioned project? What is the connection between Narendra Modi’s poems and bacteria?

We think we ought to be told.

Out of the mouth of babes
Oh dear. Where and who with your kids spend their time can be a telling indictment of your own set of values.

A pedigreed social aristocrat, a lady of impeccable manners was aghast to hear some delightfully un-lady like phrases emanate from the lips of her friend’s young daughter It appears the toddler spent most of her days accompanying her mother to various health spas and beauty salons where she had struck up friendships with the staff and picked up their lingo, that curious mix of mangled Hindi, upper class tapori and Bambaiya street speak that passes for language.

So each time the little girl spoke it was a faithful report of where her high maintenance mum was spending all her waking hours!

A Gujarati in Delhi
Talk about reading too much in to the tea leaves. Some businessmen reacting to Dilip Shanghvi’s spectacular buyout of Malvinder Singh’s Ranbaxy through his acquisition Daichi Sankyo are reading in to it more meanings than a simple business takeover. How so?

Malvinder Singh PIC/AFP

Well, overheard over tea and samosas at a SoBo five star hotel’s business lounge was the following remark made by a leading industrialist known for his wit to another of his ilk: “One prominent Gujju bhai has taken over the offices of a Delhi Sardar. How soon before another does the same?” 


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