They make a handsome twosome, the rockstar former minister for IT, Milind Deora, and the international IT visionary with rockstar looks, Nikesh Arora. That they are also related makes the pairing even more attractive.
As is known, Nikesh is married to the Delhi-based Ayesha Thapar, whose sister is married to Milind’s brother (the other Deora rockstar, Mukul), and so, when we heard that Milind had engaged Nikesh in a discussion on IT, life and everything in between for a YPO event, we couldn’t help but think, that whoever thought up the programme, had imagination and flair.
Milind Deora and Nikesh Arora
Which is why when we ran into the dapper Congressman the next day, we commended him, and told him to convey our congratulations to whoever had thought up the idea of putting him on a podium with Arora.
Milind smiled on hearing this.
“Well you’d have to congratulate Pooja,” he said, referring to wife Pooja Shetty, the media and entertainment tycoon. “It was her forum which had organised it and she’d come up with the idea,” he said. Nice!
We love family portraits, especially those of big happy families and by any standards, this one featuring author, columnist Shobhaa De, and her brood, taken on her birthday last week at SoBo’s latest eatery Doppio, is one for the albums.
There are many things to admire the prolific Ms De for, but top of our list is that she is mother hen to six busy and talented children. “The kids are going to throttle me for this,” she laughed good naturedly when we asked her to tell us what each was doing, but she gave it a shot nevertheless.
So from left to right, without further ado - Shobhaa’s brood: Radhika De, writer/ painter /sculptor living in Bangalore. Aditya Kilachand, developer of luxury villas in and around Alibag. Anandita De, working with online art auction house Astaguru, Arundhati De, working in the luxury brands industry, and soon to be married next month and Dr Pramod Raju, solar and wind energy entrepreneur with wife Avantika, with the inimitable Shobhaa.
(“The only one missing is Rana De, who isn’t in the picture,” said Shobhaa. “He lives in Singapore and works with a global advertising agency. And as for husband Dilip, he’s the one who shot the picture!”
Back-to-back deadlines prevented us from attending the Aishwarya Nair-Nishant Mathew nuptials last week, but by all accounts the arrangements were the talk of the town. “Both events, the party at the Taj Apollo Bunder, and the reception at the Leela took one’s breath away.
Snapshots from the wedding
The first at the Taj had been designed by architect Smita Khanna, daughter of finance wiz Sid Khanna, who happens to be married into the groom’s family. Said a source, “She’d gone for a tropical look, and the entire room had been done up with beautiful foliage, with a dramatic bar in the centre. The second occasion on the lawns of the Leela had been done by Delhi-based scenographer Sumant Jayakrishnan, and featured chandeliers, flower cut outs and installations.”
As for the guests, given that the Nairs-Laxmi and Vivek are a preternaturally social and popular couple, the guest list ran into hundreds, with Maharajahs, ministers and mega stars flying in from all corners of the country. We ourselves had promised a ‘flying in’ Maharajah that we would meet him at the nuptials. Oh well, next time then.
Sixty rolling stones
For lovers of nostalgia, this appears to be the ultimate fiesta. Delhi-based ace photographer Pablo Bartholomew plans to bring in his 60th birthday with an exhibition titled ‘60/60’, a series of black and white portraits of some of India’s most eminent flower children, back in the day when they were more or less rolling stones who’d gathered no moss. The list includes actresses Smita Patil, Nafisa Ali Sodhi and Soni Razdan, activist film maker Anand Patwardhan, actor Tinnu Anand and directors Ketan Mehta and Mira Nair.
A poster of the show
“I refuse to believe Pablo, when he says this is possibly the last resurrection of his early archive,” said the photographer’s friend, author Rosalyn D’Mello (Handbook for My Lover), “but this is a really special body of work, of artists, filmmakers, poets, when they were seemingly still establishing themselves...,” she said, adding, “It reminds me of that lovely line my friend Partho P. Chakrabarty once came up with, ‘We will all be young and beautiful once.’” The exhibition opens at Sakshi at the end of the month.
Philanthropy at its best
Saturday night witnessed yet another instance of philanthropy by the Rotary Club, that international organisation of business and professional leaders committed to humanitarian causes. This time, it was an auction by its District 3140, whose governor, Subhash Kulkarni, had organised an auction by Saffron Art to raise money for various charities.
Dinesh Vazirani and Manoj Israni. Pic/Twitter
It was conducted by Saffron Art’s co founder Dinesh Vazirani and sponsored by Blue Cross, Anand Rathi Securities, and YES bank. The event raised approximately R 1.9 crore and saw the brisk sale of some extremely well priced canvasses. “Three leading galleries, two from Delhi, and one from Mumbai donated canvasses,” said Blue Cross’ Manoj Israni, whose philanthropic zeal had inspired the evening. “And it’s been a big success,” he said after the event, which took place at the Four Seasons.
Incidentally, the bidders were witness to a delightful little cameo, played out between Vazirani and his charming mother towards the end of the proceedings. Urged on by her auctioneer son, the elegant Padma Vazirani had shyly raised her hand for a donation from the back of the room. But seizing the opportunity, and taking advantage of familial comfort, Dinesh instantly tripled the amount, much to the delight of all –including his mother.