Once in a while, Mumbai surprises. Take Tuesday evening when leading medical cosmetologist and the founder of the Blush chain of skincare clinics, Dr Jamuna Pai, celebrated 20 years of being a pioneer in the beauty industry, with the release of her debut book No One Has To Know The Ultimate Skin Care And Anti Ageing Guide (Collins) at a glittering ceremony at the Taj's Lands End in Bandra.
Dipti Salgaocar, Dr Jamuna Pai, Kokilaben Ambani and Arjun Kapoor
The surprise came because an event coalesced around a celebrated aesthetician known to be on the speed dial of top Bollywood stars, beauty queens and corporate honchos, is expected to be all glitter, fake smiles and forced bonhomie, right? Well, think again. Tuesday evening's launch, which saw the legendary Pai aesthetics and sensibility on ample display, was distinguished by the genuine bonhomie, warmth and goodwill that circulated in the room.
Dr Jamuna Pai
Moderated by a svelte Mandira Bedi, the evening, which saw a dance performance by the Terence Lewis crew, featured guest after beautiful guest who set aside their prepared speeches to speak of Pai's unmatched qualities of kindness, grace and warmth.
But in line-up that included glamour such as Juhi Chawla, Lisa Haydon, Malaika Arora Khan, and Mallika Sarabhai, the evening undoubtedly belonged to the Chief Guest Kokilaben Ambani, who dressed in a blushing pink sari and accompanied by her daughter Dipti Salgaocar delivered a speech suffused with warmth and regard for Pai.
What's more, all this was for an excellent cause too. Pai has pledged her own proceeds from the sale of the book to the NGO – Stop Acid Attacks, in aid of the acid attack survivors. The evening also saw the launch of an initiative headed by the country's top plastic surgeons like Dr Anil Tibrewala, who will help in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of acid attack survivors pro bono.
"I share not only my experience and knowledge with readers, but also donate all my proceeds to an excellent cause. What could be better?" said the ever-gracious Pai.
Enter the mentors
Two amongst Mumbai's leading and most well regarded doctors, (who happen to be married to each other!) India's foremost fertility expert Dr Firuza Parikh and leading neuropsychiatrist Rajesh M.
(From left) Nita Ambani, Dr and Mrs Robert G Robinson, Gautam Chaudhry, Dr Alan DeCherney and Mukesh Ambani with Dr Rajesh and Firuza Parikh
Parikh held a reception for their family and some of their closest friends to meet their mentors Dr Robert G Robinson from John Hopkins Hospital, Dr Alan DeCherney from Yale and good friend Dr Gautam Chaudhry of UCLA at the Oberoi-Trident Rooftop last week.
Dr Robinson, a global pioneer in neuropsychiatry mentored Dr Parikh in the same field at Hopkins in the mid-80s. At that time, Dr Parikh was the second person to be trained by him and hence amongst the first few trained neuropsychiatrists in the world.
Dr DeCherney meanwhile mentored Firuza at Yale, an exercise that involved a 12-hour workday that began at 5 am and included the weekends as well. (The good doctor was overheard recalling that her seven-day round-the-clock practice at Jaslok appears light in comparison). It was an evening that saw some of the country's best and brightest gather to meet the mentors of two of India's best regarded medical practitioners.
Among them were Nita and Mukesh Ambani, Sushma and Anand Jain, Namrata and Pranav Adani, the Poddars and the Goels of Zee TV, from the world of business; Anu and Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Barkha Dutt from the media, and legal luminary Aspi Chinoy.
"Most of the guests were overheard thanking the distinguished international doctors for bequeathing them talent such as the Parikhs," says a source. Someone else remarked that in addition to priceless talent, there was over a hundred billion dollars of net worth in the room that evening!
Have Biryani. Will Bhangra
After a particularly boisterous biryani brunch at SoBo over the weekend, which saw many a guest tweet their rapture, the real highlight took place on the streets when Shiv Sena cub Aaditya Thackeray, actor Riteish Deshmukh and director actor Farhan Akhtar are said to have left the confines of their limo to dance in a random baraat that was underway!
Aaditya Thackeray, Riteish Deshmukh and Farhan Akhtar
What's more, this desi version of 'Dancing On the Streets' made it to Twitter when Deshmukh took to the micro-blogging site to describe the 'impromptu' jig and Farhan replied to it with, "Let me know when you guys want to bhangra-crash a baraat again."
Soon Aaditya Thackeray also got into the bhangra banter, exclaiming about "the effect of the biryani!" Now all that is left to find out is what was in the biryani!
Modi and Modi
The Obama delegation to India had an unlikely member in the personage of Kalpen Suresh Modi, the Hollywood actor who had been appointed as the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in the Obama administration in 2009.
Kal Penn's selfie with Narendra Modi. Pic/Instagram
Penn an Indian-American born in New Jersey and best known for his role in the Harold and Kumar series (he also played the lead in Mira Nair's The Namesake) followed an itinerary in the Capital that embraced not only the pomp and ceremony but also the local and fun.
His Instagram and Twitter posts had images of him boarding Air Force One, his view of the Republic Day Parade, a roadside chai break (unlike the high tea between POTUS and Lotus) and a selfie with Modi he aptly captioned 'American Modi meets Indian Modi'.
Just like their predecessors, these two PROs of the country's fastest growing corporations enjoy staggering power and access. Having taken care of their bosses' interests in an important state, their significance cannot be overstated now that the action has shifted and the game has got bigger. And unsurprisingly, a certain flamboyance has crept into their lives.
This was amply demonstrated over the weekend when the progeny of one such Speinmasters got married. Goggle-eyed reports suggest a mind-boggling degree of lavish arrangements. "Held at a sprawling farm house, there were champagne, wine and whiskey bars, a buffet of Australian beef, Indonesian prawn, New Zealand lamb and eight planeloads of flowers from Thailand," says a source.
But the piece de resistance? "Undoubtedly the presence of six beauticians in the ladies rooms, which has got the traditionally conservative city in a tizzy!" Move Over Nira you've just been out-leagued.