Artsy icons

"Paris is a yearly ritual; I go there for Maison & Objet, which is a trade fair dedicated to professionals working in lifestyle, decoration and design," says the petite and talented Anavila Sindhu Misra, whose linen saris have taken the world of artsy women by storm.

"I showcase my home line there," she says, "Apart from work it is a brilliant place to meet like-minded professionals from all over the world."

Misra’s home line, which again like her saris, is an all-linen collection for table, bed and living areas, is emblematic of the Mumbai-based designer’s aesthetic signature.

Anavila Sindhu Misra and Richard Holkar
Anavila Sindhu Misra and Richard Holkar

"The one thing the fair has taught me is to un-clutter," she says. "We as Indians have a tendency to clutter. The immense possibilities of our rich heritage manifests into an overtly detailed design language, which is beautiful, but can also at times have droopy looking products. Over the years I am learning to work on minimal design based on Indian crafts," she adds.

A serendipitous result of Misra’s Paris trip this year has been her meeting with Richard Holkar, the former Maharajah of Indore whose work in textiles and restoration is legendary.

"He was keen to know more about my work and because of our common interest in Indian textiles and appreciation of each other’s work, we met for lunch," she says, adding, "he is wearing one of the Anavila linen stoles in the picture."

Clearing files, finally
He was known as the sleeping prince as far as getting projects cleared in Maharashtra, but all of a sudden, Prithviraj Chavan the Berkeley-educated affable Congress politico, appears to have become the blue-eyed boy of the powerful builder’s lobby.

Prithviraj Chavan. Pic/PTI
Prithviraj Chavan. Pic/PTI

Why? Because suddenly, with an alacrity that belies his legendary reluctance to take a decision, all overdue and long-delayed infrastructure development schemes have been inked and signed by him.

It couldn’t have something to do with the imminent elections and his beleaguered party’s desperate attempts to wrest victory from the mouth of defeat now could it? Just saying.

Another tell-all to me?
It’s known as one of the mandatory requirements of self-styled mega tycoons: along with their vacation homes, trophy wives and weekend golf games comes the statesmanlike tell-all memoir of the great man, as he prepress to leave his legacy.

Vijaypat Singhania
Vijaypat Singhania

And according to our sources, the latest to have caught the autobiography bug is Vijaypat Singhania, the feisty aviation, record-breaking chairman emeritus of the Raymond Group.

But unlike those of his peers, who take a decidedly anodyne view of their life and times seen through soft focus lenses, Singhania’s tome apparently is going to stir up a hornet’s nest or two, say our sources. "He’s going to name names, and call out bluffs," we’re told.

And for a man who featured in loving detail in the late Protima Bedi’s memoirs, has felt the long arm of authoritarianism when his newspaper carried anti-Govt stories in the eighties (Satish Sharma, Sanjay Gandhi’s crony, apparently used to summon the Complete Man for regular dressing downs) and whose property had been vandalized by Shiv Sena goons last decade-it’s going to be one helluva tale.

Bring it on!

Meeting Miss Malini
"When I first came to Mumbai, I hardly knew anyone and so I launched the Friday Club," says Malini Agarwal aka Miss Malini, media’s agent provocateur, who in her brief years has demonstrated a remarkable talent for launching successful ventures. We are at an al fresco dinner in Valencia, Spain as she says this, the crew from her new TV show ‘Miss Malini’s World’ who have been following her around as she explores aspects of Spain, now looking a little tired and grateful for the downtime.

Malini Agarwal and Nowshad Rizwanullah
Malini Agarwal and Nowshad Rizwanullah

Miss Malini herself does not look tired, after a gruelling day of hair and makeup and various interviews, she’s still pert, alert, upbeat, as she tell us how she met Nowshad Rizwanullah, her husband, at the Friday Club! "We called it the Friday Club because we didn’t want to attract the obvious creeps who’d come to a singles club," she laughs.

The Friday Club, of course, is just one of Miss Malini’s ventures. There was her career as a Radio Jockey on Radio One; followed by her celebrity blog and now the TV show. All of it runs as a seamless operation by Rizwanullah, a Harvard Business school alumni who quit banking to build the Miss Malini Empire.

"And we weren’t the only couple who met there," laughs India’s best-known celebrity blogger. "Nine other couples met at the Friday Club and got married."


The art of the matter
On the looks of it, they appear to be an odd couple. After all she hails from Sobo old money and has substantial art credentials, whereas he’s been known to have been something of a party-hearty playboy and his wealth is barely a generation old, but with both recently divorced, footloose and fancy free, they’re quite the Sobo couple du jour.

His commitment to the relationship can be ascertained from his attempts to transform himself into something of a connoisseur of fine living and a sophisticate; and of course with her advise, the art he’s been acquiring is expectedly very good. So everyone’s happy.

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