Bedi and the 'M' word

As someone who has actually held Kabir Bedi's first wedding announcement in our hands way back in the sixties, when he'd married his live in partner Protima Bedi, our alarm bells should have gone off when we received his cleverly disguised fourth.

To be honest, something about its witty wording and handmade paper and design inviting us to celebrate Bedi's 'annual 50th birthday,' had reminded us of the actor's earliest debut in the marital stakes: 'we got married this day etc' it had declared, adding with exquisite alliteration, 'there was no damn dowry'.

Kabir Bedi and Parveen Dussanj on their wedding day. Pic/Swarali Purohit
Kabir Bedi and Parveen Dussanj on their wedding day. Pic/Swarali Purohit

Bedi, for his towering persona has a mischievous sense of humour, and his playful hide and seek game with the media and public over his recent betrothal, has resulted in one of the most carefully orchestrated breaking news stories of late.

No surprises then that the assembled guests at what was supposed to be at his birthday party, were in a state of giddy excitement on being informed that he and Parveen Dussanj had tied the knot a day earlier in Alibaug.

After all, for his circle of middle aged much married and often boringly so friends — Bedi has been something of an enigma — why would one of India's freest thinkers so readily agree to the confines of such a traditional state — approved binding, not once — but four times? What were they themselves missing? “I told him Kabir you have everything. Great looks, voice talent - and now you're one up on everyone else with your fourth marriage,” said his long time friend and director (The Taj Mahal), an emotional Akbar Khan.

(To be fair, Salman Khan who walked in later, appeared palely thoughtful at the thought of so much matrimony in one life.) Happy-wedded life Kabir. Here's NOT looking forward to a fifth invitation.

Twenty beautiful years
“Can't believe how time flies and suddenly we realised that Good Earth turns 20 this week!” Said its founder and creative director, our friend Anita A Lal, about what is perhaps the Capital's best export to Mumbai, her home furnishing's brand, Good Earth. It began life as a humble outlet behind a bus stop at Cumballa Hill and has now blossomed into a formidable and influential global brand.

Anita A Lal (extreme left) with her daughter Simran and friends
Anita A Lal (extreme left) with her daughter Simran and friends

We have been early admirers of Lal's oeuvre. “We are planning a small informal brunch to reconnect with all our dear friends and supporters who have helped to get us to this milestone,” she wrote. “Come over to the Raghuvanshi Mills anytime this week so we can give you a hug.” We will Anita, we will.

Celebrating philanthropy
“People often aren't considered truly rich until anointed by Hurun Report…” declared the Wall Street Journal (US edition) a few years ago. Yesterday, when some of India's richest men, like Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, Adi Godrej, and Anand Burman were presented with the Hurun India Rich List 2015 Appreciation Awards, there was reason to cheer.

Third from left: Sandeep Singh, Fifth from left: Adi Godrej, Anas Rahman Junaid, Rupert Hoogewerf, Cyrus Poonawalla and Kuldeep Singh Dhingra
Third from left: Sandeep Singh, Fifth from left: Adi Godrej, Anas Rahman Junaid, Rupert Hoogewerf, Cyrus Poonawalla and Kuldeep Singh Dhingra

“The award ceremony was aimed at recognising the contribution of entrepreneurs and industrialists in the areas of business and philanthropy,” said a spokesperson for the award. “And they were presented by Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report.

Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla, chairman Poonawalla group, won it for Hurun Report Impact Entrepreneur of the year 2015, and the award for Most Respected Entrepreneur of the year 2015 was shared by Adi Godrej, chairman Godrej Group and Anand C Burman, chairman Dabur Group.

Incidentally Hoogewerf, considered the godfather of the China Rich List, established his enterprise in 1999 after he found that there was a lacuna in charting China's exponential growth in the wealth stakes. Today, the Hurun Report is widely recognised as the foremost authority in tracking the rapid changes amongst China's high net worth individuals, and produces 20 magazine issues a year, made up of a monthly main book and supplements that target the special interests of China's wealth creators.

This includes the ground-breaking China Philanthropy List, a benchmark report on the state of charitable donations in China, and the Best of the Best Awards, the annual brand and lifestyle preferences of China's high net worth individuals. Awards to celebrate the philanthropic zeal of the wealthy? We like!

A candle for Manto
A devoted fan of his alerted us: 'Today's Manto's 61's death anniversary' he'd emailed us on Tuesday, and on checking, it was confirmed that indeed he was right. Tuesday marked the death anniversary of one of the greatest writers that South East Asia has produced, Saadat Hasan Manto.

Saadat Hasan Manto
Saadat Hasan Manto

Manto holds a particular fascination for us for his connection with Mumbai. Way before his prodigious talent was discovered, long before his ill-fated move to Pakistan in 1948, the writer had lived and written in Mumbai, knocking around its mean streets and its seedy bylanes, impoverished and often catatonic with hunger and booze.

Some of his greatest outputs likes Kali Shalwar, Dhuan and his collection of his stories Chugad arose from these Mumbai wanderings, and have been amongst the greatest writing on this unique and harsh metropolis.
So here's a candle for the tragically underrated Manto, who sadly never knew his own genius, but whose paeans to the city have been amongst the best ever penned.

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