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Campus celebrity on holiday

>> Manish Parikh, the Mumbai boy who’s blazing a trail with his career at the Ross Business School, which is among the top three undergrad business schools in the US, is back in Mumbai on vacation.

A few months ago, Parikh had made history by being elected the president of the Student Body at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor this year, the first Independent candidate (no political party affiliation) and the first international student to be elected in the 106-year history of the student body.

Not only that, but soon after his election, he was among 15 student leaders in the US invited by the White House for a 45-min telecon with US President Obama. Incidentally, he comes from a family of 35 doctors, including his grandfather Mahendra Parikh, the legendary gynaecologist and his parents Firuza and Rajesh Parikh and his brother Swapneil who is an intern.

When interviewed by the college mag after his success, he said he drew his inspiration from many people including his parents. “My father has always taught me the importance of secularism.


Dr Firuza Parikh and Manish Parikh

Also, he has imparted a lot of knowledge, whether it has to do with the history of religion, or political affairs, or even the cultures of different countries. My mom inspires me to be a better human being every day.” Manish is the godson of Mukesh and Nita Ambani and credits them for inspiring him too.

Behind the Bamboo Curtain
>>  There seems to be an implosion of food for thought in Mumbai these days. And a lot of it is happening at the NCPA’s Experimental Theatre. Yesterday, we were invited there by the Asia Society to the Indian Premiere of the 2012 Academy Award winning documentary, Saving Face followed by a discussion between its director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Kiran Rao, filmmaker, and next Monday Sudha Shah will be launching her book The King in Exile: The Fall of the Royal Family of Burma, at the same venue.


Sudha Shah with her new book The King in Exile: The Fall of the Royal Family of Burma

“I researched and wrote the book because I was curious to know more about the family after reading Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace.” Sudha, who is a travel writer of considerable acumen and the wife of uber investment banker Pradip Shah informed us, “I discovered there was not much information available about them.” Researched and written over seven years, Sudha’s sources include rare in-depth interviews with King Thibaw’s descendants including four of his grandchildren; two of who are now deceased and her note collected from her many travels to the region.

“The book has been written in the form of narrative non-fiction — a family biography as I found the story too fascinating to either embellish or fictionalise,” says its author.

Today Bollywood. Tomorrow the world!
>>  The lady who’s trying to buy her way into Bollywood’s in-crowd is getting more desperate, according to those in the know. Recently, she along with her husband (who friends swear has probably never seen a Hindi movie in his life, let alone be acquainted with its stars) hosted a party for a visiting Bollywood princess and 15 mutual friends and guests say that it was champagne and caviar all the way. “The irony is that the chief guest was hardly the type to be impressed with such gaucherie,” an insider was overheard remarking.

Goodbye FP
>>  A sad day. Our friend and physician Dr FP Soonawala, the doyen amongst urologists the world over passed away yesterday. He was one of the kindest and ablest members of his vocation, a giant in his field and had earned the respect of colleagues and peers all over the world. Son of the legendary Dr Phiroze Soonawala who started his practice in 1926 and founded a clan of medical talent that still dazzles, Fardoon or FP as he was affectionately called, and his illustrious brood of siblings Jamshed, Rustom and Soli — also had sons who turned out to be brilliant doctors.


DR FP Soonawala

Few know that the Soonawalas’ medical tradition extends to their greater family too, with many of the third generation marrying doctors or into doctor families themselves and that the family home, at Mumbai’s Dadar Parsi Colony was where the entire clan once lived under the same roof in Dr Phiroze Soonawalla’s time.

Our condolences to his family and the entire Soonawala clan. RIP Dr FP Soonawala.

Of Prasoon, Piyush and their mouches
>>  Blame it on their moustaches. Though, of course, that’s not why we mistakenly cited the wonderfully mustachioed Prasoon Pandey as a guest at Uday Shankar’s weekend dinner instead of his brother O&M’s dynamo the equally hirsute Piyush.


Piyush Pandey and Prasoon Pandey

Actually what really confused us was the name Prasoon: Joshi the other famous lyricist (non-mustachioed) was there too, and we had him on our mind while filing our copy! Which is why our desk included a picture of the wrong Pandey brother! Not that any one minded. Just saying.

Breaking news
>> And just in from Salman Rushdie on a social networking site: “It’s official now, so I can say it: the film of Midnight’s Children will be at the Toronto International Film festival, in a prime slot, a special gala screening. So delighted!” We liked! 


Rahul Bose in a still from the movie

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