Celebrating Zarine

Zarine Khan with family and friends at her birthday lunch.
Zarine Khan with family and friends at her birthday lunch.

Foodie, star wife, and super mom Zarine Khan's birthday lunch yesterday at Sanjay House in Juhu, was a gathering of the much loved lady's closest family and friends. From eldest daughter jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali (her sisters Simone Arora and Suzanne Khan were travelling), to Delhi-based sister-in-law Dilshad Sheikh, to daughter-in-law Malaika Khan and niece Laila Furniturewala, to her long standing rummy gang of Honey Irani and Bubbles Behl, to inner circle gal pals like Mona Narang, Rajalaxmi Rao, Zeba Kohli, Kiran Juneja, Bina Aziz, Poonam Dhillon and Aarti Surendranath, to friends of her daughters, like Kanika Singh, Rouble Nagi and Ramona Narang, they were all there to sing vociferously to the birthday girl; sip from flutes of bubbly, click uncountable selfies, and partake of the house specialty of delicious haleem and biryani.

Zarine, who had been a successful model in her college going days and then had gone on to be wife to the reigning star of the sixties, Sanjay Khan, and then mother to a brood of four, also held down a serious career in interior designing (in many ways she'd pioneered the star wife designer syndrome in Bollywood), is now a grandmother and a sought after author of a cookery book with a show of her own. Above all, she is a lady of great warmth and known to possess an exemplary quota of emotional intelligence. This was amply demonstrated when not only was her birthday lunch attended by daughter Simone's graceful mother-in-law Neena Arora, but also by Pinky Roshan, mother of Hrithik, and her youngest daughter Suzanne's former mother-in-law. If that is not proof of an exemplary quota of emotional intelligence — then we don't know what is!

Ramona Narang
Ramona Narang

The joy of missing out
You know how much water (or even wine) has flown under the bridge, when one-time party girl and hotel heiress Ramona Narang holds forth on the responsibilities of motherhood and the joy of staying home. The last time we'd conversed with India's answer to Paris Hilton, had been in the wee hours of the night in the middle of the Arabian Sea, when she had arrived dramatically on a speed boat with a gaggle of friends to party some more on a friend's dhow, on which an internationally celebrated DJ spun his magic. Now, almost two decades later and the mother of eight-year-old twins, Narang insisted that her partying days were well behind her.

"My mom thinks I spend too much time with my kids," she said. "I'm a real hands-on mother, waking up early to see them off to school and helping with homework etc." As for her kids, she says that she's trying to bring them up in as 'normal' a way as possible. "Not like me. As my dad says if I were left on my own at a street corner, I would not last two hours. I've been pampered. I want my kids to be street smart."

Dr Jamuna Pai
Dr Jamuna Pai

No one has to know
This Friday, leading cosmetologist Dr Jamuna Pai, the lady in whose well-manicured hands some of the most beautiful (and famous) people in the country trust their faces, will be participating in the launch of Harvard Business School's 'Gender Series', a discussion on beauty and whether its pursuit is limiting or liberating.

Speaking with panelists like actress Sonam Kapoor and psychiatrist Pervin Dadachanji, the event, co-hosted by a lifestyle and fashion glossy, promises to be both stimulating and incisive. Pai who has written a best selling book, aptly titled, No One Has To Know, is known as a pioneering figure in the world of beauty, having worked with a slew of international beauty pageant winners.

Sonam Kapoor
Sonam Kapoor

"While I do not fight the notion that 'beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder', what I mean by 'beautiful' is not just perfect features or a toned body, but the sum total of all that along with emotional health as well."

Will she reveal the names of any of her famous clients though? As her book maintains, no one has to know.'

Sally Holkar
Sally Holkar

An invitation to designers
By any account, Sally Holkar's story is a remarkable one. An alumnus of Stanford where she met her husband Richard Holkar, from the erstwhile ruling clan of Indore, this Texan beauty threw herself into all things Indian when the couple moved to India, even penning an erudite column on food under the byline Shalini Devi for a local broadsheet in the mid-eighties. What followed was a stint with the late Sharada Dwivedi producing well-researched coffee table books. However, it is her love for textiles that most defines Holkar, who took it upon herself to revive the Maheshwar sari, an exquisite blend of silk and cotton, that the Holkars had long been patrons of.

Now, after five decades of a life dedicated to the revival of handloom and indigenous weaves, Holkar has become something of an icon for the work she is doing through her Handloom School and Women Weave, which she set up to champion handloom and empower India's rich weaving legacy. "The only way to stay relevant and ahead of the curve," she said to us yesterday from Maheshwar, "is to work closely with India's top designers. They only have to come and spend a weekend at the Handloom School and learn about the absolutely beautiful weaving techniques, to realise just how fabulously they can collaborate to produce highly skilled and original ensembles for their collection."

What say Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, Anamika Khanna and Sabyasachi Mukherjee?

Ready to take the plunge? Go back to school and do your bit for reviving an industry that empowers so many talented weavers? "There is no alternative, handloom has to go upmarket and fashion conscious, otherwise the only other option is to invest in power looms and big mills," says Holkar.

High-flying style
With the ongoing madness of coordinating flights and international bookings for an upcoming Bollywood event overseas, an insider was overheard revealing how some of the bigger stars had found a way to circumvent the hassles and save the organisers the trouble. "A top line jewellery brand associated with the event has provided a private jet for one of the stars, which would be exclusively for his use and wait on the tarmac to do his bidding," she said with ample relief in her voice. "All we have to do is an airport pick up and drop." That's star power!

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