Dazzling the French Riviera

>> Those who attended it, can’t stop raving about the recently held wedding in Cannes of Kunal Grover of London and Ria Dubash, of Mumbai, both from families known for their social clout.

The guest list covered the whole range of India’s social register, from the elusive billionaire Pallonji Mistry to Adi and Parmesh Godrej (whose daughter Tanya is married into the Dubash family) to Shah Rukh, Gauri Khan, Rishi, Neetu Kapoor, Karan Johar, Abu Jani and a host of other worthies.

And whereas returning revellers are still a tad bleary-eyed and hung over, they can’t stop talking about the hospitality.

Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan

“Two hotels had been booked for the guests, Mercedes vans were allotted to the invitees, there were baskets of hampers stuffed with goodies in each of our rooms, and a special gift from Ralph Lauren for each guest,” they say. What’s more, the hosts had thoughtfully taken over La Plage across from one of the hotels and converted it into an all day hospitality centre with non-stop champagne, a live DJ and food for the hungry.

Parmeshwar Godrej

But, of course, what was most spectacular were the events themselves. From the welcome party of the first night, where the dress code of formal western wear saw the women in ball dresses and the men in black ties, to the sangeet the next day, when 700 hundred guests dressed in lavish Indian wear dazzled the French Riviera resort to the actual wedding for which the famous Promenade de la Croisette had to be closed down for the occasion. It was according to those who attended it, “one of the most glamorous weddings they’ve ever been to.”

Rishi and Neetu Kapoor

The Modi Mojo
>> Feisty is as feisty does. So, it comes as no surprise that on hearing that the life ban imposed on him by the BCCI had been stayed by the Rajasthan High Court yesterday, former IPL chairman Lalit Modi used the occasion to do what he does best -- gloat.

Lalit Modi

“First want to thank my gorgeous wife Minal for putting up with me for 24 years today,” he said referring to his wedding anniversary, which no doubt proved lucky for him. And then added, “And then thanks to Hon Rajasthan High Court for staying the life ban imposed on me by the BCCI MAFIA.”

Minal Modi with daughter Aliya
Minal Modi with daughter Aliya

Incidentally, his marriage to Minal, the daughter of a 24-carat Sindhi business family with interests in Lagos and London, had created quite a stir, not only because of the age difference between the couple and the fact that she was a divorcee but also that she had been a friend of Bina, Lalit’s mom! That he stood his ground against all opposition and went on to live happily ever after with the love of his life is a measure of Modi’s legendary pluck.

Impersonating Tina
Will the person impersonating Tina Ambani on Facebook desist? We were bemused when our attention was brought to Ambani’s alleged recent posts. “She’d been active posting homilies and quotations on the site until a year ago, and then had suddenly stopped,” said a socialite. “And then a couple of weeks ago, she resurfaced with the comment ‘I’m back,’ which elicited thousands of likes, making people wonder if she’d decided to go high-profile again.” Not likely, we replied. Knowing her aversion to publicity, we can safely say that the alleged Tina on FB, with the thousands of followers and the recent daily posts -- is an impersonator.

Wedding highs and lows
And even as the wedding outfits of some of India’s top movers and shakers have not returned from the cleaners, there’s yet another high-profile one to attend. This one kicks off in the city today and is expected to raise the bar as far as these things go. But the city’s cognoscenti were heard expressing disappointment that the wedding invitations sent out from the girl’s side had failed to mention the bride’s grandparents. Given that the bride’s father has been fighting a long drawn legal battle with his father a rather flamboyant Pali Hill-based hotelier for many years over money, this omission has been all the more noted. “After all, respect is always shown to the elderly in such times, no matter what,” said one Bandra matron clucking her disapproval.

Salaam Mumbai: The best Diwali gift
We are not given to getting teary eyed over the daily news. But in these bleak times, the story of Ganesh Dhangade, the cop who was reunited with his family after going missing as a 6-year-old -- certainly had us choked. 

How many of us have not sat through a Manmohan Desai film of the 80s, in which children are separated from their parents, siblings from each other and members of clans set asunder -- only to be reunited in the last reel?

How many of us have found ourselves dabbing our eyes, even as we questioned the implausibility of such a plot? 

The phenomenon of a child being reunited after almost two decades with his grieving mother on the basis of a tattoo is nothing short of a miracle.And not just any child mind you, but a brave little boy who, despite his misfortune, managed to make it to an orphanage, excel in sports, clear the prestigious police entrance exam and emerge as a strapping young police officer. 

Can any mother hope for a better Diwali gift?

Most days, all of us wake up to the morning haul of bad news, mishaps, disappointments and more.

But yesterday, I am pretty sure that there was not one amongst those who read the story of Ganesh Raghunath Dhangade, reunited with his widowed mother Manda and his three siblings, who did not feel their spirits soar and their faith in goodness rekindled

May such moments of happiness light up every home this Diwali.

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