>> And word comes in of Prince Charles’ nine-day visit to India, starting tomorrow, during which he will travel to Dehradun, New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Kochi, before flying to Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). In Mumbai, the heir to the British throne accompanied by his wife, will be present at a gala sitdown dinner to be held at the Oberoi’s Regal Room on Saturday, where he will meet a section of the country’s movers and shakers.
According to a source, the gathering will be addressed by Mukesh Ambani, Suhel Seth and the Prince himself, all three who will exhort the audience to support the Prince’s Trust, his philanthropic initiative. “It’s going to be a coming together of not only the who’s who of Mumbai but the who’s who of India,” says Seth, who is actively involved with the British Asian Trust, a part of the Prince’s Trust.
The evening also promises to bring together some of the country’s sharpest brains like Anand Mahindra, Ajay Piramal, Harish Salve and Arnab Goswami, we hear.
Remembering Rajni bhai
>> Our dear friend and mentor, the late Rajni Patel, the famous lawyer and freedom fighter, would have turned 100 years old in January 2015 had he lived.
And word comes in that Union Minister Sharad Pawar, who we used to meet on many occasions in the company of Rajni bhai and his graceful wife Bakul, wants Mumbai to celebrate the centenary in high style. He has encouraged Bakul to either write a book herself, or to commission a biography of the great lawyer. A number of international publishers have already indicated enthusiasm for the project.
Bakul tells the story of the close friendship between Rajni and Jawaharlal Nehru during India’s freedom struggle. She has scores of letters the two men exchanged when Rajni was studying law in the UK, and Nehru was leading the Congress in India. Nehru encouraged Rajni to travel to the US and other places and gather support for India’s freedom from the British Raj. When Rajni returned to Bombay by ship, Nehru stood at the Gateway of India to receive him. But the British authorities wouldn’t permit Rajni to disembark. Instead, they arrested him on the ship, and spirited him away to Nashik jail!
The book, if it does get written will be an invaluable chronicle of India, tracing its trajectory from its Independence struggle to when it attained a sense of nationhood and then its first few steps towards development and growth. Rajni bhai, who was not only a top lawyer but also President of the Bombay Congress, and was a witness and key participant in all these chapters.
Vote for me!
>> “Please log onto crossword.in and vote for my book F@? k knows. It’s made it to the top 10 all India list,” said our friend, the perennially upbeat one-man entertainment industry- Percept’s Shailendra Singh, whose tome of wisdom has been short listed for the Crossword Popular Book award this year. The fact that it’s up against worthies like What Young India Wants by Chetan Bhagat, The Oath of the Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi, Dongri to Dubai by S Hussain Zaidi and The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk by Sudha Murty has not dampened his spirits.
“For a dyslexic like me to become an author was a dream itself, then to be in the top 10 is truly a F@?k knows moment..” he said. “Time for some Moet and Godiva..” said the ebullient bon vivant. We agree.
The odd couple
>> As one goes about the business of ferreting out the city’s catalogue of misdemeanours and peccadilloes certain complacency ensues.
After all, how many transgressions can one raise one’s eyebrows to? But news of this next coupling — though sourced from a credible authority, appears so peculiar that it had us gobsmacked.
It concerns a lady of impeccable repute and pedigree from the art world, who though she shares her nomenclature with a slightly more flamboyant (lots more, actually) namesake, is rumoured to be dating a married playboy whose knowledge of Matisse and Duchamp leaves a lot to be desired.
Nevertheless, they appear to be an item.
Oh dear there’s no accounting for the heart and its reasons, is there?
Salaam Mumbai: All partied out
‘Tis the season to be merry and after attending the Big Fat Destination Wedding and the Mega Stratospheric Hi-jinks Party — the 200 people who matter (or think they do ) in Mumbai are gearing up for the next big-ticket listing on their calendar: the Terribly Important Literary Festival.
The other day I was talking to a lady who having attended the BFDW and the MSHP was priming herself for the third (the TILF).
“Whattodo darling,” she said in her famous drawl, “I’m just so partied out babes, I need a mega event-rehab to settle my nerves.”
True, I said.
“I mean it’s been a you know a...” she said with her famous loss for words.
“I know,” I said, “But don’t lose heart, soon the silly season will be over and you can go off for your annual rest to the European fat farm …
“No rest for the wicked babes,” she replied darkly. “After the lit festivals and the cultural dos and the music fests there are the Christmas and New Year parties and travel and then the Davos jamboree starts…”
Oops, I said, isn’t there a way of avoiding a few? Why don’t you cancel everything over the next few days and think things through and re-organise your diary?
“Gosh babes! How did you know? That’s exactly what I was going to do!” she said with fervour. “I plan to go away to somewhere quiet place to rest and plan the next crazy months ahead,” she said. “So that’s why I’m going to Goa this week — to Think!”
Yes of course, I said, that’s a brilliant idea, it makes perfect sense , you’re going to Goa to Think!