>> And word comes in that Jodhpur National University will be conferring a doctorate on Capt CP Krishnan Nair, founder and chairman emeritus of The Leela Group of Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, on September 30. Captain Nair is believed to be the first major hotelier in India to receive such an honour.
Incidentally, we are told that when Captain Nair was asked to suggest another national figure to be awarded an honorary doctorate, he suggested his longtime friend Amitabh Bachchan. Jodhpur National University is the first private university in Western Rajasthan, and has more than 13,000 students.
Speaking of which, this will be the fifth doctorate conferred on the megastar, the earlier ones originating from the universities of De Montfort University Leicester, Jhansi University, Delhi University, and the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. However, if you think it’s going to be Doctor Bachchan, now think again.
“No (I) never want to use ‘Dr’ as a title. There is only one Dr Bachchan, and that is my father. (He) did his PhD from Cambridge University,” Bachchan had once said. We like!
Clamouring for invites
>> And as predicted, the jockeying for invitations has started amongst the who’s who for Nita Ambani’s big day in November. And whereas ‘save the date’ letters have been sent out to friends and well-wishers of the lady (including some top Bollywood stars), such has been the clamour to be included, that word has it that the venue might have to be changed from Florence to Umaid Bhavan in Jodhpur.
And, of course, those not invited are expected to come up with elaborate and watertight alibis to save face!
>> the Parliament needs help, we agree, and yesterday our friend and local MP Milind Deora was doing his bit with his annual Youth Parliament camp, an initiative to foster parliamentary discourse and rigour amongst young people.
Dozens of putative parliamentarians turned up at the BSE to hear the South MP and his chief guest Sachin Pilot, union minister for corporate affairs, talk up parliament no end. That produced applause from the youngsters but, hey, who was that at the back of the hall guffawing away?
None other than comics Cyrus Broacha and Kunal Vijaykar, whose lampooning of the Parliament on their television show The Week That Wasn’t on CNN-IBN certainly affords viewers another take on parliamentary affairs.
The heat is on
>> Remember the time when there was a spate of high-profile Customs related incidents, involving top socialites, wives of leading industrialists and Bollywood actresses? According to the grapevine, the vigilante officer behind these has been transferred — and no prizes for guessing where to: the service tax department of the Government of India. Which might account for why the action has shifted and some high-profile fish are beginning to feel the heat of the frying pan!
Fighting for justice
>> “I firmly believe in Edmund Burke’s philosophy that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men to do nothing,” says our long time friend, the feisty lawyer Abha Singh who along with husband YP Singh makes up one half of the country’s most prominent guided missile teams. Yesterday, when we spoke to her, she sounded particularly chuffed. “The Bandra court has ordered registration of an FIR against five unidentified policemen of Khar police station for forcibly barging into the house of a single lady residing alone at Pali Hill,” she said.
“They had done this to help a private party get physical possession of the property by use of illegal force, without any court order or warrant. What was more shocking was that such large number of cops forced their way into this flat, without even a mandatory station diary entry!” she said. Advocate Abha Singh took up this case after she was informed about the use of brute force by the cops on a single woman. Ever since she gave up being a bureaucrat and took up law, Abha has been fighting against injustices faced by the common man, be it the victims of the Salman Khan hit-and-run case, the Palghar girls who had posted on FB on Thackeray’s demise, or the traffic cop who had been assaulted by MLA Kshitij Thakur. “These cases illustrate the rampant corruption prevalent in the system and the need for committed citizens to fight it,” she said.
Salaam Mumbai: “Give me your tired, your poor”
On reading yesterday’s column about loneliness in Mumbai and the places where its citizens congregate to alleviate it, a friend pointed out the yeoman service provided by the city’s beauty salons and parlours. I agree. Mumbai’s beauty parlours are a great repository of the city’s secrets and emotional life, often providing much-needed succour for the lonely soul. You’ve seen them, haven’t you? The desperate housewives who use their time at the salon to let off much needed steam, and the tense, stressed executives airing their woes? It is my surmise that without these outlets, a lot of them would go crazy with stress or loneliness, or both. A salon in Mumbai, more often than not, is a place where more than its clients’ outward appearances get treated. I have a myriad salon stories.
The most poignant was when a few years ago, sitting in one, over the usual din of hairdryers and quotidian chatter, I heard a low, heartfelt sobbing. On inspection it emanated from a young woman of 20, sobbing her heart out because she didn’t like the way her hair had been cut. “She’s had a nervous breakdown ever since her in-laws sent her home saying she wasn’t smart enough for their son,” her mother explained. “Since then, she’s become like a child about her looks.” I swear all of us, the entire salon, customers and stylists, spent all our energy telling the poor girl how beautiful she was and how lovely she looked! See what I mean about emotional support?