Exquisite Coupling

It is perhaps one of Delhi’s most glamorous weddings. Both the bride and groom hail from two of Delhi’s oldest and wealthiest clans: the groom, Arjun Bhartia is the son of Hari Bhartia, who along with his elder brother Shyam runs the Jubilant Bhartia group; his aunt Shobhana Bhartia, is one of the most powerful media barons in India and a Birla to boot and his cousin Shamit is married to Nayantara Kothari, granddaughter of Dhirubhai Ambani; meanwhile the bride Anushka is the granddaughter of KP Singh, chairman of DLF (her father Rajiv is his only son), one of the country’s wealthiest men, who along with the Thapars, the Nandas and the Bharat Rams is part of Delhi’s business aristocracy.

KP Singh and Hari Bhartia
KP Singh and Hari Bhartia

So it is not surprising that this exquisite coupling has consumed Delhi society this past week. With a huge kick-off party for youngsters on Saturday, a sangeet held at the Hyatt today and a dinner reception hosted by the Bhartias on Thursday at a sprawling old bungalow, it’s been a week of understated glamour and drop-dead glamour. “Both families are old money and very well-heeled,” as a Lutyen’s luvvie remarked, adding, “No big fat Indian wedding here for sure.”

Celebrating Zubin
Penne Arabiata, Arabian Sea Pomfret and a spicy pickled Lamb Biryani were some of the dishes that guests dined on during the Gala benefit dinner to celebrate internationally renowned conductor Zubin Mehta’s 80th birthday.

Zubin Mehta. Pic/Suresh KK
Zubin Mehta. Pic/Suresh KK

Flanked by his friends Nusli and Maureen Wadia, Cyrus Poonawalla and members of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and with his oldest friend Cipla Chairman Yusuf K Hamied ever by his side, Mehta brought in his special birthday with a moving speech.

Thanking the gathering, Mehta said that it was in the very same ballroom that his late father the conductor and violinist Mehli Mehta had played night after night regaling guests very much like themselves all those decades ago. “I had not set eyes on this room,” he said “but when my father used to return late at night exhausted, we would be up to greet him — with his favourite fruit — mangoes!” he recalled.

And as if on cue, members of the Taj staff placed portions of freshly cut Alphonso mangoes accompanied with the maestro’s birthday cake in front of every guest. Nice.

India Shining, again?
Even as one half of Mumbai’s movers and shakers were at the Zubin Mehta event the other half were with Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance, at a dinner hosted by BJP leader Shaina NC at her home.

Jayant Sinha (left), Niranjan Hiranandani (second from left) and Adi Godrej (right)
Jayant Sinha (left), Niranjan Hiranandani (second from left) and Adi Godrej (right)

Sinha is that rare creature, a genuinely qualified politician whose resume comes gilt lined. The son of former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, this IIT graduate an alumni of U Penn and Harvard Business School who worked with some of the world’s most reputed international corporations had the gathering riveted with his pronouncements.

“This is the best time to be building Indian infrastructure — prices of cement and steel are at a low.” The likes of Adi Godrej, Niranjan Hirandanani, Hemendra Kothari, Tasneem and Vikram Mehta, lawyer Amit Desai and DG Police Praveen Dixit were spotted picking Sinha’s brains on various issues as the elder Chudasamas, Shaina’s beaming parents Nana and Munira, played gracious hosts.

Football’s coming home
Word comes in that there is more good news in the Jindal household (apart from an upcoming family wedding). Their football team Bengaluru FC, which competes in the I-League managed to secure this season’s title with a 2-0 win over the Salgaocar FC over the weekend.

Parth Jindal
Parth Jindal

Bengaluru FC is owned and managed by the JSW group with head honcho Sajjan Jindal as a director and his son Parth Jindal as CEO. The win this year means that Bengaluru FC has been crowned as champion two times out of the three seasons it has participated in already.

Parth, who is currently pursuing his MBA at Harvard University, is known to be a passionate football enthusiast himself (he has represented his school and college as a goalkeeper) but was unable to make it back in time for the game.

His social media post before the match read, “Feeling so so stranded here in the USA - wish I was in Bengaluru - wish the boys all the best - every part of me is with you.” But his gloom was short lived: soon after the win he posted “ “Champions of India - what a feeling Bengaluru FC twice in three - come on” Looks like it’s going to be a year of celebrations at the Jindal household.

Royal celebrations
Another high profile and sumptuous wedding was witnessed recently when the progeny of Jaipur and Jodhpur got married. “Maharaj Jai Singh’s son Ajai Singh got married to Maharaj Raghuvendra Singh’s daughter in Jodhpur,” says an insider.

Maharaj Gaj Singh, Arvind Singh of Mewar and Jyotiraditya Scindia
Maharaj Gaj Singh, Arvind Singh of Mewar and Jyotiraditya Scindia

“The baraat was a traditional affair with camels and elephants and the likes of the Maharaj Gaj Singh, the Yuvraj of Kota, the Yuvraj of Kashmir, HH of Barai, HH of Jubbal in the procession dressed in their regalia. The pheras took place at the garden of the Hari Mahal Palace and the reception was hosted by the Royal family at the City Palace attended by Arvind Singh of Mewar along with Jyotiraditya Scindia and many others.”

The sweetest touch though according to the source is when the wedded couple arrived in Jaipur and checked in to the Maharani Suite at the Rambagh palace, where their ancestor the legendary Maharani Gayatri Devi had stayed as the bride many decades ago. The more things change the more they stay the same.

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