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Family Values

>> Nice to know that some families do stick together and look out for their own. Word comes in that on hearing about his cousin Yash’s financial issues with creditors, Kumar Mangalam Birla has dipped into his own coffers to help his beleaguered relative. “This is not good for the family name,” he is supposed to have said before his generous intervention.

Incidentally, both cousins, though of the same age (46) and scions of one of India’s foremost business families could not be more different. Whereas Yash is known for his flamboyant dressing, his tattoos and his penchant for bopping to trance music, Kumar Mangalam is known for his extreme conservatism in matters sartorial and financial.

Two brothers, two approaches to life. The makings of a Bollywood movie?

The winner of the Google Impact award is …
>> “Let me share some fabulous news. Sana, our daughter Sanchaita’s NGO is one of the Google Global Impact awardees with over 500,000 votes cast from around the world and a grant money of almost half a million dollars,” posted our friend, the renowned documentary film maker and political commentator Ramesh Sharma.

“Sanchaita is with the people from Google at the moment. But her NGO is doing something very innovative. The NGO, using solar-powered water purifying stations has given 5,000 litres of drinking water and has set up 20 bio-digester toilets, which do not need septic tanks or sewage systems. With this award Sana will work in 10 villages in coastal Andhra and then scale it as they go forward.” Incidentally, Sanchaita is the daughter of Sharma and his striking wife Uma Gajapathi Raju, who had been an MP from Vizag.

All that glitters…
>> And word comes in that the feisty lady who has been spotted in the company of a supposedly rich London-based divorced businessman on more than one occasion, might just be having a rethink about her choice of paramour.

The gentleman in question, apparently, besides possessing a foul temper, has been disinherited by his dad after he went ahead and married a Mumbai-based actress many years ago, a fact that has now emerged. “He now receives a yearly stipend of half a million,” we were informed. A lot of money for most people, but certainly not enough to impress a high-maintenance Mumbai socialite who deserves better, we feel. Does this mean splitsville and harder work at the jewellery store? Perhaps. And isn’t it a curious coincidence that both the gent’s ex-wife and his current attractive GF are in the high-end bauble business?

Shouldn’t they be the first to know that all that glitters…

Owl is fine
>> “Guess who came visiting today? A stray owl flew in, poor chap.... my boys were able to get knowledgeable people in to rescue him and set him free,” posted famous Bandra denizen, the rocker Owen Roncon, about a mysterious visitor he had to his office yesterday. If this was not enough, then our friend, the other Bandraite, journalist-author Naresh Fernandes had a similar spotting.


The owl rescued from Owen Roncon’s office

“Injured owl at St Anthony’s Lane.” What’s up, we asked. “I’ve been a bird watcher since I was a kid, and over the decades I have seen white-backed vultures, purple-rumped sunbirds and pied-crested cuckoos in this neighbourhood and this is the first owl I remember seeing,” he said. “But since I posted that image, lots of people nearby have told me their owl stories. So evidently, I haven’t been very observant.”


The one spotted outside Naresh Fernandes’ home

As for Roncon’s bird, he says it was a barn owl that had got trapped in his building and he called the experts in to have it rescued and released at night. Just a note: isn’t Goddess Laxmi whose festival we are celebrating, supposed to be mounted on an elephant and an owl? Spotted any elephants lately?

Just asking...

Salaam Mumbai: Overworked celebs
I was talking to Mumbai’s most renowned page three celebrity about her modus operandi the other day.

For many years, I had been observing her and still hadn’t figured out how she had managed to create such a very big career doing absolutely nothing very extraordinary.

From the time page 3 had been only a twinkle in Pradeep Guha’s eye till now, when it had all but swallowed up the entire newspaper, the lady’s image had assumed mammoth proportions.

How had she done it?

“See babes,” she said with her CrackBerry at her ear. “I work very very hard at what I do.”

Right, I said.

“I don’t take holidays (except to go to Paris), I don’t take a sabbatical, and from morning to night, I do not rest. I am at it,” she said.

Yes, I’ve noticed, I said, but what is it exactly that you do…?”

“Do?” she said, looking horrified. “What is it that I don’t do? I attend parties, I pose for pictures, I stand on red carpets, I wave to other celebrities on red carpets, I air kiss, I pose, I go to cocktail parties and ladies lunches and kitty parties, I attend fundraisers and baby showers and shop openings, I go to music concerts and literary festivals and books readings and… you think it’s easy?” she ended with a hysterical scream.

No, I said, it sounds extremely arduous… but, er what exactly do you do?

At which point, Mumbai’s most overworked celebrity looked extremely irritated.

“Look here, I don’t have time for such questions. I have to attend a lunch, then a fashion show, then a movie premiere, then a card party, then a post-dinner event and then I’m off to Paris directly from there.”

And so, Mumbai’s most celebrated media hound was off and I will never know the answer to my question.

Sigh!

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