>> It is easily Mumbai’s premier hospital and even though other newer, better equipped and funded centres of medical excellence have come up, no one can deny that as an institution the Breach Candy Hospital has a special place in Mumbai’s heart. Amitabh Bachchan hospitalised after an accident, Dhirubhai Ambani recovering from a stroke, Sharad Pawar in for tests? Where else will you find them, but inside the rather modest white sea-facing building on Warden Road with its legendary doctors, hard working surgeons and sweet smiling Kerela nurses?
Nari Hira, Dhirubhai Ambani and Vijay Mallya
And last week, while making trips to the bedsides of ailing friends and relatives, we found ourselves upholding our own hospital code: to respect the privacy of hospital patients, even when they are rich, famous and newsworthy.
The irrepressible Nari Hira in the adjoining room, conducting the business of his magazine empire from his bed? We chose to look the other way. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, resting in the bed across the hall, uncharacteristically at peace and looking like a beatific Buddha?
We turned a blind eye.
Vijay Mallya with his entourage of uniformed staff in for some tests? We gave it a miss.
We hold that all men are equal when they check into a hospital and thus deserve time and space like any one else until they recover.
And so now, that all three are back on their feet, restored and raring to go, we are happy to file this item.
As for the Breach Candy, mercifully, whether you’re a media magnate, a beer baron, a finance wiz or just ordinary folk, you’re treated the same.
And thank God for that!
Tip of the iceberg
>> The latest Shashi-Sunanda shenanigan is only the tip of the iceberg in the curious case of the Tharoor marriage.
Delhi-based friends of the couple have been alluding to powerful third parties who have come between the two for many months now. These involve names so sensitive and people so high up in the national firmament that even we so accustomed to hearing about the escapades of the high and mighty, thought it best to ignore what could be the biggest scandal of all time, until it was confirmed.
But now that the flood gates have opened, how long before stories surface that will make the Mehr Tarar episode appear like a teddy-bear’s picnic?
Simone’s support of Swades
>> We like it when people use their position and perch to support worthy causes. Which is why we are delighted when the most reticent and media shy of Sanjay and Zarine’s daughters, the lovely Simone Arora (in pic) has chosen to exercise her clout by organising an event for Ronnie and Zarina Screwvalla’s Swades Foundation.
As is known, the high powered media couple who founded UTV, one of the country’s most successful film companies, have now decided to focus their resources on giving back, and have set up Swades, which has not only provided 39,000 people in 139 villages in rural Maharashtra with drinking water but is empowering rural communities across the state towards employment, education and upliftment.
“I will be making my own contribution and also helping by creating awareness for the foundation, which does some truly inspiring work,” said Arora while inviting us to her all women high-powered event next month.
>> And word comes in that the elegant and understated Satya Hinduja, fast becoming a name to reckon with in the Electronic Dance Music circuit, is collaborating on a soon to be announced project with the swashbuckling Sarod maestro brothers Ayaan and Amaan Ali Khan.
Satya is Ashok Hinduja’s second daughter (the first being Ambika, a film producer) and along with their brother Shom — an accomplished drummer — is part of the out of the box thinking creative progeny of businessman Ashok Hinduja.
The triumph of Lakshmi
>> Congratulations are due to Elahe Hiptoola, Nagesh Kukunoor and the entire team of Lakshmi, for winning the Audience Award for Best Film at the prestigious Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Based on a true story of human trafficking, the film’s success will create the necessary awareness about the issue.
Elahe Hiptoola with Nagesh Kukunoor
“Lakshmi is based on a gut wrenching true story but is extremely uplifting and empowering because in the end the protagonist wins her battle for freedom,” says Hiptoola about her latest offering, adding, “I totally believe it will raise awareness about human trafficking. If we had even an iota of doubt, we would not have made the film. And we consider this our SR, Social Responsibility.”
Host lunch, don’t pay bill
>> And this from London. A globetrotting man about town was rather chuffed to be the only male amongst a party of 16 attractive women at a popular Chinese eatery.
The hostess, a well-heeled and upwardly mobile fashionista, had taken care to invite others from her art and fashion set.
The gent was even more charmed when she informed him coyly that she was famous for her ‘24 Bs’.
“Your bra size?” he enquired flirtatiously. “No, my collection of 24 Birkins,” she replied equally playfully.
Be that as it may, his delight turned to something akin to horror when he says the entire party — including the charming hostess — turned the other way when the bill appeared. “Since I was the only guy present what could I do but take care of it?” he said gallantly.
But not before he had received a sharp kick under the table from one of the hostess’ ‘friends’ who hissed: “She’s done this before. It’s her modus operandi.”
There are ladies who lunch. And then those who lunch at others’ expense.