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Friends and neighbours

This will come as good news to those who rue the trend of high-rises supplanting the bungalows of Malabar Hill.

Word comes in that the high profile Ridgeway building at Malabar Hill, where leading banks HSBC and Stan Chart used to house their top personnel, will be soon pulled down to make way for two bungalows.

Readers will recall when a few months ago Big Bull Rakesh Jhunjhunwala had made headlines by buying out HSBC’s share of apartments in the building, which boasts of one of the best views of the Queen’s Necklace.

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

Now it seems his close friend and stock market guru, the 59-year-old low-profile billionaire, Radhakishan ‘RK’ Damani, whose retail chain, D-Mart, has grown by leaps and bounds, has bought the remaining half of apartments, and the two have decided to build cheek-by-jowl bungalows on the site.

Two friends - both business and financial whizzes, occupying two bungalows on Malabar Hill reversing the trend of high rises there.

Nice!

The Geek God
They are known as a preternaturally talented family, what with mother Kamna Chandra having written films like Prem Rog and 1942: A Love Story, sister Anupama Chopra a noted film critic, and younger sister Tanuja a film maker.

Vikram as a young boy
Vikram as a young boy

So, it comes as no surprise that their brother, the Indo-American writer Vikram Chandra’s (‘Red Earth and Pouring Rain’ and ‘Love and Longing in Bombay’) latest tome has been garnering rave reviews even as it settles comfortably in the bestseller lists.

(clockwise from left) Tanuja Chandra, Navin Chandra, Anupama Chopra, Kamna Chandra, Melanie Abrams and Vikram Chandra
(clockwise from left) Tanuja Chandra, Navin Chandra, Anupama Chopra, Kamna Chandra, Melanie Abrams and Vikram Chandra

Titled ‘Geek Sublime - The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty’ (Graywolf) since its publication in America in September, it has been a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and has featured in the NYT Science Best-seller list. It was listed by Publishers Weekly as “The Big Indie Books of Fall 2014” and has been mentioned as a book to read in ‘O’ Oprah’s magazine. Familial praise has not been lacking either.

“My mom says, when Vikram was a boy he used to read an average of a book a day! She was always amazed at his speed and she even asked him once if he actually read or was he just flipping pages!” laughs Tanuja in Mumbai, adding, “Mom is awestruck, proud and delirious with joy for his success. She can’t believe he did this much research on Sanskrit of all things! She’s also happy that the book, despite having such a challenging and dense subject like computer coding, is in fact quite easy to read, entertaining and fun!” says the proud sister.

Big, bigger, biggest
It’s been one of the growing trends of recent times, this confluence of mega Bolly stars, plutocrats and sports gladiators at public events.

Amitabh Bachchan, Mamata Banerjee, Mukesh Ambani and Sachin Tendulkar at the Indian Super League
Amitabh Bachchan, Mamata Banerjee, Mukesh Ambani and Sachin Tendulkar at the Indian Super League

Time was when eyeballs and cameras popped when there was one Sachin Tendulkar, one Amitabh Bachchan, and one Shah Rukh Khan at a function. Today, everyone’s punching above their weight and no major league event would pass muster unless it boasted all of the above with perhaps a Rajinikanth and an Aamir or Salman thrown in!

Ranbir Kapoor
Ranbir Kapoor

Nothing has encouraged this trend of megathon glamdazzle configurations at public events than the growing commercial interest of Bollywood stars themselves. When you have a Shah Rukh Khan, a Ranbir Kapoor or an Abhishek Bachchan owning sports teams (Cricket, Football and Kabaddi), all they have to do is punch a few numbers on their speed dials for fraternal support.

Be that as it may, here’s the litany of recent events that have boasted more than their share of mega celebs: IPL, ISL, Kabaddi league, Modi’s swearing in, the Reliance Foundation’s launch, Tata Literature Live; and next week in Delhi, the launch of Rajdeep Sardesai’s ‘Election 2014’, which boasts (hold your breath) the author in a discussion with Fin and Def Min Arun Jaitley with his predecessor former Fin Min P Chidambaram, moderated by Karan Thapar!

Days of wine and roses
The next few days will see a host of big ticket events for the city’s ladies who nibble. A series of lunches and dinners at the Taj and the Palladium (hosted by Gayatri Ruia) to celebrate Royal Fables, the showcasing of traditional crafts and designs created by India’s erstwhile royalty, including Princess Diya Kumari of Jaipur and Rani Kavita of Jodhpur.

Gauri Khan

And Gauri Khan, The Design Cell, with the support of Raj Anand, Maison & Objet hosting an evening to celebrate design and decor, over cocktails at the well-appointed Raghuvanshi Mills store. Bollywood Royalty and erstwhile royalty, coming to a venue close to you soon! Just another day in Paradise aka Sobo!

Princess Diya Kumari of Jaipur. Pic/Getty Images
Princess Diya Kumari of Jaipur. Pic/Getty Images

Tricking and treating
Does Mumbai really need another excuse to dress up and party? Going by the sudden and abiding popularity of Halloween the answer, as far as its young and restless go appears to be a yessss! Saturday night saw a range of Halloween-theme parties across the city.

Halloween in Mumbai
Halloween in Mumbai

Some of the well attended amongst these were the Nido bash at Carter road which attracted the young Bandra model and Bollywood crowd, the shebang at the city’s newest lounge Hoppipola which featured its own cirque de soleil style festivity replete with vertically challenged performers and masked silhouettes.

The Aqauba at Lower Parel attracted the young Sobo crowd and guppy by ai at Mahalaxmi, which was packed with fans of DJs Nina and Mallika (the electrovertz on the decks); and we are told Libai at Palladium Hotel had its share of scary faces partying the night away.

Trick or treat? Personally, we prefer ho ho ho!

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