Friends for life

>> We all know married couples who having split, manage to continue an amicable relationship even after the marriage ends. In an era when marriages are not necessarily forever, that a certain amount of civility is maintained for the sake of the couple’s family and friends is not only a requirement but also mandatory. But only the best amongst these go on to become genuine good friends and a support for each other.

And the work that must take (transcending old wounds, figuring out social and financial matters, braving social minefields etc), qualifies them for Padma Bhushans! Which is what we feel Shekhar Kapur (and Suchitra Krishnamurthy deserve, if this comment on the director’s Timeline posted by his former wife on the occasion of his birthday is any thing to go by.

Shekhar Kapur and Suchitra Krishnamurthy

“Happy Happy b’day Shekhar Kapur! Best Daddy. Best friend. Rock it! :-)” wrote Krishnamurthy on the occasion of the bearded wonder’s special day yesterday. We like!

Should she ‘vomit’?
>> Who among us has not despaired at the arch and self-conscious ‘trendisation’ of India’s retail space? Gum-chewing salespeople with more attitude than expertise, blaring disco music and of course, those ersatz American accents!

Girish Shahane
Girish Shahane

Ah, for those good old days when one could get served in the slow but reliable way of the erstwhile department stores that dotted Colaba. These days, its all flash and dash and a cringe inducing bow to the Wal-Marts of the world.

Starbucks outlet
The Starbucks outlet at Horniman circle

And nowhere is this Americanisation more apparent than at the coffee bars across the city. Which is why art critic and columnist Girish Shahane’s pithy post struck such a chord on Facebook recently. “I was pleased the girl at the Starbucks counter asked me, ‘Should I vomit?’ exactly as they do at Croissants, Birdy’s, Oven Fresh, and so on,” wrote Shahane, adding, “I was afraid the Starbucks trainers might’ve changed the question to, “Would you like me to heat it?” he said tongue firmly in cheek.

The responses that followed the howls of empathetic laughter ranged from: “At first I thought the star girl hated Starbucks coffee as much as I did”, to ‘In Singapore they ask, “You want me to vomit for you?” Looks like we are not alone in our desire for a little less rolling of the tongue and a respect for the v’s and w’s of the alphabet!

Who gets to eat the cake?
>> Early next week, some seriously glamorous folk will gather to celebrate jewellery designer, socialite and columnist Queenie Dodhy’s birthday at a smart SoBo eatery. Given the lady’s wide circle, guests are expected to fly in from across the country and even abroad.

Queenie Dodhy

And whereas, no one is gauche enough to ask how old the lovely lady is going to be — there have been guesses about which of her famous beaus will be present for the occasion. More importantly who will get the first piece of cake? On such momentous pivots the Mumbai grapevine turns!

Chip of the ol’ block!
>> Yesterday, we carried an item about Isha Ambani’s international debut at the prestigious Crillon Ball. In fact, she is not the only Ambani progeny to be making waves on foreign shores. Another of Dhirubhai Ambani’s granddaughters Isheta Salgaocar, the daughter of Dipti (the late tycoon’s
pretty daughter) and Raj Salgaocar is also bringing the family honours.

Isheta Salgaocar
Isheta Salgaocar

The young lady who has written for the Wall Street Journal has recently enrolled for a master’s degree at Columbia’s legendary journalism school in order to pursue a career in journalism. And going by her Twitter posts, she displays an abiding interest in the world of politics, cultural and current affairs. (Palestine, the FDI debate in parliament, articles from the New Yorker and the Economist).

P Sainath
P Sainath

But given that her parents are part of a handful of Indian industrialists who are genuinely interested in art and culture, this ought to come as no surprise. Mother Dipti is responsible for bringing in the famous Dhirubhai biography and counts many writers and artists amongst her closest friends and dad Raj, a Wharton alumni has set up Goa’s finest cultural hub Sunaparanta, besides being an avid photographer himself. But what intrigued us was the fact that India’s leading writer and social activist P Sainath was delivering a lecture at Salgaonkar’s college, the topic: slumdogs vs millionaires. We would have loved to be there for the post lecture discussion!

When W spells Namaste
>> So, it’s confirmed then: the W Hotel, that outpost of uber luxury and effortless cool will be housed at Lower Parel in a 55-storey tower designed by the celebrated international architect WS Atkins to look like a Namaste! Speaking to its India representative Anjali Mehra, we learnt that Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, its parent company (other hotel chains in the group include St Regis, Westin, Le Méridien and the Sheraton) has entered into a management contract with Jaguar Buildcon Private Limited and that the hotel will be ready by 2015.

W's hotel
An artist's rendering of the W's hotel in Mumbai, set to open July 1 2015

“With the construction of our first W Hotel in India, we expect to see more owner interest in developing this great brand in other key leisure and business destinations in the country,” said Dilip Puri, (who happens to be fashionista Sabina Chopra’s brother) managing director, India and regional vice-president South Asia, Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels and Resorts, last year when the project was first announced. Since then, there seems to be much progress on the group’s India plans. “We have since signed another two W hotels in India, one in Goa, to open in early 2014 and another one in Noida, Delhi,” Mehra informed us. That Goa has its own hip W ahead of us we can abide by, but Noida? Damn!  

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