From the Birla siblings with love

Nov 06, 2015, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

It's being spoken about, as one of the sweetest gestures, by a blue chip industrialist. This week, some of the country's top families received a CD containing a beautiful rendering of the Hanuman Chalisa sung by no less than Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, and his sister Vasavadatta, who is married to Kushagra Bajaj, another scion of a leading business house.

Kumar Mangalam Birla
Kumar Mangalam Birla

What's more, in addition to the musical competence displayed by the duo, what has charmed the recipients of this unique offering, is the simple and heart warming note that accompanies the gift, which speaks of the siblings' gratitude and love for their parents and their grandparents, who they say inculcated the love of music and the arts in them.

“As far as Diwali gifts go, this one has outshone anything else for its originality and graciousness,” said one of its recipients. “And who could imagine that one of India's most renowned business magnates could sing this well?”

Garry Sobers comes to town
We were delighted to receive an invitation for later this month to meet the legendary all rounder, and one of cricket's most respected statesmen, Sir Garry Sobers. The dinner to be held at the Taj, is to 'discuss and celebrate genius' and few have epitomized the word like the elegant West Indian, who went onto break every cricketing record in history.

Sir Garry Sobers
Sir Garry Sobers

We have a piquant and tangential story to tell concerning Sobers: he might have been our relative, given that many moons ago he had been engaged to our cousin, the TV actress Anju Mahendroo. Their engagement back in the Sixties had created headlines and certainly had given us school-going kids much to crow about.

Alas, the coupling was not to be. And Mahendroo went on to date a struggling young actor called Rajesh (Jatin) Khanna. But that's another story for another day!

Digital mavericks at it
A couple of months ago, Alok 'Robinhoood' Kejriwal, one of the early age digital entrepreneurs, who started successful businesses like Games2win and Contest2win, got into a little 'virtual' tussle with the now infamous ex-CEO of Rahul Yadav.

Rahul Yadav and Alok Kejriwal
Rahul Yadav and Alok Kejriwal

The story goes that Kejriwal, who had noticed two advertorial billboards outside his residence, that were 'barely 10 feet away from each other' had questioned on social media platform, the logic behind the decision by the hotshot property startup

But not only did the Housing team not take his query seriously, the serial entrepreneur noticed that his Wikipedia page had been vandalized with a belittling tone, 'Also known as dumb Kejriwal, not to be confused with the leader of a famous political party,' read one such line.

If that was not all, he then received a message from the former maverick CEO Rahul Yadav saying, 'hey bacchas are having fun. Please don't mind'. When Alok protested and even threatened criminal action, the Wikipedia entry was corrected and further abuse ceased and he received a long (condescending) apology from the culprit, a employee.

Though the matter was put to rest at that time - the adage that revenge (however virtual it may be) is a dish best enjoyed cold certainly applies. After recent reports that is letting go of 200 employees, Kejriwal didn't miss a moment before sharing the article on Twitter with the caption, “I don't think that 'the bacchas are having fun'?” The last laugh was certainly his.

Rohit Bal's Candy Crush Saga
We were puzzled, and bemused to receive a request on Facebook to play 'Candy Crush Saga,' from none other than the uber cool enfant terrible of the fashion world Rohit Bal.

Rohit Bal
Rohit Bal

Believing it to be the purview of bored housewives, we asked Bal if he had really sent us such a request, and more intriguingly, did the emperor of high fashion really play the twee game? Bal responded with alacrity.

“No, my nephew plays it on my iPad!” he said, explaining the request sent to us, but taking care to add, “I used to play it! Love it!” The mind boggles.

Jazzing up Wednesdays
“I loved performing at Olive last night. Few people appreciate jazz, and fewer still when it's Acid and Punk, and Pop versions, and last night, besides AD Singh's love of Jazz in all its forms, the audience's appreciation was just superlative!” said Manasi Scott who sang up a storm on Wednesday night at Olive's weekly Jazz night, restaurateur Singh's latest offering for city hipsters.

Manasi Scott performs at Olive
Manasi Scott performs at Olive

With Olive's famous interiors converted in to a live music proscenium, with enough room for a stage a singer and band, and some impromptu audience dancing, the heady atmosphere evoked Singh's early days, when he used to host the very successful music and desserts phenomena, 'Just Desserts' to much appreciation.

Scott, whose talent and sparkle, more than mesmerized the crowd with jazz standards like Fever, Summertime (the mashed up Fantasia and Sam Cooke version), Fly Me To The Moon and All That Jazz, along with some surprises like Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love — and many audience pleasers from Adele to Lady Gaga, is easily one of the country's most accomplished live artistes, and had the crowd begging for more.

And with great pizzas, salads and the presence of some of Bandra's outstanding denizens like Abhishek Kapoor, Ashish Raheja and Nethra Raghuraman dropping in, it was the nicest place to be for a mid week picking me upper!

“When you get this kind of love and respect from a crowd listening to you, then it just goes on to become as magical as last night was. I'm looking forward to many more nights in musical expression at Olive,” said Scott. Indeed.

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