If you think the run up to the royal visit of Kate and William is the only thing creating a flurry in Mumbai, think again. One time Mumbai resident, Meera Gandhi, who left the city for New York a few years ago, after a series of high profile farewell parties has not one or two but three events lined up for her impending visit, it appears.
Kate and William. Pic/Getty Images
We first heard of the imminent Gandhi visit when we ran into producer Vivek Vaswani recently. “I would love you to watch my new movie,” he said. “Meera has shown interest in it. I will let you know when I am screening it for her.” Meera Nair? We asked. After all, to gain the internationally celebrated Oscar winning director’s interest is no small achievement. “Meera Gandhi,” said Vaswani, adding, “As you know she’ll be here soon.”
The second intimation of Gandhi’s visit was when a women’s magazine invited us to its annual power women awards in association with Meera Gandhi’s NGO over the weekend. Here it appears that Gandhi’s presence would be more of inspirational evangelism. Lastly, we hear the lovely Hema Deora will be hosting a small high-powered lunch for 15 or so of the city’s leading women in honour of the said Gandhi.
See what we mean about competition for Kate and William?
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“When the CM asked me about being on prime time TV every night, I responded saying I’m there saving all of you people, while you sit in the Assembly,” said feisty BJP spokesperson Shaina NC, who participated in a symposium last week at the NCPA, where, along with emerging BJP talent as Pankaja Munde and Praniti Shinde, she was interviewed by Devendra Fadnavis. “We have to be comfortable appearing on Page One and Page Three when the occasion calls,” said Shaina.
Hemant Trivedi and Shaina NC
And to demonstrate this, Shaina cites the example of her recent Clark Kent to Superman makeover when a few hours after she participated in a high level BJP conclave for State leaders in Nashik, she found herself rushing to Mumbai where after a quick turnaround, she walked the ramp for Neeta Lulla’s fashion show, giving serious competition to the glamorous models around.
Shaina NC with Neeta Lulla at the show
“I was in a simple cotton sari,” recalled the politician, who also wears a designer’s hat. “And then in this absolutely glamorous ensemble. Why not?” she said. “That’s what life’s all about! ” Indeed.
“On Wednesday, she was stopped from entering Delhi’s India Habitat Centre in her auto-rickshaw, as it was against the rules! Same thing happened in Parliament!” said Delhi-based journalist Prabha Chandran, about Mexico’s Ambassador to India, Melba Pria, who she interviewed for a long piece in a news aggregator blog yesterday. Pria has captured the public imagination with her choice of transportation, which happens to be a humble auto rickshaw – a far cry for the more stately sedans, favoured by the diplomatic corp.
Mexican ambassador Melba Pria in her rickshaw
“I consider the auto rickshaw or three-wheeler as one of the most efficient means of transport. It is instantly recognisable as one of India’s cultural icons and it is what most Indian people use for transportation, so I figured I could do it as well. It is also a wonderful way to promote our country and our artistry. The floral design which decorates the canvas on the top of the vehicle was made by Mexican artist Senkoe, who attended the Delhi Street Art Festival last February,” Pria had said to Chandran.
And you want to know the conference that the ambassador was stopped from attending in Delhi? In delicious irony, it was one on public transport!
Word comes in that the practice of kleptomania is alive and flourishing in Maximum City. “We all know of a ladies lunch where one of the guests, who had slipped off her ring to show it better to someone, never got it back as everyone in the circle swore they’d passed it along to the next person,” said a source.
But what takes the cake is the anecdote, which occurred at a high profile party at a SoBo five-star where a biz man found he had lost his priceless wristwatch. After accusing the hotel and its security and staff for their laxity, and threatening all and sundry with dire consequences, the man mysteriously shut up when the thief was revealed on the CCTV footage. Because there, before all to see was his best friend, clearly pocketing the watch during the course of the evening when the biz man had removed it while dining.
“When he saw the evidence, he just shut up,” said an insider. “I want the matter to end right here,” he is reported to have pleaded with the people concerned. Why? According to the insider, obviously the friend had something on the man that was far more valuable than a mere watch worth a few crores!
As they say in Mumbai: if you suffer from kleptomania – just take something for it!