Gateway to Mumbai

Malavika SangghviThose in the know can’t stop raving about the international relations think-tank Gateway House and its new offices at the Mahindra headquarters behind the Taj.

Founded by Manjeet Kriplani (formerly of Businessweek) and supported by Anand Mahindra who is fast becoming known as the most far sighted industrialist of his time, the art deco space designed by Nowzer Wadia is said to serve multi-purpose requirements: in the afternoons, it is a lunchroom for senior Mahindra executives, in the evenings, it is used for the foundation’s many activities and at night it serves as Anand’s (who studied film making as an undergrad at Harvard) personal screening room. Nice!

Manjeet Kriplani Anand Mahindra
Manjeet Kriplani and Anand Mahindra

Celebrated war horse
He epitomises the words war horse and as he turns 90 this weekend. Friends and family of Ram Jethmalani, brilliant lawyer, outspoken politician, former Union Law Minister, chairman of Bar associations and consummate maverick are planning a celebration worthy of the controversial legend. A swarm of leading politician’s legal luminaries and the lawyer’s celebrated clients is expected to attend.

Ram Jethmalani
Ram Jethmalani

Only In Mumbai
A reclusive young billionaire, India’s hunkiest superstar, a flamboyant hit director, a flashy real estate heir and a posse of security personnel and bouncers almost came to blows over a small incident at South Mumbai’s most happening night club on Saturday night, when the billionaire who wasn’t recognised by the filmy circuit, was picked on by the director. Though the incident ended swiftly with the billionaire not reacting to the provocation, the irony is - the star’s upcoming film is being financed by the former’s dad! Tch Tch…only in Mumbai!

Grace under pressure
Life is so strange, we had written about the great Gandhy couple - Kekoo and Khorshed and their peerless contribution to the arts only last week on the occasion of their gallery Chemould celebrating its 50th anniversary and yesterday word comes in of the sad passing of Khorshed, who it seems thoughtfully waited for the celebrations to kick off before going on to meet her beloved Kekoo who art in heaven.

Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy with daughter Shirin
Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy with daughter Shirin

And whereas we could not attend the utthamna on Sunday we were struck by her daughter Shirin’s utmost consideration in her time of grief demonstrated in the SMS she sent out alerting those who planned to attend that it was the first day of Bandra Fair and that they would be inconvenienced by the mayhem. Just another instance of the Gandhy grace!

Pseud’s corner
‘Hard Kaur’s most found (sic) memory of her best teacher belongs to University of Central England where she was studying Fashion Designing. “There was Professor Bob who used to say - Life is here to live, so go live it and don’t miss the opportunities,” recalls the ‘Move Your Body’ singer. Hard Kaur elaborates that if she had been a teacher, she would teach the kids to be real. She states, “Real talk and not sugarcoated at all… this world is a beautiful and a really horrible place at the same time. You can make it what you like with the decisions you make.” Her mantra is sharp and straight - life is hard, so be a ‘Hard Core’. If life is painful so start becoming strong and if you think life is short then start enjoy every moment. Simply Hard Kaur! - From a promotional mail from HS Communication, a PR agency

Salaam MumbaiSalaam Mumbai
Mumbai’s great divide

One of the things that I am grateful for is that I grew up on both sides of Mumbai’s so- called social divide: Juhu until I was 16 and Warden Road ever since then. Truth be told for us Juhu-ites, ‘town people’ were more alien to us than our visiting cousins from Delhi: self assured, cosmopolitan and well-heeled (to our gauche eyes) they even smelt different: of foreign shampoos, expensive perfume and good leather.

There were many other differences: whereas for us the epitome of gastronomical adventure was a Mutton burger at McRonnels, our town friends, we imagined were brought up on perennial supply of hotdogs at Bombellis (a juicy frankfurter enclosed in a crisp bun and spiked with a long green chilly).

We went to Lido and Bandra Talkies to see Bollywood’s latest, their weekend entertainment was accessed at such glamorous places as Eros and Strand and The Regal, where they saw the Sound of Music and Hatari. We shopped at Linking Road, they at Colaba causeway.

We celebrated family birthdays at A-One Grill and Gazebo, they at Gaylord, the Sea Lounge and Kamling. And, of course, whereas we wore batik kurtas and handmade skirts from the Rajasthan Emporium, most of them had Levis and cotton tees sent from America by their NRI relatives. Things changed, of course, when we went to live on ‘the other side’.

At Warden Road, I longed for our carefree barefoot evenings on Juhu beach, the easy bonhomie of friends dropping in unannounced (“we saw your verandah lights on”), and the community spirit of the suburbs: the bania down the road knew each of us by name and knew which ice-cream flavour we would want; Dr Tony, the family GP, would be up to date on all our vaccinations and even remind us when the next poke was due; Alice, our maid would take us to church on Sunday mornings; and if ever there was a domestic bust up or a slanging argument at one of the neighbouring houses, well, you could be sure that every one would be up to date on the details the next day.

Things have changed, of course, now that the money has moved downstream. Juhu has bigger supermarkets, Bandra has hipper stand-alone restaurants and it is debatable who the country cousins really are now. But as I said I am grateful that I was witness to things the way they once were. 

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