You have to hand it to industrialist Yash, and wife Avanti Birla. For all their high-society friends, their edgy avant garde, flower child-meets-muscle man appearance, and their penchant for bopping to EDM music at hotspots around the world with people half their age — they still appear a bit guileless and old fashioned in many ways.
Which is when news of their recent remarriage, on the occasion of their twenty fifth wedding anniversary held in Rishikesh this weekend was received, no one was too surprised. The couple, who is seldom seen apart, is known to be devoted to each other and their three kids, and is very family oriented.
"It was a simple, traditional ceremony, and both looked lovely against the backdrop of the flowers and chanting," said a source adding, "This is going to inspire many other married couples to renew their vows to each other too." Indeed.
Love me, love my doc
As reported on these pages a week ago, actress Rani Mukherjee, wife of Bollywood's leading producer Adi Chopra, who is a great believer in the benefits of the Austrian Spa Viva Mayr, hosted two of its doctors over the weekend at the YRF studio, and introduced them to some leading members of the Mumbai film industry.
Parineeti Chopra, Anushka Sharma and Rani Mukherjee
Over high tea and another dinner that night, the likes of Anushka Sharma, Salman Khan and Parineeti Chopra met with the visiting doctors to hear about nutrition and health, and the spa's benefits, and were seen conferring with them about their health and wellness issues.
"It was so that other members of her fraternity could be persuaded to try the spa," said a source. Though arguably, none of this was necessary, as the glowing actress, a regular at the institution is brand ambassador enough.
It’s been seen as a war of words between two of the country’s leading wordsmiths: best selling author and influential commentator Chetan Bhagat at one end of the ring, facing ad guru, playwright, director and the man behind the witty Amul ads that bring a smile to India’s daily life, Rahul da Cunha on the other.
Chetan Bhagat and Rahul da Cunha
The fight is about another wordsmith albeit a much more famous one — William Shakespeare himself. Apparently Bhagat’s famous penchant for shooting his mouth off, resulted in his declaring that ‘William Shakespeare sits with a dictionary & chooses the most difficult word, while he the simplest.’
Da Cunha, who knows a thing or two about words, couldn’t stop giggling when we asked him about this. "My two cents worth?" said Da Cunha. "1. The Bard is dead - so I’m thinking ‘sat’ better than ‘sits’. 2. No dictionaries in 1564," he said, adding the clincher, "3. As, you, like, it, much, ado, nothing - very very hard words."
As for Da Cunha’s much awaited debut novel about growing up in a changing India he said, "It’s crazy. Every one seems to be writing book after book - some even in 3 months - and here I am, still working after three years on mine." Why the delay? "Things keep on changing and the writer in me cannot stop wanting to write about events as they occur. The Kanhaiya Kumar story for instance. It’s so riveting."
"Humans tell stories all the time. We also tell tall tales, white lies, and half-truths and make up fictional details for various reasons," said gallerist, author and story coach, Anupa Mehta, about two forthcoming workshops that she will be conducting this weekend with the enigmatic titles ‘What’s Your Story?’ and ‘Truth, Lies & Fiction.’
"Sometimes these stories become our noose. The purpose of my workshops is to allow people to take a sharper look at their own life story and to examine gaps in their own narrative," said Mehta who recently published a book of short stories. How did she train for this and what kind of people sign up? "I draw from the various traditions," she said, listing trainers, coaches and even a psychiatrist, among others who signed up last year.
"The general feedback across the board has been that the simplicity of the approach allows both catharsis as well as creative re-scripting, if you will. I build on the idea of the group as an anchor, and ‘the comfort of strangers’ to allow people to process what they need to." As for Truth Lies and Fiction, as someone who has to sift daily to the haul of stories we’re told, this diarist thinks an apter title would be hard to find.
Hello, goodbye, hello?
Guests at a recent high society wedding were treated to the spectacle of a high-profile, once-married couple, whose bitter break up had been the subject of magazine articles, indulging in some remarkable PDA.
"They met each other with affection, were seen laughing and talking together and even spotted dancing together!" said a source. "What’s more they didn’t appear to care that every one was staring," She said adding, "And while leaving, the wife was positively glowing with delight."
So what about the new man in her life - her husband who is said to be antagonistic to her ex? "He wasn’t present on the occasion," said the source. "I think he was travelling abroad on work"
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Photos: Deepika Padukone, Sushmita Sen with daughters at Mumbai airport