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In love and humour

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Malavika Sangghvi‘This certificate commemorates the great patience and sense of humour displayed by Farah Khan Ali for successfully clearing 15 years of marriage', said the card, and went on to talk about the ‘blind leap of faith' of the designer and other qualities like 'standing her ground and coming out with flying colours'.

The self-congratulatory note was, of course, done tongue-in-cheek. Because when we spoke to her on her wedding anniversary yesterday, the jewellery designer and Sanjay and Zarine’s eldest daughter was having a good laugh.

Farah Khan tied the knot with Aqeel Ali back in 1999
Farah Khan tied the knot with Aqeel Ali back in 1999

“I told Aqeel I was going to give him a gift, but it was not going to be electronic,” she said of her famous DJ husband Aqeel Ali. “And then I wrote out this certificate. It was done with a lot of humour,” she laughed, adding, “After all, we all have our ups and downs in marriage, who doesn’t? But, without a sense of humour, no marriage will last even a day!”

The couple celebrating their anniversary at Asilo
The couple celebrating their anniversary at Asilo

‘And what did Aqeel give you?’, we asked Ali. “He took me, my friends and family out to Asilo last night to commemorate the date,” said Ali, the receiver of the Great Patience and Greater Sense of Humour award. And here’s a picture of the happy couple back then and now...

A tradionalist at heart
Adding to his woes is the talk going around town about how this beleaguered industrialist’s spectacular bungalow on one of Mumbai’s most expensive ‘hills’ has brought him and his family nothing but ill luck. We tend to disagree.

The home in question has been witness to some of the nation’s most historical milestones in its fight for independence, and played host to some of the age’s most renowned personalities. In fact, many have urged the strapped-for-funds industrialist to sell it.

“The property must be worth more than Rs 500 crore, given its size, address and significance,” said an insider. “It could easily pay off most of his debts.” But to his credit, the young scion, who has weathered many a storm, never gave in to what would have been the easy way out.

He is, and has always been, very respectful of tradition, elders and his family name. In fact, those who know him also swear that contrary to his appearance and common perception, the man is in fact conservative and a rationalist. “His only fault is that he is a bit naïve and trusting,” said a friend. Let’s hope his fortunes change for the better, and his dark days are behind him.

RIP Francis Wacziarg
The outpouring of grief amongst his friends has been unprecedented, following the untimely death of Francis Wacziarg, because rarely has it been that a man has elicited such consensus of opinion: ‘Gentle, kind, compassionate and a thorough gentleman’ have been the epithets that have been coming in thick and fast for the Frenchman, who had made India his home and in doing so had given back to his adopted country and friends so much of himself and his goodness.

Francis Wacziarg
Francis Wacziarg

“All of us knew our own Francis and every one of them was a very special person. Never has the word ‘gentle’ man been so utterly, so perfectly descriptive of the core of a person. Never has elegance, good taste and sensitivity to the richness of our past had so quietly eloquent an ambassador.

RIP Francis,” said former bureaucrat, the Delhi-based Amitabh Pande, speaking for all. But, it was Padma Rao who captured the undertow of grief following the heritage savant’s death with ‘Why do the good always go first?’ Why indeed? Our condolences to his family.

Rocking nostalgia
“The idea of exploring the city’s wonderful rock heritage came about when Amit Gurbaxani of Mumbai Boss asked me if I would take him to the spots associated with Indian pop and rock bands of the 1960s and ‘70s,” says our friend and former colleague Sidharth Bhatia, author of India Psychedelic: The Story of a Rocking Generation, just released by Harper Collins (and already creating a buzz among nostalgia and music lovers.)

Sidharth Bhatia
Sidharth Bhatia

“It was an intriguing idea. We went to the Taj Mahal Hotel, where the first disco in the country, Blow Up, was opened in 1969 the Taj was at the forefront of entertainment, inviting bands as diverse as the Jetliners of Ceylon, and our own Human Bondage, Atomic Forest and Savage Encounter to play at its restaurants,” says Bhatia of his informal tour.

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame

“Next door stood the old Green Hotel, now replaced by the Taj tower, where a beat contest was held in 1965 it was won by the Jets,” he says evoking the rage of the sixties gen, adding, “Down the road from the Taj towards Radio Club is Slip Disc, where two long-haired hippies walked in one balmy evening in 1972 and were recognised to be Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.”

The cover of India Psychedelic: The Story of a Rocking Generation
The cover of India Psychedelic: The Story of a Rocking Generation

This and much more was unearthed as Bhatia embraced his new role of keeper of the city’s musical memories. Will this walkabout be more institutionalised, we enquired? “It was a marvellous idea that had never struck me and I hope that some day this tour becomes popular it should be led by one of the musicians of the time.” Wouldn’t that just rock?

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