Prime Sobo savoir-faire

Once in a while, Sobo demonstrates its savoir-faire in small but significant ways, as it did over the weekend at the wedding of Raoul Verma and the lovely Maya Parikh, the progeny of prominent Sobo families.

Raoul Verma with his friends at the wedding on Saturday

Eschewing the big fat destination Indian wedding syndrome and keeping the celebrations to elegant and relatively smaller engagements, the formal ceremonies were preceded by a firecracker run-up of parties hosted by the couple’s friends and family.

The actual wedding on Saturday morning was all a rustle of Tussar silks and impressive but understated pieces of jewellery, and was held in the private garden of a drool worthy pile on Cumballa Hill’s old money locality, which has recently become the abode of a few high-flying bankers too.

Besides the harking back to genuine old style nuptials where real things are felt and done, as opposed to the YRF films infusion, the ceremonies were marked with dignity and sensitivity.

But if all this makes it sound a bit too grand, let it be known that the nuptials hit the high note on the fun barometer. Given that the groom and his friends are prominent on the music scene, “all their DJ friends from all over were there and the music was insane,” says a source.

With the popular ‘The Other People’, celebrated for its covers of classic rock acts playing acoustic at the day time wedding and as a full band at the Taj reception, joined in by many a musically endowed guest, the celebrations were marked with much festivity. “The crystal room has never rocked like that before!” said a source.

As for this picture taken at one of the ceremonies of a particularly jolly bunch of Sobo princes in sherwanis, and expensive haircuts: “Too many legends in one picture,” says the source.

You bet.

In Mario’s mansion
“My friend Mario Miranda passed away quietly in his sleep some days before Christmas 2011,” says our friend, the Delhi-based journalist and TV presenter Sunil Sethi, about a recent trip to Goa when he had visited the late great cartoonist’s stately 18th century family house, Casa dos Mirandas, lovingly preserved by his adored wife Habiba (nee Hydari) his muse and the indomitable keeper of his flame.

Mario Miranda and Sunil Sethi

“He had so painstakingly restored the home from the 1980s onwards,” recalls Sethi about the shy lampooner with the impish sense of humour, who’d given India’s baby boomers characters like Balraj Balram and Miss Rajni Nimbupani.
“Come, let me show you something, Habiba said to me,” recounts Sethi about the tea last week, which was accompanied by delicious cashew-encrusted pastries called ‘Geneva cakes’ from the local bakery.

Leading him into the large private chapel where the director Shyam Benegal had once shot Trikal and where the artist Anjolie Ela Menon had painted an exquisite image of the Mother of God.

She showed Sethi the two candlesticks that he and his textile designer wife Shalini had given the Mirandas when they’d gone to stay many years ago.

“There was just one loo in that Titanic-sized mansion with its grand ballroom, long veranda with its Gothic doors painted bright red an its cavernous kitchen,” laughs Sethi.

Shyam Benegal and Anjolie Ela Menon

“I remember a long fascinating afternoon with the writer Manohar Malgonkar about the Mirandas’ celebrated hospitality. We would queue up in the mornings, towels and toothbrushes in hand as at boarding school, and patiently wait our turns. The jokes, the whoops of laughter, the stream of visitors never stopped.”

“I once advised Mario to put up a notice at the front door saying, ‘If you are a friend of a friend, go away.’ But Mario was too chilled-out to impose any such restrictions. In fact, the only thing he deplored was the grills they had to put up in all the windows for security,” says Sethi.

From Turkey with love
“We have been influenced by the architecture of Turkey and in the future we will have a collection with love from the region,” says Sandeep Khosla, one half of the designer duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, about a trip taken to celebrate ‘a dear friend’s anniversary’ in the exotic locale.

“The culture, the embroidery, the jewels, the textiles, the spice market of the grand bazaar, the Topkapi museum, the blue mosque, the food the beautiful people-and true luxury…” said Khosla, no slouch in any of the above himself.

Naina and the golden boy
“It was at my sister-in-law Sadia Ahmed’s birthday,” says our friend the former Mumbai now Delhi resident Naina Balsaver, who hails from a family of formidable women, when we enquired about a particularly glamorous picture featuring her and the cherubic designer Rohit Bal.

“It was a fun-filled party with lots of friends amongst who was the Adonis, Bal, whom I nicknamed ‘golden boy’ the entire duration of the celebration,” she says, adding, “Rohit and I sang old Hindi film songs and danced to them too.

That talented man just knows how to groove!”


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