Shukla's plan

>> A little bird tells us that it took the combined and considerable persuasive forces of Rajiv Shukla’s charm to propel Sachin into Parliament. “Sachin was not that keen and even the party had to be ‘prepared’, and who better than Shukla with his political and cricket links to prepare the ground on both sides,” our source told us.

Incidentally the same source was present at the Raj Bhavan at a function hosted by the Governor to felicitate the winning cricket team at last year’s World Cup, when Shukla introduced a reluctant and shy Sachin to CM Prithviraj Chavan.

“Rajiv wanted to bring up the topic of extra FSI for his gym with the CM but Sachin was not keen.” Let’s see how the shy legend fields all the interest and influences that come his way in his new avatar.

The Tiger’s grand cub
>> We spoke to Aditya Thackeray on the eve of his exams and felt quite guilty taking him away from his studies. “That’s cool,” said the tiger’s grand cub, “I’m pretty chilled out, in fact, amongst my friends I’m usually the one whose singing while writing my papers, I even saw a movie recently,” he laughed. But there’s a more serious side to the young man. “Yesterday I was in rural Thane where I took water tankers to alleviate the acute suffering of the drought hit,” he told this diarist. “You should have seen the emotions of people when the water was released.” Thackeray is also actively involved in improving and beautifying the city.

“I respond to e-mails and Twitter messages sent to me and then I contact the concerned ward officer,” he said. “I’m also going to be writing to various city artists to come together and adopt traffic gardens,” he said. And how does he plan to celebrate on the last day of his exams we asked the 21-year-old law student. “By seeing a movie,” he responded, “Perhaps the Avengers.” Incidentally, Thackeray’s favourite superhero is Batman, who also had a penchant for bringing relief to his metropolis, if we recall correctly.

A marriage made in heaven
>> It is undoubtedly one of the most powerful alliances to be forged between two of India’s most powerful and wealthy families and its impact on various aspects of business, political and social life has been the topic of the smart set in Mumbai and Delhi.

On the face of it, it’s boy meets girl, boy proposes to girl, girl accepts boy. But when boy happens to be the son of one of the most powerful newspaper owners in the country and the grandson of one of the oldest business houses and the girl belongs to the country’s wealthiest and most influential family’s, the combined aggregate of their power is staggering. Germane to this is the fact that the boy — one of the country’s most eligible bachelors and uncommonly handsome — has rejected proposals from some other equally powerful families in India and abroad. And that the girl, who this diarist has met is not only beautiful and brilliant but is one of the most sensible and grounded heiresses of her generation. As we say at the core of it is a simple love story, but in India these things are a bit more complex. Expect a big fat wedding at the very least!

The Russians are coming!
>> Which reclusive biz tycoon has been read the riot act by his family because of his involvement with a
20-something Russian beauty and has been holed up at a mid-town five-star hotel with his lady love for the last nine months? No prizes for guessing who but the hotel staff are quite chatty about his comings and goings.

Etonians in Mumbai
>> One more reason this diarist can’t help loving Mumbai is for the various communities, interest groups and cults it accommodates: Dalit Panthers, Seventh Day Adventists, Hare Krishna Bhakts — bring ‘em on we say!

Premier amongst these interest groups are the Old Etonians: alumni from one of the world’s most premier and elite British schools. Known as an institution on whose playing fields future rulers of England were nurtured, Eton has a long list of distinguished pupils, with Britain’s David Cameron being the 19th British Prime Minister to have attended the school.

Roddy Sale, the Mumbai-based, foppish financial wiz and unabashed Indophile himself, the alumnus has been indefatigable in his efforts to strengthen Eton’s links with India. “The Eton Dinner was held regularly as far back as in the late 19th century in Kolkata and Simla,”said Sale, who often needs a motorised crane to shift his gaze to a more recent calendar. “But the practice had fallen into neglect by the 1960s. So when I came to India, I persuaded the Maharajah of Jodhpur —an old boy to host a dinner, and since then we’ve held 15, one each year.”

The school which some of the most world’s glamorous fictional characters like James Bond and Bertie Wooster and Psmith are supposed to have attended, counts amongst its alumni some pillars of Mumbai society — albeit mostly from the financial community: Parthiv Kilachand, Pashupathy Advani and the Patel brothers Sanjay and Sunil (the former who made headlines when he became the first Indian head boy of Eton). And where will the boys meet for their next alumni dinner? “In Madhya Pradesh with Richard Holkar of Indore,” says Roddy. We should have guessed! 

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