SRK's weekend getaway

  Word comes in that like every thing else in his life, SRK’s home in Alibagh is exceptional. Designed by architect Nowzer Wadia, who has to his credit the stunning Birla and Singhania homes in the area and appears to be the go to designer for well heeled lotus eaters, the mansion boasts of all white interiors done in a Grecian style by none other than the star’s wife Gauri Khan, who is a sought after designer.SRK

At a recent party thrown at the home, said to be not too far from the Mandwa jetty, sources say guests were gob-struck by the splendorous interiors. But will the maniacally busy star find time to do justice to his sumptuous getaway? “Not likely,” said a source. “It’s most likely to showcase Gauri’s talents as a designer and as a weekend party place for the kids.”

Gauri Khan
Gauri Khan

The long arm of regulatory authority?
When industrialists are asked why they choose to be perpetual fence-sitters, reluctant to speak out against the powerful or take on politicians, here’s why. Friends who have met the Delhi-based KK Modi, patriarch of a vast business empire and father to the feisty beleaguered Lalit Modi, architect of the IPL, say he is looking exceptionally haggard and has aged considerably. “His son’s various trysts with the likes of Sreeni, the Gandhis and Jaitley have taken a huge toll on him and he appears to be wanting to disassociate with Lalit and his battles,” they insist.

Lalit Modi
Lalit Modi

Towards this end, the senior Modi apparently has undertaken a meet and greet exercise with Delhi’s power brigade to insist that he has nothing to do with Lalit business-wise and hence he should not bear the brunt of the government’s ire. What’s more, insiders insist that all this is laying the ground for an official family separation between KK and his heirs in which the various  companies in the group will be parcelled off between them.

KK Modi
KK Modi

“Most likely the family mulch cow Godfrey Philips will be sold off to Philips Morris so that liquidity is attained for a peaceful and just parting of ways,” says an insider. As we were saying, when businessmen take on powerful political lobbies, the long arm of the law is inevitably used to wreak havoc on them. Sitting in faraway London it might be easy to ignore this but not if you’re under its nose in Delhi.

Bejewelled treasures from Qatar
Any one in the art world will tell you of the heft and weight of Qatar’s ruling Al Thani family and the position they command as collectors. With a budget said to be in the region of USD one billion annually, the thirty-something Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, sister of Qatar’s ruling Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani alone has acquired a staggering collection including works by Cezanne Rothko, Koon and Hirst, along with a Gauguin said to be the world’s most expensive painting.

Amin Jaffer
Amin Jaffer

This week an exhibition at the V&A ‘Bejeweled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection’ has opened to rave reviews. Curated by Susan Stronge, it showcases 500 years of the family’s collection of jewellery and jewelled arts from the Indian subcontinent. “From Mughal jades and enamel to the contemporary masterpieces of Mumbai-based Bhagat,” says the beatific Amin Jaffer, International Director of Christies and the curator of the Al Thani Collection and himself a rare jewel.

A few items from the collection
A few items from the collection

“The V&A was transformed into a moonlit garden of white flowers, water channels and ice sculptures, setting the stage for a magnificent collection of jewels made in or inspired by India,” he says.

Just as well for them it opened after PM Modi’s London trip then.

The heart of Sadia
“I am leading The Sufi Passion Trail, with a cross-country group of about twenty participants to enable them to experience dargahs and Sufi traditions,” says the Delhi-based author of ‘Sufism: The Heart of Islam’, Sadia Dehlvi, about a series of photographs she had posted on Facebook recently depicting groups of people in various stages of ecstasy which had intrigued us. “Yesterday they assembled at my home for a Qawaali by Dhruv Sangari along with a home cooked meal. I spoke to them introducing the basic philosophy of Sufism, and how it is the spiritual dimension of Islam,” says the daughter of one of the country’s oldest media families, who owned the Shama group of Publications, a respected name in Urdu publications until its closure in the Seventies. “This morning we went to the dargah of Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, the spiritual successor and Khalifa of Khwaja Moinuddin of Ajmer, then there was a calligraphy workshop and in the evening we visited the courtyard of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya where we offered a chadar and heard some beautiful qawalis.”

Sadia Dehlvi (third from left) with fellow Sufi seekers
Sadia Dehlvi (third from left) with fellow Sufi seekers

Dehlvi herself is a devotee of Khwaja Garib Nawaz of Ajmer and Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi and has worked most of her life to prove that Sufism is not an offshoot or an adjunct but a very integral part of Islam, one that ought to be embraced by Muslims the world over for its progressive and secular values.

“The idea is to give people a chance to learn about Sufism first hand, do group zikr, participate in the customs of the syncretic Sufi culture. And of course, seek blessings from the Sufis, whose dargahs we visit,” she says, adding “Tomorrow morning we are off to Ajmer Sharif, then day after to Jaipur to the dargah of Maulana Ziauddin, another Chishti Sufi. Then it’s Agra...”

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Overheard
Basic question is why an MP & a party VP needs to open a company in Britain and have a residence in most expensive area and all in secret?

— Posted on Twitter by the irrepressible Subramaniam Swamy after he questioned Rahul Gandhi’s Indian nationality status

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