Star wives: A powerful sisterhood

>> Gauri, Kiran, Aishwarya, Kareena, Suzanne, Kajol, Twinkle and Adhuna.

Has there ever been a time when star wives have been so high-profile and such strong personalities in their own right?

Katrina Kaif

Consider the star wives of the industry’s reigning triumvirate of yore: Raj Kapoor’s wife Krishna, a gracious hostess and respected entity in the industry, but with little public profile; Saira Banu, a former actress married to Dilip Kumar but retiring and aloof and Dev Anand’s wife Mona, a legendary recluse.

These women made way for the next crop of star wives: Rajendra Kumar’s Shuklaji, Shammi Kapoor’s Neela Devi and Joy Mukherjee’s Neelam, women who were little seen and who seemed content to be housewives and homemakers.

Then came Jaya Bachchan, Jennifer Kapoor, Geetanjali Taleyarkhan, Poonam Sinha, Neetu Singh and Dimple Kapadia.

Not as retiring as their earlier counterparts, but content as supportive partners and unassertive companions, unconnected to others of their ilk, each a planet spinning in her own constellation.

The change happened with the current generation perhaps, as a reflection of growing female empowerment.

Star wives emerged from behind their husband’s shadows and what’s more, they broke down old reserves, made friends and influenced each other and before you knew it, Bollywood had a powerful sisterhood of its own.

Gauri, Kiran, Aishwarya, Kareena, Suzanne, Kajol and Adhuna.

A pride of strong, feisty women, of style and spunk and come to think of it — exactly the kind of club Katrina Kaif will fit into with consummate ease, if she decides to become a star wife too.

Just saying.

Boys will be boys
>> What happens when a neuropsychiatrist, a prominent jeweller, a business tycoon, an eminent Tata company secretary, an American watchmaker and 30 other friends meet for a four-day retreat in Goa? Well, they turn into schoolboys.

The St Xavier’s School class of ’71 got together for their third annual get-together this week, 42 years after graduation, at the Deltin Suites near Calangute beach.

The St Xavier’s School class of ’71

Hosted by classmate and gaming tycoon Jaydev Mody, they have been reliving the happiest and most carefree days of their lives.

Diamond merchant Naresh Mehta had nurtured the group over the past three years, getting almost 80 per cent of the 140 students of the class together on the web.

Thanks to his efforts, the group is regularly in touch on a daily basis, exchanging updates and news.

“This week, Jaydev has been an incredibly warm and generous host,” says Jaslok’s neuropsychiatrist Rajesh Parikh.

“We are all collectively proud of his accomplishments, as well as those of his brilliant wife Zia,” he added, alluding to the brilliant lawyer his classmate married.

From what we hear, the group has been frolicking in the Deltin pool in the afternoons, with evenings of nostalgic music, and endless hours of laughter and reminiscences.

They return home today, much refreshed and with memories of happy bonding.

Among the group are tax authority Nilesh Vaishnav, TV producer Sunil Mehta, Zarir Desai of the Indo-German Commerce Chamber, Dr Uday Andar and Dr Rajeev Walawalkar, watch manufacturer Suresh Budhrani and NY professor of cinema Parag Amladi.

Foodies galore!
>> When Farzana Contractor launched the three-day festival, the UpperCrust Food and Wine Show, 11 years ago, it seemed too unique a concept to pull through.

Al fresco cooking demos, a food court with the famous Muslim restaurants of Mohammad Ali Road cheek by jowl with a smattering of snooty high-end ones from South Bombay, and of course, a king’s ransom of foodie goodies for sale.

Farzana Contractor

The city’s culinary ante went soaring high.

Each year, she invited high-profile food lovers like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Mukesh Ambani, Karan Johar and Akshay Kumar to inaugurate the festival.

“Who’s doing it this year?” we enquired.

“It’s an A-lister foodie group,” she said, “Cutting across rank and file, who will light the lamp this year. Like Milind Deora, Vivek Oberoi, Jayant Patil, Ekta Kapoor, Shaina NC and Anu Malik. Come check it out at the World Trade Centre at 11 am on Friday.”

What can we say? Foodies make strange bedfellows. As for the UpperCrust Food and Wine Show: be there or be square.

Where are you mommy?
A woman in a supermarket leaves her cell unattended and the ringtone sends alarm bells clanging in the hearts of every other woman within hearing range.

“Pick up the phone mommy! I want to talk to you mommy! Where are you mommy?” the ringtone chants.

It’s been programmed to play a recording of the woman’s daughter’s voice.

Perhaps, while recording it the mother and child thought it cute to connect to the child this way.

But repeated incessantly, the words take on the forlorn plaintive note of a neglected child — or worse, a child in trouble.

I watch as other women tense, their teeth gritting, their nerves on edge, as the child’s voice gets louder and louder, breaking through their everyday routine in the supermarket.

The story of Mumbai’s working women — many of whom are mothers — is a heroic one.

Heads down, they brave enormous odds to get to their places of work, while somehow managing to keep their households running, their marriages intact and their kids up to scratch.

You can see them on their long ride back home, being gently rocked by the rhythm of train, their heads down, their eyelids gently closing, but always one sharp antenna out for that call which says: “Pick up the phone mommy. I want to talk to you mommy. Where are you mommy?”

And for your information, the lady in the supermarket whose daughter was calling eventually did answer her call.

And instantly, every other woman in her vicinity relaxed, put on her work face and went back to the job at hand.  

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