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Still crazy after all these years

Malavika SangghviYou know you’re getting old and unbearably respectable when the hipsters of your gen the guys who struck out, did their own thing, beat a new path begin to get government awards.

And yesterday when ace photographers Pablo Bartholomew, Sooni Taroporevala and fashion designer Wendell Rodricks went up to collect their Padma Shris was when a collective group of their friends and college pals must have realised that it was officially time to hang up their free rollin boots and get rocking chairs.

(From left) Pablo Bartholomew, Sooni Taroporevala, Rosalynn  D’Mello, art critic and writer, and Khalid Mohamed, film critic and director
(From left) Pablo Bartholomew, Sooni Taroporevala, Rosalynn  D’Mello, art critic and writer, and Khalid Mohamed, film critic and director

For the record though, this picture taken at the Capital’s legendary Karims with two of the three awardees the night before the ceremony shows that the party’s not over yet!

Of waists and IQs
Some women don’t get old they just get more gorgeous as the years go by, as this portrait of our erstwhile Delhi neighbour fashion model Feroze Gujral proves.

Feroze Gujral
Feroze Gujral

Modelling a pair of breeches for designer Raghuvendra Rathore, the soft-spoken designer who wears his aristocratic lineage as lightly as he would don a lambs wool cloak across his shoulders.

The approval from prominent fashionistas flew in fast and furious on the social networking site that the picture was posted on, along with a few personal orders. But of course, given that to look good in breeches your waist size must diminish as rapidly India’s GDP rate, Gujral need not worry about imminent competition.

SoBo’s candy strip
It’s been immortalised in more than one tome, the most prominent being Midnight’s Children which had a particular corner of Warden road, the breezily named Westfield estate on Breach Candy, the scene of Rushdie’s boyhood.

But now, with Gautam Singhania’s building looming like a dark spot on the city skyline and a vast absence where the grand old Ben Nevis used to stand and whispers that Windsor Villa House, Rushdie’s childhood home been repossessed by the leading shop keeper of the area, the fate of Breach Candy is a much discussed affair in SoBo circles.

Ben Nevis is said to be bought by a prominent city developer, the question mark over Windsor Villa hangs and no one really knows the fate of the Singhania building as things stand.

Historic ruin
‘The walls are covered in grime, the steps creaky, the air inside stale and foreboding,’ writes photographer, film buff and our friend Nirman Chowdhury about Sobo’s historic heritage building, the Esplanade Mansion, the focus of his recent photojournalism interest.

Watson’s HotelWatson’s Hotel

“It all began on a heritage walk with journalist and writer Rafique Baghdadi,” he says about the discovery of the building, which once housed the unimaginably glamorous Watsons Hotel, Queen of the East, where no less than the Lumiere Brothers had showcased the first Motion picture shown on Indian soil!

Nirman Chowdhury
Nirman Chowdhury

“It was named after its original owner John Hudson Watson, a wealthy silk merchant but he had not intended to build it as a hotel,” says Chowdhury, “more like an additional showroom for his drapery.” But, as the story goes, when the clever businessman saw the demand for an upmarket hotel catering to all the travelling Europeans, he decided to build the best hotel he could imagine.

“All the materials were shipped in from England, in fact the whole building was cast in iron in England, shipped to Bombay and assembled on site,” says Chowdhury. “Watson now lies in his grave in the village in England, his hotel long forgotten. From where I stand inside it, I can see the glowing top of the Taj Mahal in the polluted night sky,” says Chowdhury about this neglected city treasure.

Campion class of ’84
What is it about Goa and reunions? Earlier on these pages we had recorded two instances of nostalgia love fests, the first of a slew of former models and the second of Xavier’s School boys Class of ‘71 which had brought together gaming tycoons, neuro psychiatrists and fitness trainers!

Memento of Goa reunion
Memento of Goa reunion

And in keeping with the thought that nothing brings back the good ol’ times like a bit of sun, sea and sand, this weekend saw the Campion Class of ‘84 celebrate their reunion in Goa. “Some of the batch mates had flown in from US, Doha and Singapore,” said old boy Juzer Jasdenwvalla. Fond memories of the school pranks were shared with nostalgic moments of schooldays.

“A few of the batch mates who came were: Sunil Lalvani (head honcho, Blackberry India), Vijaykumar Iyer (partner, Deloitte India), Milind Patel (vice president, IL&FS). But our batch mate Jehangir Pocha (of News X) missed the fun due to elections.” And did the old boys bring their old girls, we enquired politely, well knowing the protocol in these things. Jasdenwvala simply smiled back.

A bombshell for sure
“Two years back I had no motivation towards fitness as a lifestyle. I was an extremely fat female with lots of anger management issues. It was affecting my job as a technical assistant in a government research institute.

Deepika Chowdhury (right)
Deepika Chowdhury (right)

It was my husband’s suggestion to join his gym and I started working out with him,” begins body building fitness champ, Pune-based Deepika Chowdhury who won her first trophy for ‘Figure Novice’ at a recently concluded international contest in Florida.

The inspiring athlete says that her life changed when she joined something called ‘Sheru classes’ and met trainer Shannon Dey. “I said, ‘I want to have a body like hers. I can kill myself for that.’ She looked perfect in those strong arms, shoulders and tiny waist,” says the Bengali girl with the extraordinary motivation.

Two years of training and Chowdhury has had her own moment in the sun at the international sports meet. “I want to promote this sport in my country,” she said in her blog, aptly named ‘Bombshell Fitness’. “I get messages everyday from females across the country on how I have become their inspiration,” she says. You have been warned.

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