The Strong and the Savvy

Malavika SangghviThe phrase opposites attract couldn't have a better demonstration. A few weeks ago when we had attended Bindu Rana Kapoor's pre-Karva Chauth ladies lunch and had introduced fiery activist and on your TV each night taking on the rich powerful and delinquent lawyer Abha Singh to svelte jewellery designer and high flying socialite Queenie Singh, the delight on the faces of both women was palpable. “You can come to me if you ever have need for legal advice,” Singh had said, as an opening gambit to Queenie, who had replied just as feisty, “I don't think -or I hope I never have need for one, but it's a pleasure to meet you.” Adding, “I'm just not the fighting type, never been.”

Abha and Queenie Singh
Abha and Queenie Singh

But apart from their outward differences we had known the two, both intelligent strong and savvy women, would get along famously. And so when we chanced upon this picture posted by Abha on social media of the two of them taken a few weeks later, we felt vindicated.

Regardless of their professional roles, strong women always gravitate towards each other. Here's to the jeweller socialite and the activist lawyer!

Best Face Forward
With this latest elevation Gunit Chaddha, now CEO Asia of Deutsche Bank, takes his place along with Indira Nooyi, Satya Nedella, Ivan Menezes, Sundar Pichai and Nikesh Arora, who are in pole positions abroad. The St. Stephen's and IIM alumni, Chaddha spent the better of the last decade in Mumbai, where he had different management roles one of them being head of investment banking for Citibank-South Asia. The no-nonsense CEO has since been deployed in Singapore in his new corporate avatar (and has even changed his look by shaving his age old moustache). Known to be a health freak, cricket buff and devoted father, we wish him well in his new journey.

Champions of Intelligent Luxury
This week a delicious serving of international high rollers from around the world will show up in Maldives for celebrations hosted by Sonu and Eva Shivdasani, the couple who have given the world such luxury resorts as Soneva Fushi in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand. Sonu, the youngest son of Indoo and Laxmi Shivdasani, the prominent NRI couple from London, who set up the Inlaks foundation had departed from the family practice of traditional business in Geneva and followed his passion for fine living and ecological sustenance along with his wife, a Swedish fashion model, who he is reported to have met on his late sister Bina Sella di Monteluce's yacht during the Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. Unlike many in his generation, this scion of a wealthy and well-heeled clan who grew up on London's Millionaire's Row and was educated at some of the most elite educational institutions like Eton and Le Rosey. Sonu has made a stunning success out of his business venture and is seen as something of a visionary with his championing of intelligent luxury. The celebrations, along with every thing else he and his wife have done, are expected to be exquisitely refined and elegant. No page three shenanigans here for sure.

Sonu and Eva Shivdasani

Prince Dior
He's always been regarded as India's ambassador to the world of fine living and luxury and so when the dapper Tikka Shatrujit Singh, scion of the Kapurthala clan and former advisor and close friend to Yves Carcelle, the charismatic ex CEO of Luis Vuitton world wide, lost his mentor after the untimely demise of Carcelle in 2014, it was unclear what he would be doing with the enormous clout he had built up. Now it appears he will be joining Dior's attractive Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Kalyani Chawla in its operations in India. With Chawla's intervention the label had become something of the first choice of the Indian haute set. And now with Singh coming on board, the brand 's growth is expected to further accelerate.

Tikka Shatrujit Singh and Kalyani Chawla
Tikka Shatrujit Singh and Kalyani Chawla

Passion Extraordinaire
He's the much married head honcho of a Mumbai-based entertainment conglomerate and she's the pretty designer with European connections, who has found matrimony and domesticity now, but if sources are to be believed not too long ago, the passion between the two was enough to light up all of Chandni Chowk during Diwali. “They would try and out do each other in the extravagant gifting department. On his birthday she gifted him 365 designer ties from around the world, stringing them up across her home as a surprise. He on his part would flood her with roses and jewels and expensive bags and shoes and clothes at the drop of a hat. It was crazy the way the time they spent together, fighting like kids or wooing each other like long lost lovers,” says the source.

What happened then? “She hoped that he would leave his wife and kids to marry her, but when he didn't, being basically a God fearing and home-loving guy, she accepted the proposal of an old friend and admirer. Will they ever get back again? “Who knows? All we can say is that he's been spending a lot of time with a blonde bombshell these days that happens to be a colleague of his. But no, the passion this time around is just not the same.”

Overheard
I walked up from the Bataclan after an interview there toward my old neighbourhood. The media circus around the Bataclan — in which, sigh, I participated — left me needing a reality check. Many of you have been to my charming jewel of an apartment on the rue de Marseille — just across the Canal Saint Martin and a couple of hundred meters from Le Petit Cambodge and Le Carillon — which I gave up for love. It felt important to see with my own eyes some of the sites of the carnage and to pay my respects to the victims and the neighbourhood I love so much. Thank you neighbourhood long-timer Melissa Unger for inviting me in just to talk and be together. I also dropped in on Claire Nancy at her place on the rue des Vinaigriers. It is very important to see people in person in Paris right now. Our strength is each other.
— Paris-based author and journalist Mira Kamdar on the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on her city.

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