>> Wednesday saw us accompanying Hema Deora to her elder son Mukul’s tribute to Bob Dylan’s 50th anniversary as a musician at the Blue Frog. Hema informed us that last week her younger son Milind, the charismatic MP for South Mumbai and Congress minister, performed at the restaurant’s Delhi outlet near the Qutab.
How on earth did the two boys get so musical, we enquired? “From their dad — Murli,” the proud mother replied. “He loves singing! In fact, when he was courting me he used to sing to me,” she admitted coyly. And what was the song that won her heart? “It was On the Street where you live from My Fair Lady,” she blushed.
“Especially the verse: And oh! The towering feeling /Just to know somehow you are near/The overpowering feeling /that any second you may suddenly appear!” Awww. And to continue with the warm fuzzy vibes we present a picture of the two brothers before they transformed in to edgy, avant-garde and very hip musicians!
Smiling India, Stressing India
>> We thought we’d pick India’s leading Aesthetic and Cosmetic Dentist Dr Sandesh Mayekar’s brains about Smiling India.
After all, he was the man who as a dentist to the Miss India franchise in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s gave India more beauty queens than it appeared to be able to handle! And, after all, he is the man who has tended to the smiles of every leading actor and actress in Bollywood today.
Such was the impact and awareness of cosmetic dentistry after the likes of Sushmita Sen and Priyanka Chopra flashed their picture-perfect pearly whites that from a nation of two dozen dental colleges in 1988, India now boasts of over 200. And when he lectures across the nation, Mayekar is thanked by various dentists who attribute the success of their profession to him.
But in fact, Mayekar told us there’s not that much to smile about. “Yes, Indians are very concerned about the way they look and the visual impact they make especially in cities like Mumbai and Delhi,” he told us, “but along with this trend is another one, which has got me worried, the amount of Indians who suffer severe headaches and muscular body pain because of improper alignment of their jaw muscles when they sleep at night due to stress.”
In fact, so rampant is this problem (and so high-powered its victims) that Mayekar at the height of his success pursued a PG degree in Temporomandibular Disorder and Orofacial Pain from Tufts University (USA) in 2008.
So: as much as India smiles, it stresses too? Wonder if the two are connected?
The Adulterers’ Table
>> In Mumbai’s incestuous, gold fish bowl existence where do adulterous couples find a little time to discuss ‘Ugandan affairs’? A few decades ago, the sleepy environs of the Sea Lounge were a good refuge for those wishing to avoid prying eyes. Canoodling couples also favoured the Trident’s (nee Hilton) poolside coffee shop for gentle mornings after rough nights. But these days for a wonderful view of some prime and high-profile adulterers, a newly opened chic dining hotspot at Apollo Bunder is a great place to go. This diarist spotted two such pairs (on separate occasions, of course) enjoying their brief moment of privacy, coincidentally on the same table! We now call it ‘ The Adulterers’ Table’.
Daughter of India, Asia’s Pride
After eight action packed and dynamic years of serving as President of Asia Society —the world’s premier institution dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships across the Asia Pacific — Dr Vishakha Desai, who made history in 2004 when she became not only its first female president, but also its first Asian-American president — is stepping down in September. Incidentally, this ‘daughter of India’ as Manmohan Singh referred to her when he inaugurated the Asia Society in India in 2006 has a strong Mumbai connection. Born into a freedom fighter’s family in Gujarat, she did her BA from Elphinstone College where she was part of a scintillating group of students that included the likes of Dr Homi Bhabha — who is now Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard University (and is father to Satya Bhabha, the lead actor in Rushdie’s much-awaited movie adaptation of Midnight’s Children.)
Another long-standing Mumbai association was formed abroad when Desai pursued an MA and PhD from the University of Michigan where former Director of Mumbai’s National Gallery of Modern Art, Saryu Doshi, was a professor at the University. The two highbrow artsy ladies have been close friends ever since. Slated to join the Guggenheim Foundation in a newly created consulting position of senior advisor for global policy and programs, Desai who was a major force behind the opening of an Asia Society centre in India will be missed.
Asia Society India Centre’s executive director Bunty Chand said, “We have been tremendously proud of having a leader of Indian origin at the helm of this global institution. I have no doubt that our paths will continue to cross, and that we will keep engaging with Vishakha as Asia Society grows in India and around the world.”
Stink in Parliament
>> Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the enigmatic billionaire technocrat and Independent Member of Parliament, who represents Karnataka and Bangalore Urban in the Rajya Sabha had us chuckling at the irony of Parliament being adjourned yesterday because of a stink in the loos! “The most bizarre experience: Rajya Sabha adjourned today because of strong stink from the toilets!” he wrote.
“Officials say it’s a ‘gas’, many jokes (are) being cracked about hot air, stinks in parliament etc. But (a) serious question arises: we can’t maintain hygiene and cleanliness even in India’s parliament?” he posted on a social networking site yesterday. This diarist recalls being appalled at the condition of the loos in the Lower House when she was covering the budget session last year. There’s something rotten in the Union territory of Delhi, as the bard would have said.