Those beautiful rocks
>> And as in all things in life there is a pecking order in the jewellery universe too. According to our source, a woman of infinite style whose rubies (the size of pigeon eggs) emeralds from Africa’s deepest mines and Basra pearls are the source of much envy — the who’s who of Mumbai go to this suave and well spoken gentleman (who we have had occasion to meet many times) for their beads and baubles. “Renowned for his quality (he exports a lot to Italy) and aesthetic standards, his prices are restrictive but wholly justified,” according to the lady. Both the Ambani families are his biggest clients,” she informs.
The next best jeweller for the rich, famous and very discrete is an old establishment with a fuddy duddy Gujarati name, renowned for its reliability and less stratospheric prices. Allegedly its biggest clients are the Birlas. “The newbies,” says our source, a trifle sniffily “Go to the new kid on the block the flashy high profile seller of ‘colored diamonds’ who burst upon the scene recently! Expensive with the best showroom in the city, full of great art.. but dahling, his career remains a mystery, na? How has he made it to the top of the heap so soon?” she asks, her raised Botoxed eyebrow affording her the high brow she so richly deserves.
Perhaps, the fact that small and precious packets find their way to existing and prospective clients every four months or so could be the reason, we reply. However, until recently the best in the jewellery and luxury market was the large and high profile group, which had plastered its name across double page ads across the country’s media. In fact, one of its biggest investors through private treatise arrangement has been a large media house (hence, the ubiquitous ads).” In the last past five years, they have grown by leaps and bounds,” we are informed by an investment analyst (with his eyebrows firmly in place) “but recently there has been a correction of their share price in the stock exchange,” he says.
“It’s 15 to 20 percent of what it used to be.” So, there you have it, the highs and lows and inside machinations of the rocks you see on some of the most famous necks in town. However, according to our source, all this is a teddy bear’s picnic compared to the endless vaults of priceless jewels hoarded by a female politician from the Southern neck of the woods whose appetite for power is only matched by her appetite for jewellery! “She likes nothing more than showing off her hoarding to chosen members of her inner circle,” we are told.
Chip of the old block
>> She’s always been known for her grace and hospitality but even those who’ve known the convalescing Ritu Nanda, elder daughter of Raj Kapoor, sister of Daboo and Chintu, mother-in-law of Shweta Bachchan and aunt to Kareena, Karishma and Ranbir are struck by her profound fortitude in her moment of adversity.
Recovering from cancer and ensconced in Manhattan, she is said to display the famous family’s legendary zest for life even in her troubled hour. Bina Ramani, a close friend of the family who visited her recently says, “Sitting up to receive visitors, in her colourful kaftans and matching bandanas she was a chip of the old block as she regaled us with stories and plied us with tea and refreshments.
Chintu, Neetu had flown in from India to see her and she was surrounded by family and friends when we dropped in.”
>> It was always a mystery why Cyrus Vandrewala, the beleaguered and London based son-in-law of Niranjan Hiranandani who was in the news a few years ago for buying a £20 million mansion in Holland Park, had four or five bodyguards including foreigners accompanying him on his India trips. The world of real estate is a cutthroat one — but surely he was not its biggest player.
After all, his own father-in-law Niranjan is seen to move about in the highest circles protected mostly by his own charm and affability. But according to an insider, the reason for Vandrewala’s heightened security is not so much the insecure world of real estate as the fact that he had earlier attracted the ire of a very (read very!) powerful Mumbai-based political clan which had not been amused by his growing proximity to one of its members.
Tina Brown for Malala
>> And in NYC, Malala stardust enhances everyone it touches. Tina Brown threw a high profile party for the putative world statesman while she visited the city on the eve of her UN address.
While there were the usual suspects drawn from the world of American politics, international diplomacy and high finance, the presence of well-heeled and powerful Indians and Pakistanis did not go unnoticed. “What I said to Malala at Tina’s” is the topic of conversation on the Upper East Side as these things go.
The charity game
>> The best charity begins at home — and that too very discreetly. So, what is one to make of the high profile lifestyle coach who celebrated her birthday recently by inviting her friends in the media (the entire press corp!) to witness her gamboling with visually impaired kids from a prominent school? To use these hapless children as props is not acceptable. To publicise one’s good deeds is graceless. And to set an example of this for your other students to emulate is objectionable. Is this where her famous students get these ideas from? Oh dear!