Three good men

"Dad and Alan are very strong individuals with a strong sense of self. In a world full of 'interior decorators', it's heartening to find architects who structurally redesign spaces and use them effectively keeping nature and clean lines in mind," said actor, producer John Abraham about his father and brother, whose award-winning firm 'Abraham John ARCHITECTS', a multidisciplinary architecture, interior design, landscaping and urban planning firm founded in 1967, was recently the subject of a long profile in a prestigious design magazine.

John Abraham

“Every space they create is used functionally, and so well thought out that the complexities of their job look so simple because they make designs look simple and beautiful,” said the beatific actor, adding, “I’m so proud of dad and Alan!” 

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6 degrees of separation
In which we join the dots...

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay:
Recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan, freedom fighter and social reformer Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay is  renowned for her contribution to the Indian Independence movement and for being the spirit behind the recognition and revival of Indian handicrafts, looms, and theatre. Several cultural institutions in India like the National School of Drama, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Central Cottage Industries Emporium, etc. trace their roots to her vision and foresight.  

Asha Puthli:
Very much part of Andy Warhol’s celebrated gathering of artists, intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights and Hollywood celebrities, Asha Puthli is an Indian-born singer-songwriter, producer, whose unique singing style straddles genres as varied as blues, pop, rock, soul, funk, disco, and techno, who shot to fame with her path-breaking albums such as The Devil is Loose (CBS, 1976) and 1001 Nights of Love (Polygram 1980).
Historian Robert Palmer described her voice as “A sound like Raga meeting Aretha Franklin”.

How they are related: Two of Kamaladevi’s sister’s sons were married to Asha’s mother’s sisters.
Other relatives of this highly talented and unlikely duo are: India’s nightingale and freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu; Indo- English poet, dramatist, and actor, Harindranath Chattopadhyay; model and 1976 Miss India title winner in Naina Balsaver; rocker Neel Chattopadhyay; actresses Shobha Khote and Bhavna Balsaver and Congressman Akbar (Dumpy) Ahmed.

Still crazy...
Separately and together their contribution to Mumbai, a city they live and work in, has been celebrated, and so yesterday, when artist and Kala Ghoda fest-founder Brinda Miller and husband, the noted restoration architect Alfaz, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary we couldn’t help asking them what it was like all those years ago. 

Brinda and Alfaz Miller 25 years ago

“I met Alfaz at my art exhibition — he wanted to buy a painting for his client from Grindlays Bank as a wedding gift. It was the last day, last hour, and all was sold so he commissioned me,” says Brinda. “In a few ways we are alike - our professions complement each others - but in most ways we are abs opposites,” she laughed. “But we don’t feel its 25 years as we lead such busy lives - and we give each other SPACE,” she said, adding, “Above all we are both concerned about the city we live in and though we come from diff backgrounds and religions it never gets in our way.”

The couple celebrated their 25th anniversary yesterday

Remembering Salim Ali
“Today is the 118th birth anniversary of my great-uncle Salim Ali, India’s much loved Bird Man,” wrote the Delhi-based aesthete and cultural warrior Laila Tyabji, chairperson of Dastkar, which has empowered the lives of craftsmen across India. “He was my mother’s father’s brother, and married my father’s mother’s sister.

‘Bird Man’ Salim Ali and Laila Tyabji

Does Tyabji subscribe to her grand old uncle’s passion? “Though Salim chacha infected many of his cousins and nephews and nieces with the bird-watching bug, our own immediate family were not bird-minded, though we loved the outdoors, flora and fauna. Nevertheless, we adored Salim Chacha,” she says. “The last time I met him was when he was dying of cancer in hospital, aged 91. Emaciated and gaunt as an El Greco drawing, he could still wink at my father and whisper, pointing at the (extremely plain) Kerala nurse, ‘There are some pretty fine birds around here.’ Courageous and a joker till the end!”

All that glitters
Oh dear. This handsome SoBo hunk, scion of an established family, whose fondness for glam girls has got him into trouble before, appears to be in a bit of a soup again. No sooner had the dust settled on the last bit of scandal than his name had been headlined in a tragic episode involving a well-known ramp scorcher when the grapevine began jangling again. This time it’s to do with the break-up of his marriage and its collateral damage. Apparently, after much backing and forth-ing and sundry wrangling, when his wife successfully won her claim on her jewellery as part of her ‘stree dhan’, you can imagine her shock/horror when she took the precious pile to have it evaluated by a jeweller and was informed that most of it was fake!

Oh dear and oh woe, all that glitters just ain’t gold!

Koirala in Mumbai
“TEDxGateway 2014 speaker Anuradha Koirala will be conferred the prestigious Mother Teresa Global Awards,” texted our friend, the indefatigable and ebullient Yashraj Akashi, Senior Ambassador for the region for TedX.

Anuradha Koirala

“Anuradha, who was one of our speakers this year, has rescued and rehabilitated over 12,000 girls from flesh trade from India and Nepal,” he said of the noted activist from Maiti Nepal. “Only last Sunday, she was on stage presenting at TEDxGateway at the NCPA!” 

Yashraj Akashi at TedxGateway

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