Ties that bind

Malavika Sangghvi >> He is the first non-Tata chief since 1868 to be heading the group, and ever since his taking over the reins in January this year from the legendary outgoing Chairman Ratan Tata, every move of Cyrus Mistry has been under intense scrutiny. That both men possess impeccable pedigree, reputations for noblesse oblige and a hard to come by sophistication makes them appear more similar than different. But as it turns out there’s more to the job than filling Tata’s shoes. There’s the matter of neckties too. And if silly sartorial concerns appear to have hijacked the legacy narrative somewhat it’s all to do with a recent interview that the enigmatic ‘Chairman Emeritus’ gave to a foreign publication. Asked what advice he’d like to give his worthy successor, Tata is said to have remarked in a lighter vein that he’d like to see the young man ‘wear more neckties with his suits’.

Ratan Tata,Cyrus Mistry
Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry

Now, as anyone familiar with Tata knows his penchant for dark formal suits is matched only by his preference to wear ultra conservative preppy gear on his day’s off: checked shirts worn with a white inner vest accompanied by chinos. It might be the teeniest divergence in style but put it down to the significance Bombay House occupies in people’s minds, but people are reading more into Tata’s throwaway remark than he ever intended. And the fact that Mistry has been known to eschew not only a tie but also wear his suits European style with his shirt with not one but two buttons undone is making matters worse!

No onion, no cry
>> Our encounter with Hemant Oberoi, the Taj’s celebrated ‘Grande Chef Emeritus’ has left us with much food for thought to chew on. On Monday, we had reported on the epicure’s joy on celebrating his parents’ 75th wedding anniversary in Delhi recently. Well, we can’t stop smiling about a few other bon mots he imparted. While describing a certain kind of vegetarian clientele choices he pronounced them ‘NGOs’. On further enquiry it was revealed that ‘NGOs’ stood for ‘No Garlic or Onion’ eaters and was the chef’s shorthand for classifying this category of customer. Nice!

Hemant Oberoi

Turf trouble
>> It has given rise to some piquant situations and others too hilarious to describe. But adding to all the woes that come along with living in the area beyond Haji Ali is this: attending an event at SoBo’s Turf Club is a nerve wracking affair. And no, we are not talking about the traffic jams or the parking issues.

Norah Jones performing in Mumbai.

It’s just that when people issue invitations for weddings or performances at these prestigious venue, guests have been known to go through a Russian roulette of finding where exactly at the racecourse’s sprawling and many-gated area the event actually lies. And often inadvertently end up at the wrong venue! On Sunday evening, at the excellently conducted Norah Jones concert when we mentioned this to former RWITC chairman Vivek Jain, he saw our point immediately. “We will make sure that all gates are prominently numbered and that hosts send out correct instructions on their cards.”

Vivek Jain
Vivek Jain

In the line of duty
>> And though spring is in the air and the flowers are in bloom, this March marks the 47th anniversary of the 1966 Mizo National Front uprising, aimed at establishing a sovereign state for the Mizos, and of the air strikes in Aizawl conducted by the IAF to suppress it. And whereas there are those who view the government’s response (said to be the first and only time military power was used against civilians) as necessary, it will take a more considered reflection on its merits.

Rajesh Pilot

Mizoram is relatively peaceful now, we are informed. But the two Air Force men who were allegedly part of the air strikes: Rajesh Pilot and Suresh Kalmadi have coincidentally met with unfortunate fates. Pilot’s brilliant career was cut short when he died in a car accident in 2000 in Jaipur. As for the beleaguered Suresh Kalmadi, no one needs to be remanded of his woes (mainly self-inflicted). Karma … there’s no messing with it, some say.

Suresh Kalmadi

Society gripes
>> It’s being described as a high society battle in which many heads will roll. Ever since this high profile and attractive designer was ditched by her long time paramour, for the daughter of a wealthy financial leader, observers say that she’s unwilling to take things lying down. And the fact that she comes
from a well-heeled and well-connected family makes matters more complicated. “It’s really unfortunate because the exes and their families belong to the same circle; and both are very popular and equally well regarded,” said an insider. “But given the circumstances and the hurt feelings involved people are choosing sides.” As an older, wiser well-wisher we hope things are sorted out amicably and with dignity and that peace and good vibes prevail. Why do bad things happen to good people? Sigh…

Rocking night
>> On Saturday, as part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Shelter Don Bosco, one of the city’s much admired NGOs that cares for street children, the Shanmukhananda Hall witnessed a unique performance put together by our former colleague Martin D’Souza (who runs Light Infotainment).  

Boman Irani and Manasi Scott with children from the Don Bosco Shelter

“Conceptualised as a concert that featured music from 1920 to 2013, it saw the coming together of talents like Chrisann Misquitta, Manasi Scott, the Monsorate Brothers and the one and only Boman Irani who demonstrated that his singing chops are at par with his acting. Songs sung through the evening included Fever, Imagine, Goody Doody, I will Survive, Hello Dolly, the Mexican Shuffle and R D Burman classics. “But by far the most heartwarming performance was the dance by the shelter boys choreographed by one of them,” says D’Souza. We like!  

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