Tome on Shapoorji Pallonji

In a few weeks, city cognoscenti will gather for the launch of one of corporate India's most awaited tomes, one on the Shapoorji Pallonji group, whose promoters also happen to be the largest individual shareholders in Tata Sons.

Headed until 2012 by its reclusive media-shy founder Pallonji Mistry, this 2.5-billion-dollar conglomerate, now run by his son Shapoor, is regarded as something of an enigma, which is why a well-researched book is a much awaited one.

Pallonji Mistry and (right) son Cyrus Mistry and Aman Nath
Pallonji Mistry and (right) son Cyrus Mistry and Aman Nath

Published by Pictor and written by the inimitable Delhi-based Aman Nath, author, and hotelier- conservationist, the book is said to contain rare and hitherto unknown insights into the blue chip dignified family, whose scion, Cyrus Mistry, serves as chairman of the Tata Group.

"In many ways, the Shapoorji Pallonji giant, which has given Mumbai some of its most enduring landmarks like the Reserve Bank of India building, the Bombay Stock Exchange, and Taj Intercontinental, is an unknown entity. Now, by its own impetus it has lifted the veil a little. Interest is sky high," said the source.

Zarine's birthday brunch
A delicious serving of Mumbai's ladies who brunch, gathered for Sunday repast at Sanjay House to bring in the birthday of Zarine Khan, interior decorator, mother of a handsome brood, wife of film star Sanjay and now author of Family Secrets, a book of Persian Mughal and Parsi recipes.

Zarine Khan and Farah Khan Ali
Zarine Khan and Farah Khan Ali

"My beautiful mother, whom I love, admire, respect and look up to has taught me so much," said jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali, whose engagement with Tanishq will also unfurl across the country this month. "If I can be half the woman she has been, I will consider myself blessed."

Simone Arora, Zarine's second daughter, informed us that her father and brother Zayed were in the USA and sister Sussanne was in London, and there would be another celebration when they returned, "Look at mum; isn't she glowing?" she said, pointing affectionately to her graceful mother, the belle of yesterday's ball.

Shashi Tharoor comes to town
"I will try to map the arc of his life as student, diplomat, writer and politician, instead of just focussing on here and now. I will ask how Delhi has changed under Modi for suave, old, debate school style politicians like him."

Sandip Roy. Pic/TwitterShashi Tharoor
Sandip Roy. Pic/Twitter, Shashi Tharoor

It was Firstpost's Sandip Roy telling us how he planned to conduct this evening's engagement with Shashi Tharoor, on 'his life and times, ups and downs,' as Firstpost's editor-in-chief R Jagannathan had described the event.

Held at a smart eatery in Lower Parel, it was the latest in the series held by the site of 'conversations with interesting people that we webcast live and use social media to orchestrate', according to Jagannathan.

As for Tharoor himself, whom we caught minutes before he delivered a talk in Jaipur last evening, "I am looking forward to an opportunity to engage with a thoughtful interlocutor about the things that matter to India," he said. So no questions about Lalit Modi, then?

Looking for a Spa
It's a family known to have spawned billionaires, bon vivants, pharmaceutical tycoons, fashion divas and society queens, and so, when Bina Ramani (nee Lalwani), and her clan gathered in Bangalore last week to celebrate the 75th birthday of their sister, who lives there, you can bet it was a rollicking party.

Bina RamaniBina Ramani

"We're all here," said the Delhi and Goa-based Ramani, newly returned from a holiday to Europe. "We've flown in from Phuket, London, USA to celebrate the occasion, but I will definitely need to go to a detox spa soon after this," said the lady, known for having created some of the Capital's most stylish F&B and shopping experiences. "Do you know of a good detox spa near Bangalore?" she asked.

The Sunny Side Up Breakfast Project
It began as a one-line post on social media. 'Who wants to do this on Saturday morning? Inbox me...' we'd said tentatively. Perhaps it was the link to the picture of Eggs Benedict that did it, or the fact that everyone knew how allergic we were to mornings and couldn't believe their ears. Whatever it was — very soon we were inundated with 'ayes'.

Sharmistha Ray
Sharmistha Ray

Obviously it was an idea whose time had come. It seemed everyone wanted to meet over breakfast. To break barriers and reach out; to share their stories and lives; to participate and to engage. Soon a name suggested itself — 'The MS Sunny Side Up Breakfast Project' — and we cobbled together a group, kept deliberately small, as it was still an experiment. We finalised the venue, sent out the messages, and put an alarm for the hour.

And so, this weekend, we are happy to report that without much fanfare, we hosted the first installment of the 'MS Sunny Side Up Breakfast Project' at Colaba's delicious gem Theobroma, with Geeta, philanthropist wife of Tata Sons director R Gopalakrishnan, fresh from her triumph the previous evening of the 'Dil Se Deejiye' fund raiser for the Tata Cancer Hospital in Kolkata, and edgy international artist and TED Fellow Sharmistha Ray, herself a budding salonist.

The three of us had barely exchanged more than a few sentences prior to this meeting. What on earth would we talk about? As it turned out, we couldn't stop talking. Over muesli and espressos, we spoke of work and play and everything in between: the exquisiteness of childhood memory, the poignancy of losing friends, of Goddess Kali and altruism, of the inherent sophistication of Kolkata, and the attraction Mumbai had for all of us.

We arrived as near strangers and left as friends; with a promise that as alumni of the Breakfast Project, henceforth we would be only a shout away if we needed each other. The MS Sunny Side Up Breakfast Project's next week's plans are already underway: a fiery lawyer, a svelte businesswoman, a dynamic designer, and more have already sent in their 'ayes'. Saturday mornings will never be the same again.

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