Where the rich and famous go to relax

Sunil Mittal
Sunil Mittal

With the onslaught of a well-known mobile network operator in the telecom field and its ensuing effect on incumbent players, word comes in that Sunil Mittal, along with attractive wife Nyna and family, is currently taking what must be a much-needed break at what has been described as the world's leading 'life-turnaround centre', Italy's Palace Merano.

Known as the go-to detox place for sundry global plutocrats, heads of state and celebrities, namely Luciano Pavarotti, the spa with its clinical (and reportedly rigorous) cupping massages, lymphatic drainage, mud therapy and hydroaromatherapy baths, and strict dietary regimen, is exactly the place where the big boys check in for some detox and downtime.

And with an average one week package of 7 nights and 6 days of treatments and boarding going for around €4.925,00 (not to forget a medical compulsory consultancy at €290,00), it's guaranteed to make even the most stratospheric Masters of the Universe feel better about their health, even when that of their company's may be fraught.

The world in Colaba
An important but mostly discreet facet of Mumbai's social eco-system is the parties hosted by its diplomatic corp. What is interesting though is while the faces of the visiting diplomats on their constant revolving doors of international arrivals and departures keep changing, those of the Indian guests at these affairs remain more or less the same.

Consul General of France Yves Perrin, Deputy Consul General of Argentina Andrea Alba Gonzalez, newly arrived Consul General of USA Edward Kagan, Consul General of Sri Lanka Saroja Sirisena, Consul General of Italy Ugo Ciarlatani, and the very popular Erdal Sabri Ergen, Consul General Turkey, with Caroline Perrin DeflandreConsul General of France Yves Perrin, Deputy Consul General of Argentina Andrea Alba Gonzalez, newly arrived Consul General of USA Edward Kagan, Consul General of Sri Lanka Saroja Sirisena, Consul General of Italy Ugo Ciarlatani, and the very popular Erdal Sabri Ergen, Consul General Turkey, with Caroline Perrin Deflandre

This weekend saw us attending Sri Lanka Consul General Saroja Sirisena's farewell dinner for Ugo Ciarlatani, Italy's outgoing CG. The diplomat's close Consul General friends - Turkey's Erdal Sabri Ergen, Argentina's Pablo Ramirez, Ecuador's Arnol Buda Cueva Jacome, America's Edward D Kagan and France's Yves Perrin amongst others, had gathered at Sirisena's well-appointed Colaba apartment to raise a toast to their departing colleague.

Meeting diplomats is always educative. With Ergen, we found ourselves chatting about the genius of Devdutt Pattanaik and Orhan Pamuk, and with America's newly-appointed Kagan, about international geopolitics and the city's live music scene. The world in an evening.

The thoroughbred
Long before the spotlight fell on the Chanda Kochhars and Indra Nooyis, Indian women had their corporate role model in Zinia Lawyer, the posh promoter of a successful beer company. It was Lawyer who every pink paper and business mag had featured, when the question of women's empowerment and crashing the glass ceiling came up.

Zinia Lawyer then
Zinia Lawyer then

Which is why, on hearing that the lady, an avid race enthusiast with a rich family legacy in the field, has thrown in her hat for a seat on the next powerful RWITC committee (elections begin tomorrow), we were not surprised.

Lawyer, who we have known for decades, epitomises the suave and spirited feminine force which Mumbai's Turf Club so urgently requires. With her cool head and progressive vision, she could be just the person to steer it through its most challenging days. Besides, who else to crash what is the ultimate boy's club? (The last time there was a woman on its committee was almost two decades ago.)

News of her standing for elections is reported to have galvanised not only a wide section of Mumbai's women, but also its millennials, said to be an important growth area for the club's survival.

As one North Indian stud farm owner best put in response to her letter seeking his vote: "You probably have the "best" pedigree of race-goers anywhere in India - and it's high time RWITC had a lady on the committee, if for nothing else, but to keep an eye on the boys!"

An intoxicating pleasure
One of our abiding pleasures is to drop in on designer James Ferreira's exquisite home-cum-studio in Mumbai's quaint Khotachiwadi, one of the city's last heritage neighbourhoods. Amidst its paved streets and old-world charms (which include Ferreira's beloved pet turtle), one cannot help but be transported to a gentler, richer past undisturbed by the world of tweeting prezzies and breaking news.

James Ferreira
James Ferreira

This weekend, Ferreira, still regarded in the trade as a master of cuts, presents his 2017 Resortwear Collection 'Intoxication' at a fashion week featuring his signature white drapes in cheese cotton and asymmetric edgy cocktail dresses. Incidentally, about the plethora of non-stop, ceaseless fashion extravaganzas the city is witnessing, a top stylist was overheard remarking, "There will soon be a fashion week for every suburb of the city, the way things are going!"

The rebel girl
Amidst the tsunami of condolences and commiserations that came in, about the tragic murder of spirited journalist Gauri Lankesh, one of the most poignant was that of US-based political scientist Mary Breeding, wife of noted journalist Chidanand Rajghatta, who had earlier been married to the slain writer.

Gauri Lankesh
Gauri Lankesh

"She was the first wife to my husband. She was my friend, and she was a powerful force of nature to be reckoned with," Breeding posted on social media, shortly after hearing the devastating news. "We loved her. A rationalist. An atheist. A proud Kannadiga, and a firm believer in everyone's right to speak their minds and to worship as they pleased."

Breeding, who learnt of the killing from a TV news flash, described how her little daughter Diya, a great favourite of Gauri's, on sensing her mother's distress, that night during their nightly reading of 'Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls,' had turned to her and said, "Don't worry, mommy. People can choose to be good or bad. We can use our powers for good against bad people too."

"Diya was so sleepy, her eyes were shutting, and I could feel Gauri there with us in that moment. I think she would have approved. Now, I'll have to muster up the strength to read her the story of our truly beloved rebel girl, Gauri Lankesh," the anguished Breeding had posted.

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