Who got in first?
The who’s who of India Inc were seen at his swearing-in, right from both Mukesh and Anil Ambani with their families and mother Kokilaben, Gautam Adani, Ashok Hinduja, Shashi and Prashant Ruia, Rana Kapoor, Naresh Goyal, the Mittal brothers Sunil, Rajan and Rakesh, DLF vice-chairman Rajiv Singh, Hero MotoCorp’s Pawan Munjal, Suzlon’s Tulsi Tanti and Videocon’s Rajkumar Dhoot.
Narendra Modi. PIC/PTI
So, given Modi’s accessibility to business leaders, the big question doing the rounds in India Inc was: who would be the first to be granted an appointment with the new PM? After all, every business head must have put in their request for an appointment the moment the results had been announced.
Cyrus Mistry and Gautam Adani. Pics/AFP
And now, sources reveal that the two people who were afforded the honour were: Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry and Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani. “By choosing these two, Modi has once again confounded his critics.
After all, Tata Sons is the acknowledged business leader of the community and seeing its Chairman is sending out a conservative message. As for Adani, he’s also letting it be known that he has not forgotten his old friends. Both choices were excellent and cannot be faulted,” said a business insider.
All work and no play
An interesting aside from those who’ve been doing the rounds of the corridors of power in Delhi is, just how unbelievably tired the new ministers look. “Not only are they expected to put in 14-hour workdays, but many of them have more than one ministry to see to.
Arun Jaitley. PIC/PTI
For people who’ve been out of power and used to less work, their new hours are telling!” said one source, adding, “They look exhausted!” A case in point is Arun Jaitley, one of the hardest working ministers, who, they say, not only looks extremely exhausted, but has also put on a fair deal of weight. “With three key ministries under him, he finds no time to take his morning walk at Lodhi Garden any more,” we’re told.
“The meeting took place last month in Yohji’s studio in Tokyo,” says our friend, the designer Barbara Cecelia Behn Constantinescu about her tete-a-tete with the legendary Japanese designer Yamamoto, whose works we so adore.
Yohji Yamamoto and Barbara Cecelia. Pic/AFP
“Yohji was amazed at the blackness of the black,” she says about his response to her exquisite collection of pashmina shawls produced by her Kathmandu-based company Bajra.
Something of a legend itself, the Bajra Company was founded in 1992, when Barbara was preparing for her first trek in the Annapurna region of Nepal, and was introduced to the luxurious handwoven cashmere and silk fabric known as ‘pashmina’.
Since then, Bajra has grown into a vast enterprise that employs almost 10,000 local artisans, and weaves and embroiders pashmina scarves and shawls that are sold internationally at the best stores. “When he wore one,” says Barbara, “he went into the Yohji tactile world and touched each piece as if it was talking to him.”
Do unto others
Those familiar with this well-heeled business clan and the travails faced by one of its daughters, whose marriage broke up very publicly on account of her husband having an affair with her best friend, cannot help clucking their tongues about the irony of it all.
Because not only is history being repeated, but this time it is also one of their own sons who is at fault. Yes, the twenty-something young man, the elder of the two brothers whose lavish wedding in a European hotspot to the daughter of a wealthy NRI, had made headlines a few years ago, has done the unthinkable: jeopardised his marriage by having an affair with his wife’s best friend!
And this is not the only blot on his copybook; insiders speak of the bad blood that had resulted when he’d sold a painting to one of his billionaire friends for a price that was way above the market rates, and then refused to take it back. “He’s always had the reputation of being a bit of a con artist,” says a source, “And now, his wife is fed up and we hear she’s filed for divorce.” Sad.
Happy Birthday Nana
“He’s really excited about today,” says doting daughter Shaina N C about her father, octogenarian Nana Chudasama’s birthday celebrations this evening. “All his friends will be there.
Nana Chudasama (right)
Politicians like Sharad Pawar, the Thackerays, Nitin Gadkari, Manohar Parrikar and of course, people from all walks of life, like Salim Khan with daughter Alvira, Adi Godrej, Shobhaa and Dilip.”
And what does she love best about her dad? “Oh, easily the fact that he’s one of the most even tempered and likeable personalities I’ve seen. Even if he’s in hospital right from the ward boy to the top doctor, he’ll have them all eating out of the palm of his hand,” says Shaina, herself a leading light of the BJP.
Given his nature, why didn’t he get into politics? “He always felt it was more important to be a voice of dissent,” says Shaina, about the man whose cryptic banner comments on Marine Drive often have the powers that be shaken and stirred. Happy birthday Nana. And may your inkwell never run dry!