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Worth a thousand words

If there was one picture that could be called priceless it’s the one we’ve carried here, of two celebrated and brilliant men, conductor Zubin Mehta and scientist Yusuf Hamied, childhood neighbours and now best friends, from the late thirties to the present day.

“This photograph taken over the years from 1938 to the present day at the same spot, outside 21, Cuffe Parade, Colaba, where we both grew up, is a ritual we’ve been practicing over the decades,” says Hamied, the feisty Chairman of CIPLA whose humanitarian work in the field of AIDS relief in Africa has won him international acclaim.

Zubin Mehta and Yusuf Hamied’s photographs taken outside 21, Cuffe Parade
Zubin Mehta and Yusuf Hamied’s photographs taken outside 21, Cuffe Parade

Mehta and Hamied represent Mumbai at its cosmopolitan and gracious best. And both are at the top of their game even now in their late seventies, winning accolades, honours and achievements wherever they go. What’s most significant about this time-lapse picture, is that the two men in it have between them a Padma Bhushan and a Padma Vibhushan! How many other ‘chuddie-buddies' can that be said of?

Who’s that girl?
And as the Mumbai Indians keep their fans ardently praying, many IPL viewers have wondered who the lady with the sunglasses, often seen seated next to Mukesh Ambani in the private Ambani box, is.

Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani
Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani

For the uninitiated, she is his first cousin, Vita Dani (nee Meswani), married to Jalaj Dani, scion of the Asian Paints family and an avid sports lover herself.

Vita’s passion for cricket is only matched by her passion for table tennis, and her own son Mudit Jani’s prowess in the latter (he is a national level Junior TT player) has led her to take up official patronage of TT. She is VP of the All India TT Association.

Vita Dani
Vita Dani

And because she is such a close and trusted member of the family, Mukesh and Nita leave many of the finer points of their interaction with her, and she is most likely to keep MDA company while Nita is in the dugout during the game.

Incidentally, where the family and friends are seated during a game is a matter of great importance for team owners for superstitious reasons. The Ambanis we hear look upon Anu Malik’s presence wearing a green T-shirt as vital to their winning.

Sherawat ki Shararat
And more Cannes gup-shup. While Sonam, Aishwarya and Freida are getting their looks right for their red carpet outings at the prestigious international film festival, word has come in that they’re all a bit nervous about the ‘Mallika’ factor.

Mallika Sherawat
Mallika Sherawat

Apparently, the motor mouth Haryanvi has made it a habit of showing up at the fest (with billionaire Parsi BF in tow) and upstaging the Indian actresses.

“They never quite know what she’s going to do there and it keeps every one on edge,” we were told. And of course, this scoring of brownie points with impunity is known as ‘Sherawat ki Shararat’ as far as the L’Oreal beauties are concerned.

Two great raconteurs
It can’t get more delicious than this. Fans of Saadat Hasan Manto, that brilliant raconteur of Mumbai’s mean streets and underbelly and fans of Aakar Patel are both thanking their luck because both men can be found between covers of the same book now: WHY I WRITE: ESSAYS BY SAADAT HASAN MANTO (Tranquebar) edited by Aakar Patel is now available at a bookshop near you.

‘One of the greatest raconteurs of 20th century, Saadat Hasan Manto declares that he was forced to write when his wife routinely demanded that he put bread on the table for the family.

For the first time ever, this unique collection of non-fiction writing from the subcontinents’ greatest writer, translated by well known author and journalist, Aakar Patel, showcases Manto’s brilliance while dealing with life's most mundane things -graveyards, bumming cigarettes, a film crew with motley characters from mythology and a sharp dissection of what ails the subcontinent,’ says the promotional blurb. Nice!

All that glitters
Oh dear. Things don’t seem to be going too well for Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra at the moment. Not only have they been under a cloud since their IPL team Rajasthan Royals came under scrutiny for illegal and insider betting by regulators, but it now it appears that the ambitious gold scheme that they announced with much fanfare recently might also go the same way.

Shilpa Shetty with Raj KundraShilpa Shetty with Raj Kundra

When it was announced a few months ago that Satyug Gold, the company promoted by the Kundras, was offering discounts of up to 37 per cent on gold bars and coins to people willing to pay the amount in advance and defer payment to up to five years, the concerted authorities were quick to take action.

According to one pink paper, Sebi officials felt that, “Satyug’s scheme is violating both CIS and forward contract regulations if it has not sought any permission to launch the scheme.” See what we mean? When it rains, it pours, and now that we are on to banal epithets, we might as well add: all that glitters isn’t gold!

Short-changing once more
A guest at an exclusive Sobo dinner recently was narrating how a top cop known for his integrity and honesty told them of the latest fraud that he and his team are investigating: counterfeit currency handed out by political parties to influence voters.

“He said the 100 rupee notes are brought in from China at the rate of R40 each. And that they are much better produced than the Indian version and therefore very hard to tell apart form the real thing,” said our source. So like in every thing else, politicians have short-changed the public even in this. Any one surprised?

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