Wrong victim to pick

>> She is easily one of the most urbane of Dhirubhai’s children, inheriting her easy style and charisma from her mother along with her father’s emotional intelligence, which is why when we received this hilarious attempt to misuse Deepti Salgaonkar’s name in one of those ubiquitous spam e-mails to extract money, thought up by unscrupulous and obviously misguided crooks we deleted it forthwith. You know the kind we are referring to. The ‘SOS: assistance needed. I am stranded in a European country and find myself without access to my credit card/ Internet/ phone book etc.

Kokilaben Ambani with daughter Deepti Salgaonkar

Please wire money ASAP.’ Well, this one in the grand tradition of larceny had the daughter of one of the country’s most wealthy and powerful families write: ‘Am sorry to bother you with this mail, but I just arrived in Cyprus for a Volunteer Training Program (VTP) and found myself in a situation which I really need to take care of now. I need a loan of $3,500 but will appreciate any amount you can help me with, would have called but I lost mobile phone to the incident. I’ll explain the situation better and refund the money back to you immediately I get back home.” As someone remarked, “This time the scamsters have really picked the wrong victim. They have no idea who they’re messing with. There’ll be hell to pay!”

Chattam House rules
>> “I have spoken under Chatham House rules for ages, but for first time I am now headed for Chatham House!” says the debonair Dr Sanjaya Baru, director for geo-economics and strategy at the renowned think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies, former media adviser to Manmohan Singh (how he needs a good one now!) and our former editor at Business Standard.

For the uninitiated, The Chatham House Rule, which is an international standard reads, “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.” It originated at Chatham House, also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the leading international non-profit, non-governmental organisation based in London whose stated mission is to analyse and promote the understanding of major international issues and current affairs. Baru, who has been a silent observer of national and international matters of state and a close confidante of two PMs (Singh and Narasimha Rao) will have a lot to say about his visit we are sure. Of course, if Chatham House rules apply what he does not say will be more important!

Our man from Pune
>> He’s been a high roller and a patron of the arts for as long as we can recall, but yesterday our sources revealed that not only has Cyrus Poonawalla notched up some significant successes at Ascot last week, but that his acquisition of European Masters from Sotheby’s recently have left the international art community gasping.

So, may we have a picture of the man, we requested them? Wait a day, said the source, we are looking for one of him
in his top hat! Nice!

Husain’s tombstone
>> Hunted out of the country of his birth and to which he gave so much MF Husain’s death in faraway cold London had left his legion of friends and fans bereft. For, as much as the maverick Master had been aching for the warmth of his favourite masala chai and bun muska and the feel of the hot Mumbai streets under his feet, his admirers had been yearning for one last glimpse of his beatific face.

But alas, that was not to be. However, this photograph taken by the daughter of one of his closest friends recently warmed the cockles of our hearts. Featuring Husain’s simple gravestone and two white roses, it bears the inscription ‘In the Name of Allah, the most beneficent, the Most Merciful. Maqbool Fida Husain, 17.9.1913– 9.6.2011.’

Simple words but in them one of the most extraordinary stories of our age.


RIP Nikhil
>> We didn’t know him, but having many friends in common, we could feel the anguish his sudden death had created in their lives when Nikhil Talwar, the forty something scion of Delhi’s Talwar clan, a leading north Indian family passed away suddenly of stomach complications two days ago.

From Dior India’s head honcho Kalyani Chawla to designers Rohit Bal, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna there was consternation and sadness as they came to terms with the sudden death of what appears to be one of Delhi’s popular personalities. RIP Nikhil. Forty is too young to go but from what we gather you lived life to the fullest and were much loved by many.

The Society for Asia
>> Ever since it set up shop in India a few years ago, the Asia Society spearheaded by the lovely Bunty Chand has enhanced the lives of Mumbaikars with it’s cultural interventions. (‘Your name sounds like that of a yesteryear movie star,’ a delighted Meera Nair had exclaimed to Chand at the Asia Society Spring dinner last month.

‘I’m going to use it in my next film!’) This weekend word comes in of another delightful evening that showcases the best and brightest amongst us organised by the Society. ‘We will be visiting globally-recognised artist Reena Kallat, at her conveniently located studio in Bandra on Saturday, where she will give a presentation about the development of her work, her motivations, how her studio serves as a laboratory for her to experiment with new ideas, and how contexts help shape her ideas,’ says Chand about the forthcoming event. We like!  

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