>> Sometimes overheard conversations in lifts can be most instructive. This one on the way down from the high-powered IISS event at the Trident last week alerted us to the fact that the book penned by Zia Mody, one of India’s most prominent legal consultants and an authority on corporate mergers and acquisition law, is out on the stands.
Titled 10 Judgements That Changed India (Hardback. Price and published under the Shobhaa De –Penguin imprint) it features Supreme Court judgments on human rights, constitutional issues and issues of religious significance that have impacted the course of Indian history. When we spoke to De about her choice of signing Mody to pen the tome, the author-turned-publisher was excited.
“It’s all in the genes. Zia is Soli Sorabjee’s daughter and is possibly the sharpest, brightest, most respected legal mind in India today. Nobody else could have done the book. How does one pick just 10 Supreme Court judgments and validate the list? From the Shah Bano Begum judgment to the Union Carbide Corporation V Union of India including the Aruna Shanbaug Case, Zia has authoritatively and convincingly argued her case.
The idea was to make the book accessible to readers across the board and avoid ‘legalese’ as much as possible. And next on the list of her titles? “Yash Birla’s memoir, which is candid and riveting. In the pipeline: Kiran Majumdar Shaw’s inspiring life. And the biggie: Karan Johar’s memoir -- can’t wait for this one!” Neither can we.
The captain and the author
>> And for the last week two distinguished men have been locked behind closed doors together in deep conversation and fruitful exchange. The elder of the two is the celebrated captain CPK Nair, Padma Bhushan awardee and the founder-chairman of the Leela group of hotels, and the second is our friend and colleague, the author and columnist Pranay Gupte who has camped in Mumbai to work on his forthcoming book The Captain: CP Krishnan Nair and the Globalisation of India for Bloomsbury.
Gupte, a former NYT and Forbes journalist has over a dozen handsome books in his repertoire like Dubai: The Making of A Megapolis (Penguin Viking), Mother India: A Political Biography of Indira Gandhi (Penguin Viking), All Of Us: An Anthology Of Sustainable Development (Earth Times Books), The Silent Crisis: Despair, Development And Hope In A World Without Borders (Vikas Publishing), and Indira Gandhi: A Political Biography (Charles Scribner’s). And as if this were not enough forthcoming books by him include Healer: Dr Prathap Chandra Reddy and the Transformation of India, The Dynasty: Two Hundred Years of The Nehrus and The Gandhis and two untitled biographies of Mohsina Kidwai, untitled biography of Dr Rajendra K Pachauri.
With all this on his plate, any wonder that Gupte -- a Mumbai cha mulga -- has not had time to step out to sample one of his favourite local dishes? “The captain’s stories are riveting,” he says by way of an excuse.
Energy healing in NYC
>> One of the most interesting people we met in New York was Sameer Reddy, the erstwhile features editor of Vogue India who went on to become Newsweek International’s correspondent for luxury and culture from his home base in Berlin (where he also worked as an artist). It was here that he began studying the esoteric in earnest, becoming a Reiki Tummo master and an adept of the tarot, before returning to New York and making the leap from media to metaphysics by opening the Transformance Center, a Tribeca-based energy healing and life coaching practice.
Put it down to serendipity or synchronicity but as it happened, his mail to invite us to try out a session of energy healing arrived in our inbox while we were in NYC! So to cut to the chase, one sunny New York afternoon saw us seated across from the enigmatic Reddy (the son of two US-based doctors) at his Transformance Center delving into the mysteries of our soul. And whereas the session left us suitably shaken and stirred, not just for Reddy’s proficiency with tarot cards and Tummo reiki but his empathetic and wise counsel, our session was a bit like preaching to the already converted: we are hopeless enthusiasts for alternative sciences! More germane to Reddy’s success is the fact that his clientele in hard-nosed and over analysed America is a healthy and growing one. “In NY my practice is more centered around fashion and art world people and I’ve begun working on the West Coast where I have a clientele that includes film and fashion celebrities… actors, producers, designers,” he said, adding, “Would people in India be interested in energy healing of this kind?” We can think of at least a dozen prime candidates we told him.
Breaking in to Delhi
>> Word comes in that Meera Gandhi, who had created waves in not one but three financial capitals of the world (Mumbai, NYC, Hong Kong!) with her high profile philanthropic venture The Giving Back foundation and her relentlessly active social profile and who was recently featured on ‘Whom You Know,’ the de rigeur website for international networkers (“It’s not who you know that counts, it’s whom you know”) at Ascot with the likes of fashion designer Elizabeth Emanuel, and other worthies like Suhel Seth is now ensconced in Delhi where her husband investment banker Vikram Gandhi works.
But will Dilli, famous for its territorial turf wars and with a clutch of its own celebrated grande dames, yield to this latest hostess and putative diva from Mumbai? As an insider says, “Breaking in to the inner circle here is even tougher than New York or London!”
Here’s looking at you Meera!