A salute to a grandmother

Feb 02, 2015, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

There is something very heartbreakingly divine about hearing of and seeing a life so well-rounded, so magnificent even if it is from afar ... But grandma is now back home

“There is something very heartbreakingly divine about hearing of and seeing a life so well-rounded, so magnificent even if it is from afar ... But grandma is now back home. RIP,” and with these words the lovely Masaba Gupta bid farewell to her grandmother Gretel Richards, mother of the legendary cricketer Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time.

Masaba Gupta
Masaba Gupta

When we spoke to her and condoled, the ache was still apparent in the young designer’s voice. We remarked how touched we were by her simple and dignified salute. We didn’t mention how we had especially been touched by the gentle sadness in a little girl’s words, “Even if it is from afar.”

Gretel Richards with Vivian Richards
Gretel Richards with Vivian Richards

After all, life is not for regrets; it is for being lived with courage and dignity and for progress and triumphing. And Masaba and her mother Neena have done all this splendidly!

Avid and gutsy trekker
He is easily the gold standard of ophthalmic surgeons in the country, and one who takes his responsibility as the third generation in a line of distinguished eye surgeons that began nearly a hundred years ago with his grandfather very seriously.

Dr Burjor Banaji
Dr Burjor Banaji

After all, his father, Dr Phiroze Banaji is credited with introducing modern retinal detachment surgery and corneal transplantation to India. What’s more, when you meet the fifty-something Dr Burjor Banaji at his stately chambers at the Fort (after being transported up in a 100-year-old heritage lift,) it would be easy to think he is a cosy armchair single malt and fireside evenings kind of person.

Photo taken during the trek. PIC/Dr Burjor Banaji
Photo taken during the trek. Pic/Dr Burjor Banaji

But think again: this renowned medical practitioner is as an avid and gutsy trekker-as outdoorsy as they come! And recently, Banaji’s posts on a social media site have been eliciting much admiration: ‘Moonrise after hailstorm ...and getting hopelessly lost on glacier...unforgettable day,’ he commented on this stunning picture.

“The trek when this was taken was an exploration to pioneer a route between the Rivers Baspa and the Tons in the Gharwal Himalaya in the autumn of 1999,” he said, when we spoke to him. “Five of us led by the legend Harish Kapadia, managed to do this in two weeks of hard walking, through pine forests, meadows, hard scree and glaciers...” says the impassioned nature lover.

“Much of the route was unmapped, which added to the allure. Not knowing what was around the corner, so exciting and to go into terrain that had never been seen before was a unique privilege...” he says about forging… well… a new path. “It has now become a well-known route but we were the first to do it and also got to name the crucial pass connecting one valley to the other...”

Incidentally, all these posts of the Far Beyond, have had their repercussions. “‘Er, Doc my surgery’s scheduled this week’ texted a nervous patient of mine,” says Banaji. “I had to explain that I was very much in town and these were from a while ago!” he laughs.

Following the northern lights
“I suppose like Prague was popular a few years ago, Spain was hot a couple of years ago... this year it seems to be Burma and Scandinavia,” it was our friend, the food writer and chef Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi currently in Istanbul, when we asked her why it appeared that all the city’s beautiful people had taken a long hike to snow covered landscapes.

Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi
Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi

“We went with a big group of friends,” said Sanghvi, who the previous week found herself in Rovaniemi, Finland. “At 11am, we looked across (and walked on) frozen Kemijoki, Finland’s longest river. The sun was beginning to come up over a deep pile of fresh powder.

Dug to the bottom of the snow, a couple of feet, and there it is a slab of solid but glassy river ice. We were walking on two forms of water, but it felt like we were walking on whipped cream,” she said. Others who are also said to be mesmerised by the sublime and stark beauty of ice and snow are Atul and Gayatri Ruia and Lisa and Kamal Sadanah, who have also visited these countries in big groups recently.

Northern Lights here we come!

Two million rose stem cells
“I spend a lot of time talking to women about their beauty ritual and practices, especially women in the luxury segment,” says our friend, the luxury and beauty trends commentator Geeta Rao, about an upcoming event at the Palladium Spa, where she will speak about a product said to be created from ‘two million rose stem cells harvested from an especially created rose to work at regenerating your own skin’.

Geeta Rao with Micky Contractor
Geeta Rao with Micky Contractor

“I am going to speak about what women want and trends in beauty as well as the science behind the product, because intelligent women like to know why and how a product works,” she said. As for the venue: “The product launch coincides with the launch of Gayatri Ruia’s express spa menu and it seems a beautiful coming together of both skin care and wellness,” she says.

Only other stars allowed near
Oh dear. News from our Bollywood snoop, a lady of infinite patience and a very big mouth, was telling us of this star with delusions of grandeur, who is reported to demand a ‘three foot non approach’ policy around himself on set for everyone except other stars. “I guess it kinda’ corresponds with his 3-cm you-know-what,” she cackled.

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