Face to face with Branson

Mar 18, 2016, 06:01 IST | MiD DAY Correspondent

It's not every day, that one gets to share the spotlight with an international icon, even rarer to receive a compliment from them on a public platform

It's not every day, that one gets to share the spotlight with an international icon, even rarer to receive a compliment from them on a public platform. So when entrepreneur Devita Saraf, CEO of Vu Technologies, found herself in Istanbul to speak at TALKS Inspired 2016 this week, where her personal hero, Richard Branson, the English billionaire, was the keynote speaker, you could imagine her joy.

Devita Saraf and Richard Branson
Devita Saraf and Richard Branson

Saraf, who has long admired the flamboyant UK tycoon for his business flair, and his role in being his company's chief evangelist had raised her hand during the audience Q&A following Branson's speech. “What are the pros and cons of being the face of one's business?” Saraf, who has appeared in recent advertisements for her televisions, had asked the maverick entrepreneur.

Pat came his reply. “If I had your face I would have been even more successful.” “You can see me blushing in the video,” is what Saraf texted us a few minutes later from the venue itself. Nice!

Of banking and writing
Around the time that news of her husband Anshu Jain's exit as CEO of Deutsche Bank was making international news, a financial daily, with a rather dark sense of humour had carried the headline, 'Anshu Jain to live off wife's moderate income from freelance writing?'

This was obviously a joke, as wife Geetika is a freelance writer, and every one knows how badly paid they (ahem) are. 'Anshu Jain's finances have taken a nasty turn for the worse. He's leaving Deutsche at the end of this month and will be paid nothing more for his efforts as a full-time employee.

Nor did he pick up the €15m Deutsche says he would have collected, had he been fired. Fortunately, therefore, Anshu Jain's wife – Geetika – has a profession, albeit one far less lucrative than her husband's,' says the news report tongue firmly in cheek 'Geetika Jain writes travel articles and children's books.

In the past year, she has been to Norway, Botswana and Jordan, seemingly without her husband. The Jains' finances will also be helped by the fact that Jain has various personal investments – including in an Indian cricket team – and by the fact that Jain regularly earned more than $10m a year at Deutsche Bank,' said the item on the website.

Well, obviously the Jains are looking to expand their interests in the writing business. Next week Geetika will be in Delhi to launch her newest book for children 'Wonderful Wildlife A to Z,' which she has collaborated on with noted conservationist Bittu Sahgal, and talking to them both on the podium, will be none else than her husband. Obviously there's more to a freelance writing career than meets the eye.

Getting younger by the day
We love Farah Khan's sense of humour. Droll, irreverent and biting, she has understood the cardinal rule of the funny business - nothing is funnier than laughing at oneself or sending oneself up, and her self-deprecating jokes are often the director's best.

Farah Khan
Farah Khan

Take for example this portrait of Madame Khan looking young and winsome in a recent post on social media. 'Tips 2 look young: keep posing with ancient wonders! At the coliseum #?roman holiday,'” said the slim and trim director whose recent spa holidays in Europe have done her a world of good.

At this rate the director could well give any of her heroines like Deepika and Katrina, competition in their dance numbers.

Singh is King
It has been often said about restaurateur AD Singh, that if he were any more laid back he'd keel over, so when we discerned a tiny sliver of excitement in his celebrated drawl, we knew that something big had occurred to get India's most glamorous restaurateur upbeat.

AD Singh
AD Singh

“I'm at Fashion Week Delhi,” said AD from what sounded like a very noisy party playing in the background. “And I'm really thrilled because the Fashion Design Council of India is honouring Olive group for its 15 anniversary this year by exclusively showcasing our brands through out the week. Every day here, our star chefs and partners will create a special envelope-pushing dish that brings out their take on dishes we may be serving next day. These will be prepared and presented gratis every day at the site.”

The dishes that will be prepared by the Olive group for the event
The dishes that will be prepared by the Olive group for the event

That said, AD lapsed into his mid-Atlantic drawl again: listen sweetie I'm having a small dinner for a 100 people this weekend in Mumbai, hope you received the invite...” And we suspect it will be another 15 years before Singh will sound so chuffed again.

Two sisters who have suddenly emerged on the city's social scene have been the subjects of much comment. Whereas one bagged the scion of a respected biz clan, the other's dalliances with a much-married Dubai biz man, and her role in the break up of his marriage have come in for some catty dissing.

“Ok, they are pretty,” said one SoBo PYT in an LBD. “But what has shocked all of us is the speed with which they've managed to skinny up the slippery slope of social networking,” she hissed. “And the fact that they're determined to marry up and marry rich has not endeared them to any of us,” she said, adding, “I wish they'd leave our guys alone!”

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