Fly by VIP?

Feb 19, 2014, 05:56 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

And word comes in of an interesting new concept that's going to put a new sparkle into flying

>> And word comes in of an interesting new concept that’s going to put a new sparkle into flying. An enterprise called ‘FLY WITH VIP’ is supposed to have signed agreements with 300 celebrities including Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Farhan Akhtar, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Narayana Murthy, Gururaj Deshpande and Deepak Chopra, to agree to allowing the seat next to them on aircrafts to be auctioned and the proceeds will go to charity. “We’ve got the launch campaign created by Piyush Pandey at Ogilvy, KPMG as our auditors and our website is completely ready. All partnerships are in place,” says Gautam Chhabriya, the man behind this innovative idea.

Aamir Khan and Sachin Tendulkar

“Besides the highest bidder getting to win auctions of the adjacent seat of his favourite celebrity, we have a raffle model,” he says adding, “An experiment with Sachin Tendulkar in partnership with Vodafone yielded 330,000 people paying Rs 150.

Which means just one event grossed Rs 5 crores, of which we get to keep 15%-35% and 65%-85% goes to charity.”

Said to be two months away from take off, it will be interesting to see if this idea gains ground. In our humble opinion, we feel most high net worth people hate having to chat with pesky networkers on flights. After all, we all know how irritating it is when the person next to one uses his or her time airtime to network or make a pitch. But if one’s social mobility can be put to good use, why not ?

Deepika Padukone

Just one thing, the concept plan also mentions a ‘Mr Godrej, Mr Bajaj and Mr Mahindra’ as personalities who have signed on to the scheme.

Couldn’t be a certain Adi, Rahul and Anand could they? Just asking...

Changing times in Delhi
>> Hailing from a family that’s known as one of the most blue-chip in the country, this divorced daughter of a
Kolkata-based leading industrialist must have responded to her recent mistreatment at the hands of Delhi Customs with particular odium.

After all, being apprehended while passing through the green channel for possession of a few high-end watches picked up in Zurich after returning from a holiday at the family home on its outskirts was really no big deal for the lady.

Not so, thought the authorities and made the billionaire heiress spend the night in overnight custody at the airport until someone made a few high networked calls and rescued her from her ignominy.

Oh dear, a portent of changing times in the Capital?

Mumbai’s Hamptons
>> And ever since the ‘out through the backdoor police chase’ on Yash Birla’s top executive Anant Vardhan brought the focus on Alibaug beach properties, there’s been a discussion on who has the most beautiful beach front home in Mumbai’s Hamptons.

Gautam Singhania and Vijay Mallya

To be sure, there are quite a few contenders. High rollers like Vijay Mallya, Gautam Singhania, Tata Chairman Cyrus Mistry, Anand Mahindra and Kavita and Jasjit Singh all have sumptuous getaways in Alibaug, so there are many piles to choose from.

But hands down, those in the know swear that the most beautiful (and appropriate) beach home in the vicinity is that of the Dubashs — Adi, Uma and Lia’s European architect-designed Kihim property, built almost two decades ago, but still relevant and enthralling. And now that the matter has been settled, shall we turn our attention to the most vulgar/ugliest beachside property?

For that, the list is longer…

Politics in the police dept?
>> We don’t really comment on matters of State, but when a friend reaches out in anguish, we make it a point to respond.

After all, it is at such times that our true character is tested. So when we received a text message from beleaguered cop Javed Ahmed, we could not help but focus our attention on the recent issue involving the appointment of Mumbai’s police commissioner. Now, as sure as we are that Ahmed is a fine man, we are equally sure that so is Rakesh Maria, Mumbai’s newly appointed police commissioner. None who know Maria have any thing but good words to say about him and his commitment to his job.

Rakesh Maria and Javed Ahmed

The problem does not lie with these senior officers of the law. We have, in the past, met and been befriended by many of their ilk and to a man we have found them intelligent, focussed and sincere in their dealings with people.
Of course, the most brilliant amongst them is the one and only Julio Ribeiro, recipient of India’s third highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan, whose qualities of integrity and decency are something of a benchmark in the service.

No, the problem does not lie with the cops when it comes to their appointment to senior posts. The problem, gentle reader, mostly lies in the fact that too many of the country’s vital departments lie in the domain of politicians and their whims. ‘What message is being given? Hard work, integrity, competence, seniority etc have no value...’ wrote Ahmed in his impassioned text. “Only a political godfather is what matters..”

See what we mean?

Card holding member
>> We ran in to her at AD Singh’s Thalassa pop up store recently and thought naught of it when she handed us her visiting card. But a few days ago, when arranging our affairs (yes, contrary to popular belief, we do sort them out, eventually!) we came across the card again.

Nisha Jamwal

And what a card it is: a glamourous, full-colour (3D) picture of the social maven, shot in art house portrait light on one side and her contact details on the other. (e-mail ID, cell phone and various residential details.)

And so, from someone who’s never possessed a card in their lives (okay, a few professional ones that we never used) all we can say is that Nisha Jamwal’s card is one that certainly appears like it means business and gives a whole new twist to the phrase: card carrying member of Mumbai society!

DISCLAIMER: mid-day and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.

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