Husain's lucky Ganeshas

Sep 11, 2014, 06:01 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Following the outrage over the removal of the Husain-painted Lord Ganesha canvas from the Marriott Hotel's 'Manifestations XI' exhibition, we were struck by the irony of the situation

Following the outrage over the removal of the Husain-painted Lord Ganesha canvas from the Marriott Hotel's 'Manifestations XI' exhibition, we were struck by the irony of the situation.

After all, it is a well-known part of the Husain mystique that his Lord Ganesha canvasses are considered lucky for whoever owns them.

In an article written last week for the website ‘Bollywood Journalist’, Husain chronicler and friend Khalid Mohamed said, “In the course of an interview once, Husain had narrated that a business tycoon in the Capital had sold off his Ganesha canvas, and subsequently faced a drastic reversal of fortunes.

A Ganesh painting by MF Husain. Pic/
A Ganesh painting by MF Husain. Pic/

He pleaded with the artist, often described as the Picasso of India, to paint him another portrait of Lord Ganesha, and presto, the tycoon was back at the top of his trade.” We cannot comment about the luck brought by his Ganeshas, but the removal of this one has certainly brought the hotel much criticism from art lovers.

MF Husain
MF Husain

The art of feeling good
We spoke to Saffron Art’s Dinesh Vazirani about the success of the recently concluded auction he’d conducted in the Capital, where 96 per cent of the works had been sold.

“There’s definitely a feel-good factor, with the new government at the Centre and the stock market’s performance,” he said, “but it’s also because we were offering fresh-quality stock.” But, how come these factors didn’t influence the outcome of the Delhi Art Gallery auction, we enquired. “Perhaps because it was old stock,” said Vazirani.

“Also, we’d had a week of marketing before the event, with people hosting dinners for the collectors who’d flown in from around the world. On the final day, there were 300 people in the room, including collectors like Kiran Nadar and Shivender Singh, and the atmosphere was quite electric,” said the art aficionado, whose auctioneering skills are the result of training in London.

Dinesh Vazirani Kiran Nadar
Dinesh Vazirani and Kiran Nadar

“The success could have also been due to the fact that there was a liberal dose of alcohol served before the auction, which probably removed inhibitions and loosened purse strings,” said our all-knowing culture vulture gal-pal. “That always does the trick!” she said knowingly.

Groovy Ganpati
Monday evening, while we mistakenly planned a dinner in BKC, only to be stuck in traffic jams for long periods of the journey, we were happy to chance upon the legendary ‘Trance Ganesh’ procession.

We had only heard of this before, but were struck by the loud thumping bass and the sight of hipsters bopping on the street to the beat of DJ’s Ankytrixx, Wa-tec and Raoul, amongst others, as if they were at a Mumbai nightclub!

Faredoon Bhujwala
Faredoon Bhujwala

This quintessentially urban Mumbai phenomenon, which starts at the Mahalaxmi temple compound and takes place usually on the last day of visarjan, has its own Facebook page with the tag line ‘United we dance’.

As our friend, dancer, spiritualist Faredoon (Dodo) Bhujwala, a veteran of the Trance Ganesha phenomena, says, “From the sublime to the ridiculous, masses thronged to dance in unison on the streets, from Mahalaxmi to Haji Ali with our own truly cosmopolitan Trance Dance Ganesha.”

Desi Martha Stewart
She hails from a pride of glamorous and talented women, and has herself been a classical dancer and an actress in the past, but today, Monika Uberoi, elder sister of the late Protima Bedi and aunt of Pooja, is best known for her expertise as a superb housekeeper a desi Martha Stewart in fact.

What’s the best way to keep a library of precious books dust- and germ-free? How often should mattresses be aired? What are the most difficult and important areas to clean in a kitchen? These are topics that Uberoi has answers to, at the tip of her well-manicured fingertips.

It all began when Uberoi accompanied her husband to England, where she did a course on the subject of Housekeeping, which added to the knowledge she’d already obtained studying Home Sciences at Nirmala Niketan.

“On my return, I worked at hotels like the Sea Rock and Centaur,” she says, “And after many years, branched out and ran my own company, taking care of properties of top corporate houses like HDFC. In fact, even
now, I look after all of Deepak Parekh’s properties.”

Today, after many years in the business, Uberoi’s passion lies in imparting her knowledge to young people. “I want to write a book on housekeeping,” she says, “which could be given in every young girl’s trousseau, so that she is confident of facing every situation that arises.

I see too many marriages breaking up because women often don’t know how to cope with the many demands that are made on them, especially on the home front!” To which we say, such a book will be worth its weight in gold for sure how about writing it for men, too!

Fatherly love
Even tycoons are allowed to get sentimental, and now that he’s got his passport back, Lalit Modi, the feisty founder and architect of the IPL, is positively beaming.

Lalit Modi Ruchir Modi
Lalit Modi and Ruchir Modi

His post this week, on the occasion of his handsome son Ruchir’s birthday, was an explosion of emoticons. We counted 12 hearts, two pairs of lips, a lipstick, a bunny rabbit, a stiletto, a dancing girl, a ship, a plane, a few notes of music, a balloon, a gift-wrapped package and a light bulb in the unique message.

‘Wishing my most favourite son. The most wonderful birthday today. May his years ahead be filled with (take your pick of emoticon) and a bit of (more emoticons) and finally (most emoticons) Love u my Jaan.’

Fair-weather friends?
How things change. At one time, this man about town was the cynosure of every eye, known for his popularity and the crowds that would throng to his parties; but this week, when he celebrated his birthday, a measure of his isolation could be determined by the fact that most of his friends, even the so-called closest, chose to carry another birthday boy’s picture on their BBM status.

“Ever since his dream project has been stalled, he’s become very churlish and aggro,” said an insider, “and the same people who wined and dined at his expense have moved on to greener pastures!” Tch-Tch.

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