Never give in

May 23, 2013, 07:31 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

When word came in of the hoisting of the Tricolour and their school flag on the highest peak of the Everest by a seven-member team of students of The Lawrence School, Sanawar, there were whoops of joy amongst many Mumbai households that had little to do with mountaineering

>> When word came in of the hoisting of the Tricolour and their school flag on the highest peak of the Everest by a seven-member team of students of The Lawrence School, Sanawar, there were whoops of joy amongst many Mumbai households that had little to do with mountaineering.

Sanjay Dutt

And that’s because many of the school’s alumni are residents of the city. (Of course, the school’s most famous ex-boy is incarcerated star Sanjay Dutt and we have no knowledge of how he responded.) Actor Aditya Kapoor, son of the late Shammi Kapoor, also an alumnus, who we spoke to was understandably chuffed by the achievement of his schoolmates. Who are all the other Sanawarians in Mumbai we asked him. “Bunty Walia, Apoorva Lakhia, Sanjay Dutt ,” he replied.

Bunty Walia

Er, besides the ones in Bollywood we persisted. Kapoor was stumped. “I’ll get back to you on that one,” he said, before acknowledging that his school was popular amongst Bollywood folk.

Apoorva Lakhia

Incidentally, while congratulating his young students on their success, the school headmaster Praveen Vashisht recalled the school’s legendary credo ‘Never give in’. “They have indomitably upheld their school credo in letter and spirit,” he said. ‘Never give in’ words Sanjay Dutt would do well to remember these days.

Rare spotting
>> It is not often that the reclusive Rahejas, promoters of one of India’s most successful business houses the K Raheja group, are seen at public events.

Bavita Dhillon Mulchandani with Jaya Raheja at the opening of a store

Which is why when bahu, Jaya and husband Neil (group president of K Raheja Corporation) were present at a recent store opening in Mumbai the shutterbugs got clicking. The event hosted by the couple’s cousin, Bavita Dhillon Mulchandani, from Malaysia and was to mark the entry of the label Lulu Australia into the country. Known for its weekend handbags, beach bags and accessories, the Linking Road store is the label’s first foray into India.

Incidentally, Bavita hails from the billionaire Dhillon clan amongst whose considerable holdings in Malaysia’s oldest and most renowned departmental stores The Bombay Connection. The Rahejas are her first cousins and hence, the show of support. “Rhea Raheja, Jaya and Neil’s young daughter, sportingly wore a pink wig (keeping in sync with the Lulu Australia brand philosophy) also manned the counter for her doting aunt, Bavita,” says our source. “It’s a family that supports each other through everything.” Nice!

No gentleman, no club
>> Time was when belonging to a city club carried with it a code of ethics. You were not expected to cheat, double cross or harm the interests of another member for instance and expected to conduct yourself towards the highest values. This is why balloting committees were set up in which existing members were given a chance to suss out new applicants. We still recall going for one such meeting at the Tollygunge Club during our Kolkata stint. Over high tea and small talk, a clutch of ferociously pucca members attempted to gauge if we were kosher enough. But these days, with the space crunch and urban pressure, the urgency to get membership has broken all bounds. Which is why we are not surprised by the going ons at Mumbai’s prestigious CCI. If sources are to be believed, 11 fraudulent members have been suspended after it was found that cash to the tune of approximately Rs 22 lakh each had changed hands to get them onto the club rolls. What are clubs coming to these days? At one time eating with the wrong fork and knife or wearing the wrong footwear were what got you suspended!

Some dignity please
>> And this is for all of us voyeuristically getting off on the spurious details of the spot-fixing scandal. Please.

S Sreesanth

Does it really matter how much Sreesanth spent at a Diesel store. Or that he bought a cell phone for R40K? And is it even germane to the case that there was a female companion with him on the night of his arrest? After all, that’s not illegal, is it?

A candle for Shivananda Khan, OBE
>> We did not know him, in fact, until he died we had not even been aware of his presence nor of the great work he was doing but nevertheless we are saddened by the death of gay activist and human rights champion Shivananda Duncan George Khan, OBE on Monday. And that is because reading the heartfelt statements of those whose lives he touched we feel he must have been helluva guy! As one obit said, “Committed, passionate, inspiring, nurturing, visionary.

Shivananda Duncan George Khan, OBE

Shivananda Khan was all of these, as he forged a pioneering path across the decades in helping achieve rights and equality for LGBT individuals and communities in diverse geographies and socio-cultural environments from Europe to Asia and the Pacific. His death on May 20, 2013, in Lucknow, India, has robbed his organisation Naz Foundation International (NFI) of its charismatic leader, and has deeply shaken the many other organisations he helped nurture over the years, including the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM).”

Born as Duncan George Khan to an Indian family encompassing diverse religious and ethnic identities the charismatic (and enigmatically named) Shivananda Khan established himself as a trailblazing LGBT rights advocate in London, England, in the early 1990s, where he focused on communities and individuals within the South Asian diaspora who were vulnerable to HIV. An early believer in cultural and geo-political nuances in gay lifestyles, Shiv was one of the first few to recognise India’s particularly vulnerability to the AIDS scourge. “As we started counting in numbers we realised that male-to-male sex is very common in our country for a whole host of reasons compared to western countries, which meant that the risk of HIV transmission was higher in our country,” he said, “ Unless we change the construction of the way we see gender, sexualities and masculinities and femininities, we are never going to deal with the issues of HIV.” A great loss for the LGBT movement and the world in general.  

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