Restoration and fortitude

May 09, 2013, 07:40 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

He's known for his love of Nature and the Sea

>> He’s known for his love of Nature and the Sea. And one of the enduring images of Mumbai’s sea faring existence is that of the handsome Ratan Tata striding purposefully towards the Mandwa jetty to board a speed boat to take him back to Mumbai after a weekend spent at his beach front cottage in Alibag.

Ratan Tata

So it comes as no surprise that the reclusive former Chairman of the Tata group would choose to call his newly constructed and modest Colaba bungalow Halekai, which in Hawaiian means ‘abode by the sea’. (Could it be Raymond Bickson, a native Hawaiian and the MD and CEO of Indian Hotels who suggested the name?)

Raymond Bickson

But given the fate of other names of famous Mumbai residences, people wonder if the name is there for keeps. “After all,” as one business insider said, “the name Antillia which means ‘legendary island in the Atlantic Ocean’ didn’t last for very long, did it?”

Will Tata’s ‘Halekai’ endure? And what’s the fascination with mythical islands and seaside abodes for Mumbai’s top inhabitants?

A longing to be far far away?

Restoration and fortitude
>> “We’ll save climbing the 120 steps for your next visit,” said noted architect Gerad Da Cunha, as we scrambled up one of the turrets of the spectacular Reis Magos Fort in Goa that he had helped restore.

The Reis Magos Fort

It was around 8 pm, the sun had set, but all around us were the vestiges of the moon’s beauty: ripples of light on the Mandovi River that skirted the fort many miles below, and on the other side shimmering surf from the sea, as it licked the ancient laterite walls of the structure.

Constructed in 1551, the Fort is the latest jewel in Goa’s crown.

Work on it began in 2008 when a group of eminent and passionate Goans led by da Cunha with the funds provided by the UK-based Helen Hamlyn Trust, INTACH and the Government of Goa set about its restoration

Gerard Da Cunha

“We have opened it out to the public and are keen to host cultural and literary events here,” said Gerad.

But restoration had not been a cakewalk. “We got into trouble with the local Shiv Sena,” Gerad had said in an interview with Tehelka. “We had several cases against us. Every day we’d quietly get into the fort and lock ourselves in, work till the dead of night and then get out.”

That’s where the word ‘fortitude’ comes from we thought.

Another Radia?
>> Her rise up Delhi’s corporate /lobby ladder has been nothing short of spectacular. From being the high profile communication head of a Mumbai based conglomerate, where her proximity to a certain minister (who had a hitherto impeccable personal track record) raised a few eyebrows, to repressing one of the country’s leading realty firms to now being on the board of a Rs 10,000 crore food processing, hotel & resorts, healthcare and education giant, it’s been a heady rise.

And the pretty executive known for her eye make up and her Hermes bags has attracted notice, not just for her street smartness but the quality of her networking.

With a slew of ministers on her speed dial and a never-ending queue of companies seeking her expertise, are we seeing the making of another Nira Radia?

Watch this space.

Time Out? Nahhh!
>> No one can say we don’t have our ear to the media grapevine — that palpitating mass of wild rumour, hasty perception and unfettered innuendo.
And so when the stories of job cuts and editorial trimming at Time Out (India) grew too loud to ignore, we phoned the lovely Smiti Kanodia, Indian publisher of the international title.

Smiti Kanodia

Is it true that a close down of Time Out India is on the cards?

“I’m so glad you asked,” said the young mother, daughter of Essar’s Ravi.

“We are in a dynamic industry where nothing remains static forever. We have had a great run in the last eight years but now with the changing habits of media consumption, Time Out is also evolving to stay ahead of the curve. Clearly the digital access in the city and cultural space and changing revenue models are primary focus areas, which needs people with different skill sets. In the process those who are unable to meet the demands of this new digital era will make way for those who can,” she said.

Well, we are an exceptionally sensitive tribe, us hacks we assured her. And news gets around pretty fast in our neck of the woods.

“We will soon be coming out with more about our plans,” promised the charming young publisher.

Delhi’s latest status symbol
>> A piquant and growing trend in the circles that matter in ‘saddi Dilli’ is that of the ‘GM, Household.’

There was a time when the inhabitants of mansions that rested on acres of prime Capital property would employ a manager to run their households. You know, some who’d order the puja flowers, send the staff for courses in gourmet (vegetarian) cuisine and organise the garden furniture at dinner parties.

Today, we learn that post has been revamped to accommodate a ‘GM Household’ a stylish former five star hotel employee.

All the top industrialists homes have one we are informed. Gone is the ‘Munim ji’ who’d fill the post.

The trend was started actually almost 15 years ago when a certain CK Prakash a top executive with the then unstoppable Orkay group (until you know what happened!) had employed one.

This aside from his penchant for matching his safari suits to the colour of his cars was his enduring legacy to the city’s style quotient.

Ah, But Dilli still has nothing on Mumbai’s status junkies. Here Filipino nannies are what win the posh crowd its brownie points.

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