Tall stories

Sep 01, 2014, 06:00 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Given the importance real estate plays in the life of Mumbai, it’s no surprise that its citizens derive the greatest pleasure in talking about it incessantly

Given the importance real estate plays in the life of Mumbai, it’s no surprise that its citizens derive the greatest pleasure in talking about it incessantly. Which are the best areas to live in, which are the best buildings, which new development offers the best amenities, how much a flat sold for in this building or that, and when property prices are going to rise or fall… It would not be wrong to say that Mumbaikers spend half their time talking or thinking about these issues. (The other half is about Ranbir and his leading ladies! JK!)

Ranbir Kapoor Rana Kapoor
Ranbir Kapoor and Rana Kapoor

But seriously, at a recent Sobo evening, a frisson of interest sparked through what would have been a tired and wine and whiskey-sodden late night crowd, when a gentleman, renowned for his knowledge of the city’s real estate world, was heard holding forth on what he considered were the most coveted apartments in the city; mind you this was an old-money crowd, so there was none of the new swanky construction in the city’s newly developed areas that he listed. “In my opinion the two most coveted apartments for their address, view and general eligibility have both been rented by top bankers,” he announced.

“The penthouse occupied by Indus Sind Bank’s MD and CEO Romesh Sobti at Sunita on Ridge Road, which has a commanding and panoramic view of Malabar Hill as well as Marine Drive, and the penthouse in which Yes Bank’s Founder, Managing Director and CEO Rana Kapoor lives. Interestingly,” added the know-all, “both apartments are rented. Sobti’s from a Parsi builder I think,” he said, “and Kapoor’s from Congressman Jyotiraditya Scindia. And they’re both paying around R15 lakh a month or so for the rent.”

And then, after mulling over this nugget of information and adding in their two bits or so, the discussion veered towards Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif and whether they’d get married or not.

Incidentally, just as Mumbai obsesses over real estate prices and Bollywood’s affairs, Delhi’s pet conversational topic can be gleaned from those famous two lines of the Wasteland: ‘In the room the women come and go/ Talking of Mrs Gandhi and co…” Er, the Wasteland of Lutyen’s Delhi we meant.

Guess who came for breakfast
Come to think of it, there’s no real reason why they oughtn’t to be friends. After all, they’re both known to be shy, introverted consummate gentlemen, interested in the arts, and yet, on Saturday morning, when a source called to inform us that even as we spoke, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was at former chairman of Tata Group and Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata’s Colaba residence, there was incredulity in his voice.

Ratan Tata
Ratan Tata

“He dropped in incognito with only one escort car and hardly any fanfare,” said the source. Perhaps the fact that Tata has been known for his high-minded preference for staying away from politics especially politics of the Shiv Sena kind — had made the visit seem newsworthy to our source.

Uddhav Thackeray
Uddhav Thackeray

However, as we said, there’s no earthly reason why Thackeray and Tata shouldn’t meet, over a friendly cup of tea; after all, there’s so much to discuss these days: the weather, the price of onions, the recently concluded National elections, Mamata Banerjee, the forthcoming State elections. Er, a cup of Tata tea any one?

Of ghazals and guzzlers
Friends who attended a Standard Chartered cultural event for its high rollers at the bank’s Fort headquarters last week have been talking about how rather than the performances on stage, they were entertained by the bon vivant of the Indian bourses, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, once described as the ‘pin-up boy of the current bull run’ by a magazine.

Boman Irani Rakesh Jhunjhunwala
Boman Irani and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

“The evening was supposed to feature noted poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar but when he had to cancel last minute due to a health issue, the organisers managed to get the equally renowned actor Boman Irani.

But,” and here she paused, choosing her words carefully, “it was Jhunjhunwala who stole the evening with his loud guffaws, pithy comments and all round flamboyance.” And then she added sweetly, “It was so educative. I’d never realised the connection between Ghazals and guzzlers before!”


Nocturnal Vogue
“For one night only, we partner with the Palladium and all its stores to bring you a shopping extravaganza,” said Vogue India Editor, Priya Tanna, about her magazine’s ‘Fashion Night Out’ later this week, at what appears to be the de facto fashion venue of the season. “It will be a fun evening,” she said.

Kalki Koechlin Masaba Gupta
Kalki Koechlin and Masaba Gupta

“Whether you buy a designer bag or a limited edition Masaba for vogue tote there are deals steals and more. Kalki Koechlin is performing a monologue for women at the Canvas Club at 7 pm and Vogue has curated a cool pop-up called ‘Vogue Loves’ where you can get your hands on designer wear at super affordable prices! And all proceeds from sales goes to charity. So shop to feel good,” she said.

We will, Priya, we will!

City with a heart of gold
“A very different story...but needs to be told,” said our friend, theatre veteran Dolly Thakore, who has been part of the many Richard Attenborough tributes recently, following the noted director’s passing.

Dolly Thakore
Dolly Thakore

“My 40-year-old help, Raju, who has been with me for 20 years was diagnosed with only 9% kidney function. After immediate dialysis and his mother racing in from remote Bihar village to donate her kidney, he was operated at Jaslok on July 9. Now everyone knows the cost for this sort of operation are prohibitive.

What needs to be shared is that yesterday 39 drivers, watchmen, and servants of my building suddenly rang the bell and gave me a contribution of R20,750 for him,” she says adding, “I have been so overwhelmed by their caring attitude! I can’t stop thinking how selfish and small-minded we privileged are in comparison. We lack their greatness!”

We agree.

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