The Prodigal Son

Aug 08, 2013, 07:42 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

We absolutely love prodigal sons returning home but can there be anything to match the homecoming and now installation of Raghuram Rajan as governor of the RBI

>> We absolutely love prodigal sons returning home but can there be anything to match the homecoming and now installation of Raghuram Rajan as governor of the RBI. Ex-IIM, IIT, MIT, IMF (its youngest ever chief economist), and now breaching the institutional conservatism of the central bank, phew. And movie star looks too. But here’s the clincher.

Raghuram Rajan

He speaks his mind: his intellectual bravery initially won him brickbats in the US but that quickly turned to global applause when his words proved so prescient. In my language, dear reader, it goes something like this: “Capitalism is not working and at its rotten core are horrid, greedy banks, the cause of all our ills” -- there, I have said it and it feels good. Ragu, as he is known everywhere, said it more smartly, but now, installed on Mint Street, in Mumbai, he will obviously need to curb his candidness, a shame because communication is another of his strengths. Still, he has many friends in Mumbai, with whom, no doubt, he will be himself, and we look forward to giving him a warm welcome as he sets up home and settles the poor rupee.

Pleasing the lady
>> News comes in of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s first visit to Mumbai last week. Attended by the city’s financial aristocracy including RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani, Godrej Group head Adi Godrej, Kotak group head Uday Kotak, and ICICI’s Chanda Kochhar amongst others, word has it that the captains of industry were more than a little soft on the pugnacious CM with every one -- to a man and woman -- couching their questions in the most flattering terms as in “O great and wondrous CM what great and wondrous industries can we set up in Bengal?”

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee with captains of industry Mukesh Ambani (third from right), Chanda Kochhar (extreme left) 

An exception to this, we are told was the statesmanlike and endearingly astringent Adi Godrej, always one to play things with a straight bat and brook no nonsense. Whereas his question alluding to land acquisition was polite enough and adhered to all protocol, it eschewed the flowery praise that others had employed and therefore stood out for its individualism. When asked later why there had been so much brown-nosing at the event, one captain of industry is said to have replied. “Look at the hint of the slightest criticism the Lady has been known to accuse her critics of being Maoists. And which industry leader wants to be called a Maoist?” he shrugged.

Which indeed!

Soaring Diva, crouching duo
>> Oh dear. We’ve heard this dialogue before. It goes something like this. At a city fashion soiree soaring Diva meets up and coming designer duo. Soaring Diva puffs herself up to the size, her delusions dictate and she whispers huskily. “I’d love to wear one of your designs.” Designer duo smile shyly and assume they will be getting an order soon. Time passes.

At next fashion soiree, soaring Diva runs into said designer duo again, this time she is as grandly patronising but her smile is a bit strained at the edges.

Introducing the couple to one of her friends she says, “And this is the duo that have yet to send me an outfit.” This time designer duo are genuinely puzzled.

Were they supposed to? Should they? And if they don’t will soaring Diva get nasty and bad mouth them at her next kitty party? Of such fatuous frippery is a certain slice of Mumbai composed.

Of authors and chief guests
>> We love nothing more than a good anecdote. And on Tuesday evening at the launch of Bhaichand Patel’s Mothers, Lovers and other Strangers this one narrated by Chetan Bhagat made us chuckle.

Chetan Bhagat 

Called to preside as chief guest, the bestselling author narrated how when he himself was a struggling investment banker (yes there are some of those) with dreams of becoming a successful author, his publishers had only managed to come up with Bhaichand’s name as chief guest at his first book launch. Now modesty is not a term easily associated with Bhagat and irony and self-doubt less so.

Bhaichand Patel

So when he described how down and out he had been and how grateful he was that Bhaichand had agreed to release his book the subtext was ‘and now look at how the tables have turned and how successful I am.’ Nevertheless, it was an insightful revelation into the world of publishing and book launches. And when Bhagat released Patel’s tome (said to be a damn good read) he did so with all the flourish of someone who knows what it’s like to be on the other side. Now all we need is for Patel’s book to be made in to a mega successful film and then he can release Bhagat’s next!

Hunk attack!
>> Along with other trivia, we are fascinated with unlikely brothers-in-law. Did you know for instance that IPL creator, the feisty Lalit Modi is brother-in-law to Bijoy Jain, the celebrated architect (they are married to sisters) or that Suman Dubey, senior journalist and one of Sonia Gandhi’s closest friends is similarly related to fierce Congress critic Arun Shourie?

DJ Aqeel, Ajay Arora and Hrithik Roshan

And now in the vein of unlikely bros-in-laws here’s not two but three: DJ Aqeel, businessman Ajay Arora and superstar Hrithik Roshan who are related by marriage to the three beautiful Khan sisters Farah, Simonne and Suzanne, daughters of Zarine and Sanjay. Each a handsome man in his own right too!  

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