The floating celeb set

Published on Jan 28, 2006 03:14 AM IST

If you thought nomads existed only during the early days of civilisation you probably haven?t heard of the Singhs and the Kapurs.

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None | ByJaydeep Ghosh and Piyush Roy

If you thought nomads existed only during the early days of civilisation you probably haven’t heard of the Singhs and the Kapurs. These modern day nomads or ‘urban nomads’, as more aptly termed, have chosen to shuttle between cities as their professions do not allow them to be stationed at one place.

But unlike their predecessors, these urban nomads do not rough it out. Instead they lead comfortable lives, thanks to Wi-Fi gadgets that keep them rooted and service apartments that provide all the luxuries.

Restaurateur AD Singh, who fits the bill to the T, started Olive in Mumbai and then brought it to Delhi. After satiating Delhiites with the Med experience, Singh opened another branch in Bangalore. He spends his time between these three cities while focusing more on the new venture. Singh says: “I like this lifestyle. Two or three weeks in a city and then I move on to another one. Monotony never sets into my life, besides I like meeting new people. But once we have children then obviously I cannot be so nomadic.”

Ask writer Siddharth Sanghvi on how it feels to not belong to any one particular place and he says: “Dual city living broadens my lens considerably. My emotional ties are in Bombay but I source out my intellectual engagement from California, where emerging ideas on sexuality continue to spine my work. Moreover, as an artist, detachment is key: I write more cohesively when I’m at an arm’s length from my subject. When I look at Bombay from Berkeley, the view is sharper, without romance, layered with nostalgia but amended by experience.” 

For some it’s also the creative itch that makes them go places. For instance Mumbai-based artist Riyaz Komu, who hails from Kerala, often spends quite a few long “month-plus” breaks in his home-town Thrissur, “for a purely technical reason, especially when I am working on sculptures and various forms of carving. The artisans out there understand the craft better and we have a healthy exchange of ideas.”

Designer Malini Ramani is another person who is enjoying her nomadic lifestyle. She constantly travels between Delhi, where her design workshop is located, Goa,where she owns a store and a lounge bar, and to exotic Bali, where she has a boutique. “I guess I enjoy the best of everything and I think that way I am lucky. I have houses at all these places, so I am not necessarily living out of the suitcase.”

Ramani is single and probably that’s why she can hop between places with ease. What’s more, Ramani is not stopping at Bali. She is going to Phuket to set up a store and then plans to start one in Monte Carlo.

Uber model Shivani Kapur is an urban nomad who is hopping not just between cities, but countries.

Kapur has her base in London but shuttles between Mumbai and Delhi. “At my age, it is all very exciting but, yes, it is exhausting. In Delhi, I have an aunt so I still get a hint of home life in the Capital. But in Mumbai, I stay on my own,” says the feisty girl. “Being on the move is great fun but then I miss my boyfriend who is in London and I also miss my family. One gets a little homesick, I guess.” So, does Shivani foresee living a nomadic life for long? “Not really. Modelling as a career has a short span. So, once campaigns stop, obviously I’ll get grounded in London. I also want to settle down and be a good wifey.”

Things are not so hunky-dory for TV producer Sanjay Virmani, who shuttles between Mumbai and Delhi. “I have kids and family at Delhi, so the pull factor is always there when I am in Mumbai. But it’s in Mumbai where most of my work happens,” says Virmani. “My wife Rashmi, who is a fashion choreographer, has her work in Delhi so it’s not possible for us to shift to Mumbai. But then, my family understands and I too don’t get bogged down by the monotony of a city.”

And the mobile is a must for these nomads because it will help them stay connected irrespective of where they are.

One thing is for sure — these urban nomads lead an exciting life. But once age catches up and family responsibilities enhance, their nomadic ways may not be all that fun. Till then, they are having one helluva life.

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