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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Angry bird

mumbai Updated: Mar 22, 2018 10:56 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Malavika’s Mumbaistan,Gautam Singhania

Bernie Ecclestone (left) and Gautam Singhania.

Gautam Singhania, the high-flying chairman and managing director of Raymond, is no stranger to controversy. Fond of luxury yachts and hot wheels, the creator of the Complete Man brand has been known to lash out on social media against those who provoke him.

Yesterday was no exception. The industrialist took to Twitter to name and shame Fly Victor, an NYC-based private plane charter service for their alleged acts of omission and commission in servicing his account. Known as the Uber for private plane bookings, the charter service had apparently given the tycoon much to complain about. “Booked a charter flight through Fly Victor,” he explained in the first of a series of tweets. “They did not fly me to where they committed — made up some excuse and took me for a ride — be careful and never deal with them!!!! Customer beware — they are crooked!!” he tweeted. What added insult to injury according to the aggrieved jet-setter was that the compensation offered to him to make up for its transgressions was a piffling amount.

“Fly victor offered me €208 as compensation for the great inconvenience they caused me,” Singhania thundered on the micro-blogging site. “Do they think we are beggars or just because we are Indian they have the right to insult — we will not accept this behaviour.” Mercifully, all his travels were not so aggravating. On the same trip, he posted this photo of himself with the charismatic Bernie Ecclestone, top dog at Formula One.

WTSWTM

What They Say —

“We do not host pasta dinners.”

— BJP spokesperson Naresh Taneja on prime time TV on Monday night

“Don’t talk about pasta dinners, what about Chinese dhokla in Doklam?”

— Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha in response to Tanjea.

What They Mean —

“Yes, viewers, you heard it right: we have actually reached the stage where we settle issues of national importance by throwing food at each other.”

TRUE LIES

Many theories have been floating around in corporate circles about a leading industrialist, who is supposed to have gone missing whilst on a business trip to Africa last month. A source informs us the gent was known to be close to a certain powerful political clan and had alleged business dealings with them that had gone sour and had left him in debt.

What is curious is that even after his family filed a police complaint about his disappearance, the media has not covered the case in weeks and hasn’t reported on any of its developments, something that is unheard of in these times of TRP and circulation wars. What is the reason for the silence and why had he disappeared so mysteriously in the first place? We hope for the sake of his family the truth surfaces.

BLAST FROM THE PAST

Subhash Chandra (left) and Vijay Mallya.

This picture, shot in 1997 at the Taj Hotel in Apollo Bunder, on the occasion of Sonia Gandhi’s first official visit to the city, organised by Congress leaders, amply demonstrates the collateral damage of life in the fast lane.

Featuring the surprisingly young and fresh-faced putative king of good times, Vijay Mallya, and an equally fresh faced and young newly minted media tycoon Subhash Chandra, it captures the innocence and hope of youth, when saggy jowls and worry lines were yet to make their appearance.

Gandhi, who had, until a few months before the occasion, refused all entreaties by Congressman to lead the party to better times, following its dwindling fortunes post the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, had finally agreed to revive the party’s fortunes and had enlisted as a primary member at the Calcutta Plenary Session that year.

To further consolidate the message that she was in the driver’s seat, a grand reception had been organised in Mumbai, which had seen its leading denizens throng to meet her at the Ball Room of the grand hotel, over canapes and tea and much networking.

We too had been present at that historic occasion, when putting aside her legendary shyness and reserve, Gandhi had met and mingled with a room full of admirers, all looking towards her for statesmanship. In this portrait, one can still discern the softness of the home-loving European housewife, whose interests had ranged from art conservation to gardening.

The inscrutability and determination were to set in a year later when she assumed the role of party leader in 1998.

First Published: Mar 22, 2018 10:55 IST