Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Being Mickeymized
“Okay, so let’s speak about three corporate honchos who are superlative marathon runners,” said Mickey Mehta, who was snapped on the flag-off dais with Union minister of sports, Kiren Rijiju, and Adille Sumariwalla, president of the Athletics Federation of India, at the recently held Mumbai Marathon 2020.
“Anil Ambani comes first and fortunately I’ve been a part of his journey of excellence in fitness sometime back. The second is N Chandrasekaran, executive chairman of the Tata Group. And the third is Sanjeev Mantri, of ICICI, who has just completed the marathon in Tokyo. I admire them and I get inspired by them,” he said
Mehta has been a pioneer in the wellness industry, starting out as a teach-swimming-under-one-hour instructor and going on to becoming the fitness trainer to classrooms of potential international beauty pageant winners (we recall attending some of his gruelling boot camps where truckloads of swan-necked young women would be cajoled by Mehta to run up and down a narrow service staircase of a suburban four-star, often carrying weights on their backs!!), and then becoming a brand, a decorated wellness guru of a corporation with slew of gyms across the city, and finally turning into one of the most celebrated personal trainers in the country; he is as much of a celebrity in his own right as the Bollywood stars, scions of corporate empires and top politicians seeking his training and advice. Besides all this, Mehta also manages to do radio and TV talk shows, counsel clients and friends and send off early morning motivational WhatsApps featuring his characteristic sign-off : “Let your desires get neutralized, to get maximized, get Mickeymized” went a recent one followed by “Share this to start a wellness revolution for human evolution”. Recently, Mehta says he has also gotten deeply involved with the Fit India movement. “Can you smell coffee? Fit India movement is going to flare up soon!” he WhatsApp-ed enigmatically this week. What’s up, we wondered, but when it was followed by “Fit India movement Optimized, India Maximized, Life Mickeymized!” we knew what to expect.
Now I know what the XL seat in Indigo stands for
— Tweeted by comedian Atul Khatri
“Darling it’s a riot of colours and people and artists and gallerists and curators and collectors!! Multiple luncheons, art openings, lectures, events and screening across Delhi,” said a celebrated Delhi grandee about the current Art Fair that according to him had the Capital all wrapped up in its expensive jamewar thrall. “There were collectors and gallerists swarming the gardens like well-dressed locusts at a recent soiree at a spectacular Golf Links mansion, where on dappled lawns, guests mooned over Hussain, Dodiya and Gupta. Now, a slew of parties will follow, hosted by some fiercely ambitious and peerlessly competitive cultural grande dames, who will unleash ‘art’ on the city. Then, a dashing man about town will host a sparkling reception for a leading American gallery at his delectable artistically-done bachelor residence and…” the grandee could not keep up with himself over the excitement. But not all in Delhi, even within the Lutyen’s luvvies circle, are thrilled. Asked if she would be attending the upcoming swirly soirees, where in the room the women will come and go, one crusty old art historian and academic whose credentials date back to the Mughal period, as does her hairstyle, is reported to have said about her non-attendance of the Fair. “Huh?! Wade into that circus of fashionably dressed women with delusions of artistry who‘ve been recently introduced to culture?! I’d rather slit my wrists darling.”
As has been earlier stated, the corrosive effects of fashion cannot be underestimated. Mix fashion and Bollywood, you get Follywood; as for Fashion and Art, more often than not what else, does it spell but FaArt.
Big hearted Bandra girls
Is there any more evidence required that Bandra girls are the best girls?
“This is a pic of some of my friends from the Miss Universe pageant. L to R, Miss Nicaragua Ivania, me, Miss Holland Nanny, Miss Ireland Elaine. They flew down for my daughters’ wedding and then for my 60th birthday bash .We are a total of 16 girls who reunited after so many decades. In fact, it’s history that ‘76 are the only girls still in touch with each other all over the world!” It was our childhood friend, the former beauty queen Naina Balsaver (Femina Miss India Universe 1976; Femina Miss India World 1976), with who we’d shared a classroom at the Bandra convent school we’d both attended, who had been recently added to the class of ‘73 (yes, 73) WhatsApp chat group and thus reunited with school mates she hadn’t met in 50 years and her posts were coming in fast and friendly.
“Beautiful Naina. You look the most ravishing.”
“Ha ha, no no that Nicaragua quite the hottie and Elaine too!”
“No, no our Indian beauty Naina beats them all. Just gorgeous”
The responses from girls, whom marriage, life, jobs, etc, had scattered across the continents, came in equally fast. Girls who’d become women, and then mothers and now grandmothers, who never forget — whatever else might happen to them that day — to say a kind word, encourage or wish a friend, share in each other’s joy or sadness.
“Gorgeous Naina!! I lost connect with most of the girls from my pageant, just am connected to only 2”: This was Indira Bredemeyer (now D’mello) (Navy Queen 1974, Eve’s Weekly Miss India 1975, Miss International 2nd runner-up Tokyo 1975) who had been another class beauty queen (yes, we were a school full of beauties) and our much- loved monitor and — not surprisingly — also a Bandra girl .
“We have a constant group chat. And they have met and made so many friends with family and friends. It’s super,” responded Balsaver.
“That’s wonderful. God bless” from Indira, and then a few hours later, exuberant: “Hey Naina Nanny was there for my pageant too!! Great as I have connected with her now!!!!”
All day and all night such pings go back and forth, and though sometimes they are a distraction, they bring much joy, humour and the reassurance that in these bleak times, kindness, empathy and compassion can last five decades, beyond life situations, job descriptions and life’s other ups and downs; …makes you wonder why the rest of the world cannot be more like your school friends’ WhatsApp chatline, no?