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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Celebrating Dr Manmohan Singh

Dr Singh was very sympathetic and set up the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, says Milind Deora.

mumbai Updated: Sep 27, 2018 12:34 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Milind Deora (left) with former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
Milind Deora (left) with former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.(HT Photo)

There was much nostalgia and adulation expressed on the occasion of former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s birthday yesterday; that and a few private ruminations about how politics is really no place for a good man, heralded the janam din of India’s 13th prime minister, one of the few PMs to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term. “This was taken when I met him as an MP in 2004 to demand for central funds for Mumbai,” said Congressman and erstwhile MP for south Mumbai, Milind Deora, about a photograph he’d posted of the two. “He was very sympathetic and set up the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission for the same.”

“I have known him since I was very young as he was very close to my father. He always took time to mentor me and guide me,” said Deora, when we spoke later. “He taught me never to compromise on my beliefs and value system. He did that overtly as well as through his own actions.”

Any insights about Dr Singh’s working style?

“He also told me that it’s important to prepare before every Parliament session and to make an impact in the house,” said Deora. “I remember, after my speech on RTI, he personally came up to me and congratulated me. That was a highlight in my political career.”

Happy birthday Dr Singh, you taught us many lessons, not least among them that sadly, the exigencies of politics diminish all men, even the best of them.

Kitchen Confidential

Hemant Oberoi
Hemant Oberoi

Chef Hemant Oberoi has been a fixture in south Mumbai’s social circuit for as long as we can remember; having been the mainstay caterer for some of the city’s most high-profile events and weddings for decades and helming his own eponymous eatery at BKC after his retirement from the Taj group. Now, word comes in that Hemant is not done. The chef will soon open his next venture in New Delhi and what is more, celluloid fame awaits. Oberoi will be portrayed by actor Anupam Kher in an upcoming film that will tell the story of the 26/11 terror attacks that shook the city. “The film will be from the vantage point of the staff that was present on the night. Amongst them, there were many heroes who had put their own lives in danger to protect and shield guests,” informs a source.

A Good Sport

Parth Jindal (left) receives the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar from President Ram Nath Kovind.
Parth Jindal (left) receives the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar from President Ram Nath Kovind.

Jindal scion and avid sports enthusiast Parth Jindal was awarded the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar from the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, at the national sports and adventures ceremony to honour Indians who have contributed to the development of sports in the country, this week. Jindal, who looks over his company’s sporting initiatives and holds a key post in the management of the group-owned football team, took to social media to share the news. “Super-excited and honoured to be awarded the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar from the honourable President of India. Taking blessings of my Babaji and Dadi on this big day for us,” he said. Others who were bestowed similar awards for sports development included cricketer Virat Kohli and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.

The Gupta Conundrum

Rajat Gupta
Rajat Gupta ( AFP/File Photo )

It’s long been talked up as one of the biggest books to emerge from the world of publishing. And now, word comes in that erstwhile McKinsey & Co head Rajat Gupta’s much awaited account of his spectacular rise and fall is inching closer to publication. This week, publisher of Juggernaut books Chiki Sarkar, which landed the contract, revealed that the final manuscript had reached her desk and that it was “riveting and moving…an outstanding memoir.” Gupta’s life is fascinating. Once declared the poster boy of NRI success stories, the IIT alumnus from Delhi had ended up as head of, what had once been, the world’s most prestigious consulting firm, until he’d been pronounced guilty of insider trading and had served time in a US prison. We recall seeing Gupta at the height of his power at a high-profile Mumbai social event, being lionised by the city’s best and brightest. What had driven him to leak classified information to hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, and jeopardise such a glittering career? Would Sarkar, his publisher, share any details from his account that could throw light on this conundrum? “Afraid not. We publish end of the year and I would love to send you a copy,” was all she would say on the subject, when we contacted her. Ah well, we will have to wait a few months more to solve the mystery.