Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Guess who came to dinnermumbai Updated: Mar 13, 2018 09:51 IST
Hillary Clinton with the Kapoor sisters; she also met Sonia Gandhi.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Last week at a high-powered schmooze fest held at a five-star, the centres of attraction happened to be two female politicians connected to powerful political families who had wielded enormous influence in their own careers too. But that is where the similarities between Sonia Gandhi and Hillary Clinton end. While the former endeared herself to the audience with her gentle, reserve and graceful vulnerability, not to mention her hitherto unknown talent for quick and earthy repartee, she had chosen to dissolve from the audience view the minute she descended the stage, Clinton had gone the whole hog, pumping flesh, rubbing shoulders with the best and brightest, including two very star-struck looking sisters, Kareena and Karisma Kapoor, and posing for selfies with a never-ending procession of India’s best and brightest.
The clamour around Clinton dominated the conference mind space throughout. The key question – have you been invited to the Hillary dinner – had all in its thrall, as rumours that the conclave organisers had created a list of carefully vetted hundred people to present to the once and might-have-twice occupant of the White House. Finally, the frantic jostling for invites among the heavy weights were put to rest when it transpired that after her much-awaited address, the elegantly coiffured and fresh-faced lady had been whisked off to Antilia where she had enjoyed a small sit down dinner hosted by Nita and Mukesh Ambani for a hand full of their friends including Anuradha and Anand Mahindra.
“The lunching ladies carry gigantic handbags, and wear gigantic sunglasses under gigantic hair,” posted the no-nonsense seasoned Capital hack who gave Sushma Swaraj’s lunch on the occasion of Women’s Day a miss. “But I have no regrets for missing the beauty parade of famous, vacuous TV anchors who turn out there after entire days of preparing and plotting what they’re going to wear and how to out beauty other while fatuously blathering about foreign policy with constantly darting eyes to check out who’s wearing what and cosying up to which important person...” she said in a deliciously catty post. “I expressed my regrets since I work in Noida, have no time for manicures, for hair jobs and for fine-tuning my couture and my handbags to shine the brightest at that lunch.” And after this tantalising tirade, the veteran hack ended her post with, “I think everyone on my page – at least my closer friends – know whom I refer to.” Bringing forth a sully of likes and supports from many on her friend’s list, including another famous TV anchor whose equally succinct, “I know who you mean.” more or less revealed who the brainless, mindless TV anchor in question was!
What They Say —
“The demand by YSR Congress, asking the TDP to move a no-confidence motion against the NDA government at the Centre is unethical.”
Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh chief minister
What They Mean —
“Not only unethical but so unfair given that my shaky brinkmanship wedged as it is between the twin obstacles of the looming Rajya Sabha elections and a possible BJP-YSR alliance.”
Word comes in that Mumbai’s Hafeez Contractor, widely recognised as the man who put the dazzle in the city’s skyline, was placed in a piquant situation recently. Apolitical and work obsessed himself , the man who was once described by the NYT as a ‘Starchitect’ as is known, counts among his long list of clients some of the most famous in the land, including the likes of Osho (he designed the ashram in Pune) and even PM Modi (when he was engaged for the development of various projects in Gujarat by the then CM), was busy putting the finishing touches in the newly refurbished Congress HQ in Delhi, when coincidentally he is said to have been invited by the BJP to redesign its HQ, too, which lies not even a stone’s throw away (at least we know both bitterly opposed parties agree on one thing).
His sense of pucka Parsi propriety is said to have prompted the designer to politely decline the assignment, but imagine if he had accepted and both the headquarters of the country’s leading national parties had ended up being mirror images of each other!
But politics has very little to do with Contractor’s choice of assignments. Ask the swashbuckling architect who has been his best client till date and he will more likely than not cite minister for road transport and highways, shipping and water resources, river development & Ganga rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari, for his dynamism and quick decision-making process.
Incidentally, Contractor has long been championing a scheme that could single-handedly be the answer to Mumbai’s environmental, traffic and ecological problems if it were to fructify. But which politician will bite the bullet?