Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Mum’s The Word

Hindustan Times | ByMalavika Sangghvi
May 26, 2019 11:52 PM IST

She’s known as a feisty singleton, one who’s had the courage to run against popular opinions, take on powerful individuals and generally been outspoken. But beneath all of it, musician-actress Suchitra Krishnamoorthi is also a mushy, sentimental mother, like so many others who are moved when they witness rites of passage of their progeny. This weekend, when she and former husband, noted director Shekhar Kapur, attended their daughter Kaveri’s graduation, Krishnamoorthi was overwhelmed. “What an emotional day. Had tears in my eyes from the minute the ceremony started and Kaveri walked in, dressed in the ceremonial graduation costume cap and tassels,” she shared, when we spoke a few hours after the ceremony. “My eyes kept welling with tears throughout the ceremony. There were other parents with tears in their eyes as well,” said the proud mum, adding, “Seems like just yesterday when I dropped her off to her first day of school, 14 years ago, an anxious mother like most, wondering how her child will manage alone. Now, she’s off to the Berklee College of Music in September and a new chapter begins for all of us. But despite having an active creative life, Krishnamoorthi knows she won’t be immune to the ‘empty nest’ syndrome. “I feel lost at how I will manage alone without her. My life has revolved around her, but at the same time, I’m so proud and happy for my daughter,” she wondered.

(From left) Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, Kaveri and Shekhar Kapur.
(From left) Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, Kaveri and Shekhar Kapur.

Big Breakthroughs And Gentle Nudges

Ashok Row Kavi (centre) with members of the HumSafar Trust.
Ashok Row Kavi (centre) with members of the HumSafar Trust.

Some of the biggest breakthroughs begin with the gentlest of nudges. On Saturday, when senior journalist and one of the pioneers of India’s LGTBQ movement Ashok Row Kavi of the Humsafar Trust commented on one of the youngest, newly-minted BJP MPs, lawyer Tejasvi Surya’s progressive tweet on gay rights from eight months ago, all he’d said was, “We need to contact him and push this forward”. In one of his tweets, Surya, who’d beaten the Congress’s BK Hariprasad to win the Bengaluru South Lok Sabha seat in the recent elections, had offered a well-argued view on the issue of gay rights, as he had been doing on many other human and civil rights issues until then. But, as everyone knows, having Article 377 struck down had been the result of a slow and long process by a dedicated group of men and women begun decades ago. This new opportunity – to bring in the young, progressive voices in India’s new parliament, to champion a stop to violence and blackmail, workplace harassment against LGBTQ individuals and have the Transgender Bill passed – was one the community could not afford to miss. Kavi’s gentle nudge about somehow reaching out to Surya to plead for further rights resulted in a clamour of helpful suggestions on social media from people who had access to the MP. Meanwhile, noted Bollywood personalities Onir and Apurva Asrani issued statements commending the bright and progressive MP for his tweet from last year. “The National LGBTQ Task Force, on which I was nominated is trying to get to the BJP Youth MPs group in Parliament,” said Row Kavi, when we spoke on Sunday afternoon. “We had connected to Tarun Vijay in the BJP central office in Delhi who could only accommodate Transgender issues in their manifesto. Now we want to have the same process to include Gay issues. That is why we have contacted Surya.” As we were saying, some of the biggest breakthroughs begin with the gentlest of nudges.

“Control yourself bhaiya!”
- Karan Johar’s response to internationally-celebrated Nepali designer Prabal Gurung’s birthday greetings on Instagram

The Inside Outside City

Vinod Advani (extreme right) with diplomats.
Vinod Advani (extreme right) with diplomats.

That’s as good an example of Mumbai’s famous characteristic: bright and sunny on the outside and compassionate and sensitive on the inside. Man about town, Vinod Advani, on the face of it is a social animal, a familiar face on the diplomatic and music circuit, someone who is as urbane and witty as they come. Each week, the creative entrepreneur, who along the way has done stints in advertising and radio jockeying and hosting of consulate celebrations, can be spotted in the company of sundry diplomats and the city’s smart set. Like this week, when Advani officiated as Master of Ceremonies at the glamorous 209th anniversary celebrations of Argentina, which paid homage to its famed dance form the Tango. “Malbec wine flowed, the food was delish and the Tango dances all came together in a magical, unforgettable blend,” said Advani later, of the evening. But over the weekend, Advani was back to his other self, that evoked the city’s empathetic side; begging off from another event on Sunday, that he’d been looking forward to he chose to spend the evening chanting with a friend who is gravely ill and as often happens, even in big, shiny cities, which seem to party all the time, in need of nurturing.

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