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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Mumbai boy in US Hall of Fame

mumbai Updated: Jun 25, 2018 14:27 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Malavika’s Mumbaistan,Anil Nayar

Anil Nayar with squash pro Richard Millman.

“An Arjuna Award, awarded by India in 1971, and now in the Hall of Fame in the US. I feel so honoured to belong to both these countries… politics aside!” said erstwhile SoBo boy and squash champion Anil Nayar, who had the honour of being inducted in the USA’s Squash Hall of Fame earlier this week. Nayar, who grew up at his family home on Marine Drive and now divides his time between Miami and NYC, is no stranger to awards and accolades. As the squash captain at Harvard University, to which he’s won a scholarship, he was widely believed to be ‘the best individual performer in any sport Harvard has ever had’, prompting his college coach to describe him as ‘one of the half-dozen best collegiate squash players of all time’.

His career highs have included the national Indian junior title and national men’s title in the same year, and winning the US Collegiate title, the US Open, the Canadian and Mexican Open titles and National Men’s title, the latter eight times each. “The US Squash Board of Directors informed me of my selection as an inductee into the US Squash Hall of Fame in a letter on June 12. As the newest inductee, I will be honoured at a special Hall of Fame luncheon on Saturday, October 13, (which happens to be my birthday!),” he texted from America. Incidentally Nayar, also known by his nickname ‘Lucky’, hails from a well-heeled and good-looking North Indian family, and his nephews include Arun Nayar (who’d been briefly married to Elizabeth Hurley) and Nicki Nayar. The squash courts at the CCI, where he had begun his training, were named after him in 2001.

SEPARATED AT BIRTH?

The Duchess of Cornwall with Ellie, a statuette from the Elephant Family, a cause close to her heart.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, the second wife of Charles, the Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the British throne, sister of the late Mark Shand the British conservationist and chairman of the Elephant Family, a wildlife foundation, which he co-founded in 2002. Along with the Prince of Wales, she is a joint patron of the Elephant Family and has delivered numerous speeches and presided over launches and endorsements over the years. Ellie, a member of the herd of 1,001 adorned elephant statuettes from India, part of the Elephant Family’s recent initiative to highlight and garner support for the urgent need to save the species from extinction, seen at the official launch of the Elephant Family’s ‘Concours d’elephant’ in London this week, before appearances at Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square and Brown Hart Gardens.

TRUE LIES

This relatively young and rather colourful politician, with a flourishing career in the arts, is said to fancy himself as a ‘ladies’ man’ in his personal life. One of the more visible of the current pack of ministers, he is seen regularly on prime time TV debates, often breaking into song, preferring to sing out his views on occasion. Apparently, his travelling presence is just as entertaining. Recently, a fellow passenger on one of the much-married minister’s flights swears his ears turned red when he overheard the leader whispering sweet nothings into his cell before take-off. “Did you like the pieces of lingerie (he used a more colloquial term) I got you? Have you tried them on?” he teased the person on the other end of the line. “I thought, of course, why not, he’s an adult after all, and he must be flirting with his wife. Sweet,” said the fellow passenger. But, the next sentence confirmed otherwise: “And look here, please don’t tell my wife about this…” said the middle- aged roué. “Of course, when we alighted, he was received by the usual crowds and reception committees in great style,” said his shell-shocked fellow traveller.

DE FACTO ENGLISHMAN

Abhishek Manu Singhvi in London.

You got to hand it to high-flying legal eagle and Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi for having a laugh at himself. The man, who wrestled victory from what appeared to be the jaws of defeat for his party by a midnight stroke of judicial swashbuckling in the aftermath of the Karnataka Assembly elections, posted this picture of himself in London on what appears to be a well-deserved vacation. “London Park, Indian western gentleman; only British accent missing; can claim de facto having studied 7 years at Trinity College Cambridge!” was the accompanying text (Nirad Chaudhri would have certainly approved). One of the highest paid lawyers in the country, Singhvi’s sparkling list of academic accomplishments do not end there. He has a BA (Hons), MA, PhD, from St Stephen’s College, Cambridge, and Harvard University, respectively, and as the son of a jurist, parliamentarian and diplomat LM Singhvi (the second-longest-serving High Commissioner for India in the United Kingdom), of course his claims of being an ‘Indian western gentleman’ are sterling. How about bringing some of this spiff and polish to his ubiquitous presence on prime-time shows, we say!

First Published: Jun 25, 2018 14:26 IST