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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Storming the Bastions (Again)

The annual elections to the Royal Western India Turf Club’s (RWITC) managing committee have always attracted interest and suspense.

mumbai Updated: Aug 21, 2018 23:52 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,malavika's mumbaistan,horse-owners
Zinia Lawyer (second from left) with her friends. (HT Photo)

Storming the Bastions (Again)
It’s that time of the year, when for a certain section of Mumbaiites, all eyes are on the RWITC and its imminent elections. The city has a strong and significant racing crowd of horse-owners, punters, breeders and those who attend the races to see and be seen; and the annual elections to the Royal Western India Turf Club’s (RWITC) managing committee have always attracted interest and suspense. As is known, until recently, the exercise has been riven with politics, as alpha male upon alpha male, went mano a mano to wrest control of the Turf Club, which prevails over one of SoBo’s most valuable pieces of real estate. Being an RWITC managing committee member comes with a fair amount of pomp and prestige and it is a position that many aspire to be at; which is why, when we had run into Zinia Lawyer, whose election last year to the male-dominated RWITC committee, had been epoch-making, we were not surprised when she revealed that she would once again be contesting for a seat this year. After having served on the committee for a year, Lawyer says that one year was too short a time to make any significant difference. This year, too, she stands with the support of Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, whose earlier backing is said to have played a significant role in her win. “I also felt that for the sake of women, I must stand again, to show that women have staying power,” said the erstwhile beer baroness, one of the first Indian women to enjoy early corporate success in India and thus, something of an icon. According to racing insiders, Lawyer’s last innings had been appreciated, primarily because she chose to stay out of camps and take on legacy battles. Also, her polish and family’s deep connections with the world of racing made her something of an ideal choice. “At first, all men on the committee were a little wary of me,” she says. “However, they all have been thorough gentlemen and I have got on well with all.” But that does not mean success is assured. There’s a tough fight ahead, as there are 12 candidates for 9 seats on the board and Lawyer is standing as an independent, once again. But that does not mean Lawyer is fazed. “I love a challenge and I have always fought in a male-dominated environment,” she says, “be it beer or horse racing.” Nice!

Modern Dictionary
Sambit (noun): A short and round object, mostly seen on people’s TV’s, which makes a lot of noise when shaken, especially when put in contact with any oil and natural gas.

WTS WTM

What They Say
“Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was slapped with a sedition case on Monday, by a lawyer in Bihar, for insulting the Indian Army after he hugged Pakistan’s Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa at the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan’s prime minister.”
- News report in yesterday’s media.

What They Mean
“No good will come out of any adult male attempting to hug another, anywhere across the Indian subcontinent. Just ask Rahul!”

Boys’ Night Out

Mumbai’s lads at their annual football meet. (Photo: Instagram )

We have written about this group of ‘boys’ (we use the word loosely here), who wear their love for footie on their sleeves. Besides playing practice matches most weekends and touring on occasion, one of their rituals is to gather at the start of every football year, for some footie banter coupled with some pricey sushi. And, with the English football season kicking off earlier this week, the batch of boisterous Mumbai lads were back at it and seen to be in good form this week at Taj’s Japanese haven, Wasabi. Interestingly, each member of the group supports a different football club, which gives them a lot to talk (and quarrel) about. Spotted on the occasion were Chelsea fan, actor Abhishek Bachchan; Manchester City fan, director Nikhil Advani; Arsenal fan, photographer Atul Kasbekar; Liverpool fan, director Rohan Sippy; Tottenham fan, businessman Chirag Doshi along with Manchester United fan, lawyer Akshay Chudasama. “Annual football dinner with the lads; top banter and laughs. The restaurant seemed to empty out very quickly. Missed you Farhan Akhtar,” posted Kasbekar about the rambunctious meet. We hope they atleast agreed on which sushi to order.

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 23:50 IST