Queenie Singh (fourth from right) with Madhoo Shah (extreme right), Devaunshi Mehta (third from right) and others at Anabel’s.(HT Photo)
Queenie Singh (fourth from right) with Madhoo Shah (extreme right), Devaunshi Mehta (third from right) and others at Anabel’s.(HT Photo)

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: To London, To London

Hindustan Times | By Malavika Sangghvi
UPDATED ON JUL 02, 2019 01:17 AM IST

There was a time when it was said of Indians travelling to London that they were ‘going to see the Queen’. But these days, it appears more likely that they are going to see the ‘Queenie’. Indeed, ever since her marriage to London-based Rishi Sethia, Singh appears to have taken to London like a fish to water. Not a day passes without some instance of the glamorous jewellery designer rubbing shoulders with the city’s rich, famous and well-heeled, mostly at her go-to watering hole, Richard Caring’s members only nightclub, Anabel’s, which in the past has boasted of members like Richard Nixon, Aristotle Onassis and Frank Sinatra! Here, Singh, always at her drop-dead best, is seen in the company of her equally drop-dead British counterparts, including Caring’s wife Patricia Caring who is a close friend of Singh’s. But now that ‘tis the season of the cricket world cup, the past few weeks have seen a veritable truckload of her Mumbai friends descending on London, including Avanti and Yash Birla, Madhoo Shah, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rhea Pillai, Mallika Advani, Devaunshi Mehta and yes, even Sachin Tendulkar! What’s evident is that for all her schmoozing with London’s high-society, Singh appears to extend the same warmth and exuberance to her old friends from back home. Which is why, the phrase ‘going to London to see the Queenie’ is particularly apt.

Tweet Talk
That time of the year again when India becomes a gym with...
Mumbai as the swimming pool.
Chennai as the steam bath.
Delhi as the sauna.
And Bengaluru as the nice air-conditioned reception area.
-Tweeted by Ramesh Srivats

India On Their Sleeve

Rakesh and Mei Sarna
Rakesh and Mei Sarna

They may no longer live in India, but hospitality maven Rakesh Sarna and wife Mei still seem to hold India in their hearts. The former MD and CEO of Indian Hotels Company Limited – who oversaw the Taj Hotel’s empire from 2014-2017 – had left the country and moved to Miami with his family under somewhat unpleasant circumstances, a couple of years ago. But word comes in that the towering personality in the hospitality world, who had risen up the ranks to become the President of Americas at the Hyatt Hotel Group in a previous stint, has founded a philanthropic initiative known as ‘Rakesh Sarna Scholarships Program’ and the new India-focused scholarship is aimed at helping “children of non-managerial employees of hotels and offices of Hyatt and the Taj Group in India”. “The purpose of this scholarship is to encourage and support deserving candidates in obtaining a college education to help build a better future,” reads the website and a second scholarship fund has also been instituted at the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in Miami, of which Sarna’s daughter Priya is an alum. Interestingly, we are informed that the couple too have gone back to education and are taking classes in history, foreign policy and Spanish, close to their home in Miami.

Love Amidst The Squalor

Proposal amidst the squalor. (Photo: Zoru Bhathena)
Proposal amidst the squalor. (Photo: Zoru Bhathena)

He’s earned much fame and gratitude as one of the city’s most impassioned and tireless eco-warriors, and truth be told, Zoru Bhathena, the Khar-based businessman has many triumphs to his credit. It was Bhathena’s PIL that prevented the BMC from felling trees without the consent of the Tree Authority earlier this year and it is said that this year alone, the activist has saved 8,000 trees from being hacked in Mumbai. Every morning, Bhathena scours the city’s newspapers for acts of senseless environmental assault by authorities and private citizens, and his activism in the form of litigation, media advocacy and citizen engagement has made him a force to reckon with. But it is not only the city’s horrors that move him. This week, while on his usual rounds, this time to check if adequate garbage disposal vehicles were in place at Juhu beach, Bhathena chanced upon a poignant sight: a young couple in the throes of a marriage proposal, amidst a sea of garbage. “It was Juhu Beach near Koliwada on June 29 at 6.45pm,” he said. “I was clicking photos of the garbage which had accumulated when I noticed this lovely couple. Since this part of the beach was dirty, there was very little crowd,” he said of the young lovers, who had probably walked a distance, hoping to find a clean spot where the man could go down on one knee and pop the all-important question, but had perhaps, ultimately resigned to their squalid surroundings. Fortunately, even in those circumstances, Bhathena assures us that love prevailed. “After the proposal, they hugged and left,” he says, while on his way, most likely to prevent the next environmental atrocity from occurring so that someday the couple’s children do not face an even more ghastly situation when they have to pop that question.

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