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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Winning delivery

mumbai Updated: Jul 31, 2018 16:54 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with Perizaad Zorabian (left) and Namrata Barua Shroff (right).
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with Perizaad Zorabian (left) and Namrata Barua Shroff (right).

By all accounts, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra scored a big one for Team Gandhi recently. The scion of India’s most powerful dynasty recently completed the Mumbai leg of a multi-city lecture tour for the Entrepreneur’s Organization, an offshoot of the Young Presidents’ Organization, where she is said to have won over audiences with her candour. Sources who attended the event at a mid-city five-star over the weekend say it was a tightly controlled affair. “No questions were allowed from the audience, Priyanka brought along her own moderator.”

Nevertheless, Rajiv and Sonia’s daughter came across as endearing to the hall, packed with scions of top business clans of India, especially when she is said to have spoken about the emotional trauma her family had endured following the assassination of her grandmother, PM Indira Gandhi. “She narrated how Rahul and she had to be pulled out of school immediately after that because of heightened security concerns, and how, because of that, she lost touch with many of her friends. So by the time she joined college, she said she had forgotten how to make friends or even be sociable,” says the source.

No less challenging was the fact that Sonia had developed an acute fear Rajiv would face the same fate as his mother, and die in an assassination attempt. Both siblings had to contend with their mother’s intense insecurity too. “There was many a wet eye in the room, as she shared these details, followed by much admiration when she spoke about how she had come to forgive her father’s assassin. But, one section of her speech is said to have elicited a few eyeball rolls and cynical smiles from the well-heeled crowd, we are informed. “That happened when she said, that along with the rest of her family, she just doesn’t condone corruption. “I would never wear a piece of cloth on my person, if it had been bought through corrupt means,” the charismatic, mother of two, dressed in a simple salwar-kameez with minimal jewellery, is reported to have said. Gandhi’s speech, we’re told, had been followed by a performance by stand-up funny man Vir Das, which may or may not have been a coin- cidence depending on which side of the political spectrum you inhabit.


The things you learn while sitting at a salon! This one is a lesson in stratospheric living told to us by a garrulous pedicurist. Apparently, the community of city barbers is exulting in one of their own’s stroke of good fortune. The gentleman, one of the senior-most of his trade, attached to a city five-star salon, had been regularly tending to the scalp of a Master of the Universe, a leading industrialist from a top business family, known to be a workaholic and with little time to spare. Recently, when the industrialist’s office had called for an appointment for their boss, and were told his “regular” barber was busy at the time, they thought that would be the end of it. But, of course, as anyone knows: time is money — and quite a lot of it. “Next thing you know, the barber has been employed for a whopping six-figure sum with the sole responsibility of being available round-the-clock and at any time of the night or day, to keep the head of the busy India Inc leader always looking presentable and well-groomed. “His kids have been offered free schooling and the family’s medical needs have also been taken care of,” said the pedicurist. “They can’t believe their luck!” We told you: this would be a lesson in stratospheric living!


What They Say —

“My wife is Japanese — my wife is Chinese. That’s a terrible mistake to make.”

— British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, on his first official visit to China, mistaking the nationality of his wife of many years

What They Mean —

“Yep, we deserve Brexit.”


(LtoR) Neera Nath at the Rohit Bal show; the designer with his creations; a model wearing one of his designs.
(LtoR) Neera Nath at the Rohit Bal show; the designer with his creations; a model wearing one of his designs.

He had allowed himself the mother of all social media rants only a few weeks ago, this time turning the heat on his own fraternity (“so much blindness and ignorance, disregard for originality; parasitical designers, schmoozing, despicable wannabes!”) But, from all accounts, that didn’t stop members of his community joining the rest of the audience in giving Delhi’s eternal, enfant terrible Rohit Bal many rounds of a standing ovation for his spectacular “Gul-Dastah” that brought the curtains down at the Haute Couture/Autumn-Winter 2018-2019 show at the Imperial on Sunday night. “As always, it was breath-taking, blue-blood couture. Against a backdrop of opulent, gilded frames studded with red roses, he sent out ethereal ivory wraps with stone-studded brooches; ivory with the softest tracings of flamingos with just a dash of pink; velvet blacks with burnished bronze and pewter peonies; and the deepest reds. All splattered between laced corsets and gowns. And, deep, wide skirts,” said fashionista and aesthete Neera Nath about the experience. The verdict: the maestro had outdone himself… again!

First Published: Jul 31, 2018 16:52 IST

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