It was one hell of a day - all good, though. So.... no complaints. I was photographed for a foreign magazine by a compact, cheerful Italian named Chiara Goia.... with a Hasselblad! After years and years...a 'real' camera to pose in front of! Digital photography has made ace photographers out of amateurs, but top professionals from the old school still prefer cameras like the boxy Hasselblad with its square format- the Rolls Royce of cameras, according to me.Chiara was efficient, relaxed and competent. Chiara now lives and works in this competitive city - she has the right credentials, and more importantly, the right attitude to make it big here.
Earlier, I was invited to a supremely elegant afternoon carefully put together by Tikka Shatrujit Singh for the LVMH President, Yves Carcelle , who flew in from Paris just for a few hours to visit the old store at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which was totally destroyed during the 26\11 attacks, and to say 'Hello!" to the latest Louis Vuitton store that opened this evening at the Taj Land's End, Bandra.He has been with LVMH for twenty long years and has some fascinating stories to narrate about the world's number one luxury brand. But let me reveal just one 'secret' for now - LVMH has decided to celebrate Diwali in all its stores worldwide this November, and putting these spectacular displays in place across all the store windows globally, is my old buddy, the immensely gifted Rajeev Sethi from Delhi! Look out for the Festival of Lights in all the countries that retail LVMH products. I got so carried away with the fantasy, I promptly suggested the creation of a 'Lakshmi Bag' from LVMH, to mark the occasion. Mon. Carcelle seemed to like the idea! What could be more appropriate than the Goddess of Wealth inspiring a gorgeous bag that can be stuffed with money by ladies who lunch?? Talking of which ( lunch ), Chef Oberoi had excelled himself at this one. His Seabass Kapurthala was memorable. Paired with vintage Dom, it made heavenly music on the tongue.
This column appeared this morning in the Bombay Times. I am happy to report Ramakrishnan sold most of his paintings....
"I am writing this a few hours before the Mumbai Marathon sees the city putting its best foot forward. I confess to a small level of nervousness since I’ll be attempting the Dream Run for the second time for CHILDLINE 1098, with a whole bunch of enthusiastic bachchas. With each passing year, the Marathon just gets bigger and everybody says, better too.It has been said before, but bears repetition – this is one day of the year, when all differences melt into nothingness in this humungous metropolis and Mumbai runs as one – no ‘outsiders’ and no ‘insiders’. Just people who share the same sane, democratic outlook and are participants in something far bigger than any individual agenda or achievement. The last time I ran ( shamefully, minus any preparation or training – ditto this year as well ), I actually felt like there was some mysterious force that was propelling me ahead and ensuring I kept going. I’m counting on the same to come to my aid this year as well. For anybody who has been there at the starting point, it is one of the most electrifying and exhilarating moments that is powerful enough to get you on a high, without artificial stimulants. I’m looking forward to that thrill once again, and feel lucky to be a small part of such a gigantic effort.
But it was my meeting with an extraordinary person called Ramakrishnan on the eve of the
After meeting him and admiring his paintings, I came away thinking to myself how petty and absurdly stupid ‘normal’ anxieties and problems seem in comparison to what Ramakrishnan has to live with for the rest of his life. We crib and complain constantly when the smallest things go wrong, and we protest vociferously if our personal plans don’t work out satisfactorily. Here is a man trapped in a wheelchair , his limbs painfully contorted, every small movement a huge effort, but his eyes – what eyes! - shining with enthusiasm as he energetically paints birds taking wing with no trace of bitterness or irony. And I wonder – who is truly blessed – Ramakrishnan with his undaunted spirit … or people like us??"