The pic is with the very charming and very handsome Sri Lankan cricket captain, Kumar Sangakkara ,his wife ( would you believe she has recently delivered twins?) and my daughter Arundhati. We ran into them in the lobby of the Hilton in Colombo, where we had gorged on one of the best chinese meals ever (at the stylish 'WOK' ) . Look out for my Sri Lankan diary. It is a little overdue. But I intend writing it over the weekend. There's just so much on my overladen plate right now.... I am reeling.
I don't know how Amitabh Bachchan does it - and does it so well, at that! Met him last night at the Bastille Day celebrations hosted by Francois Pujolas, the French Consul General. Amitabh had just delivered a great speech. His fans were mobbing him even as he gamely signed autographs and posed for pictures. He travels around the world at a manic pace, is never ever late by even 5 minutes, makes thoughtful speeches without teleprompters, disarms hosts with his presence and panache, and does all this while demonstrating an enviable level of professionalism that is worth emulating in every field. His wife Jaya shared a domestic secret - "Our cue to leave is for me to get up and walk briskly towards the exit once the formalities are over - that's when he looks worried and says to those crowding him, "Oh... I'd better rush.... or else my wife will get really, really angry!" Ha ha! I like, I like ! Must steal!
This appeared in 'The Week'....
Shaadi ka Mahina….. Mahi Ve!!
Dhoni did it! And did it in true super celeb style – quickly and stealthily. India’s star sportsman tied the knot with his 21- year- old love interest late last Sunday night, somewhere in the distant hills of Dehradun. Perfect! Only a few khaas mehman attended the traditional ceremony away from the prying eyes of the watching world. Since we are a long way off from the modus operandi followed by international paparazzi ( not because we are coy or morally upright – we merely don’t have the big bucks for it!), we had to make do with sketchy reports.It will take us years to catch up with asli celeb watching which involves hiring choppers and hovering over wedding venues taking grab shots of the nuptials that are later sold for a bomb! We don’t have motorcycle stalkers from the media either ( they drove Princess Diana to her death, remember?), or you can be sure some adventurous types would have reached the foothills of the Himalayas and ruined Mahi’s maha moment. A three layer security cordon made sure the wedding remained out of bounds and tantalizingly private. Just the way it should be, but rarely remains, when it involves mega celebrities. News filtering through indicated the two families had matched the kundalis of the two love birds before finalizing the auspicious date for the shaadi. Great! They had celestial approval, as well.Loverboy Mahi turned out to be quite a chhupa rustom, and I am sure he has left a lot of broken hearted female fans in tears, now that he is shaadi shuda. As for young Sakshi, she is perhaps one of the most envied girls on planet earth at this point.
Kuch kuch hota hai when sports’ icons get hitched. Even though comparisons are odious, how can we forget the recent Sania –Shoaib tamasha that turned into such an ugly jamboree? Perhaps Dhoni had just that disaster in mind when he decided to take to the hills and just do it! From all accounts, it was a smart move taken by a smart man . Mahi cleverly pre-empted controversies by presenting a fait accompli to the world.Not for nothing is he known as Captain Cool.
While all these festivities were being played out at a luxury spa in Dehra Dun, another kind of drama and hungama was taking place in Mumbai. Just ten days after the tragic suicide of Viveka Babajee, the 37- year- old model who hanged herself, her grief stricken family engaged the services of Dale Bhagwagar, an on- the -ball publicist ( same chap who used to issue press releases by the micro second when he was handling Shilpa Shetty’s public relations), to propagate the news of Viveka’s actual relationship with Gautam Vora,the boy friend who is being interrogated by the cops. According to the family, these two were contemplating marriage and had also matched kundalis .Obviously, something went horribly wrong at some point. So wrong that the Vora boy refused to acknowledge he had enjoyed anything but a very, very casual friendship with the dead model.Well, the intimate photographs released by her family tell an entirely different story. So much for kundali- matching. The point is , some marriages happen. Some don’t. But our society invariably gets excessively excited about the subject. When I wrote about the sad Viveka episode on my blog, the reactions were intense and personal. A lot of men sympathized with Vora’s situation, and went so far as to compare men with good wine ( they get better with age), and women with milk ( which curdles with age ). What followed was a pretty heated ‘comments war’, either supporting or damning the guy who to all appearances ditched a trusting girlfriend just before the saat pheras could be taken. Perhaps no outsider can ever gauge what goes on in the heads and hearts of couples in committed relationships. But even a hard boiled sceptic would agree when it gets to the matching kundalis stage, it’s got to be pretty serious. In Viveka’s strange case, it seemed to have gone beyond kundali talk – her mother, Dayawanti, insists Vora had asked his girlfriend to consult a fertility expert about her ability to bear children. If true, this is such a shocker! And to think we are talking about a supposedly hip and cool 21st century couple, not semi-literates from small town India who were being pressurised by elders to get the girl ‘certified’ (“ okay! All clear…. the bride’s womb is good to go” ).
Two high profile couples. Two entirely different scripts for their respective ‘Luv Storys’.
Mubarak ho, Dhoni and Sakshi.Here’s to a brand new innings, captain.