Netherfield Ball – Studying the Origins of Sharmila Tagore’s Charisma, Prithviraj Road
The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It is an undisputed truth that the rich and the famous live in a world different from ours.
One winter afternoon The Delhi Walla sneaked inside a gated bungalow in Central Delhi’s Prithviraj Road, the address of the 0.0001 percent.
It was a rare blue sky and a garden party was in progress. The sun was shining and the flowers were blooming in bright colors. Suited security guards stood around the hedges, presumably looking for potential assassins. Among the guests, I spotted the legendary film actor Sharmila Tagore, and veteran politicians Farooq Abdullah and Salman Khurshid—his wife Louise came separately.
The smooth-speaking society hostess Ratan Kaul was sitting in the circle that was steadily growing around Mr Abdullah. No slave to boring ideologies, she is loyal to everyone and remains in circulation in all the important gatherings no matter who is ruling the capital.
Another important woman (who shall go unnamed) was noisily gushing over her shahtoosh shawl (see photo 5 below). Everyone, except for the waiters, stopped by to touch and feel the fabric.
And, of course, the ambassadors of Spain, Russia and Bosnia looked important and idle.
Amid all this chatter and hugging, actor Sharmila Tagore walked around as if she was just another person in the universe. As if her first film wasn’t the classic Apur Sansar, The World of Apu. As if she had no connections to poet Rabindranath Tagore (by birth), to filmmaker Satyajit Ray (by work) and to the royal family of Pataudi (by marriage). I stood close to her to study the origins of her magnetism but overheard her uttering only inane everyday things such as “Oh, it’s a perfect day today”, “Tell me, who are the good publishers” and “You have to buy my daughter’s book!”
I left the garden without any deeper understanding of the great people.
2. (Salman Khurshid)
4. (Farooq Abdullah)
7. (Ratan Kaul)
I read the following in a 2014 article; is this still the case?
“Woven by highly skilled Kashmiri artisans, Shahtoosh shawls are a status symbol in India and Pakistan and one of the most valuable dowry gifts a person can give. However, processing or wearing shahtoosh is a punishable offence in these countries and anyone selling them face prison sentences of up to two years and fine of up to Rs1m (€7,000). International trade in the Tibetan antelope is also banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).”
This is your world too. I know you.
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