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Party gridlock

Enroute to Alibaug

Enroute to Alibaug  

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Navigating soirées, launches and witty conversations is great practice for the festive season

Only in Mumbai will you find yourself in a speed boat traffic jam. Angling for a spot of shade in the blazing noon sun (it feels like sweltering October in what ought to be a cooler November), I was at the jetty opposite the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, waiting to leave for Alibaug. Mumbai’s weekend getaway is normally a breeze to reach, but sometimes the dock does get clogged. Why we have no marina in Mumbai in 2019 is beyond me; what we do have is a precarious approach to the water where smaller boats park to let on passengers. One has to hop on and hop off carefully — one slip and you’ll find yourself in the murky water.

I was on my way to art collector Saloni Doshi’s 40th birthday party, as were sundry other people, but what we hadn’t bargained for was another big bash, a 50th birthday, in Alibaug the same day. It was a fashion parade logjam as people in oversized sunglasses waited in groups to board boats. My friend Priya Gaekwad and I finally clambered into a black vessel called The Viking, only to find that we had to park and wait for the rest of our party, who were running late.

Uber chic Kavita Singh hosted Saloni’s soiree at her expansive beach-front estate. A celebrated interior designer with a fine eye for art, Singh is a former Miss India, and also happens to be actor Sonam Kapoor’s aunt. On the car ride to the house, I found myself seated next to Rina Shah, a designer-turned-professional polo player-turned-DJ. “Isn’t it hard to attract women to play polo?” I enquired. “Yes, it is,” she admitted, “It’s a hard sport and I am plagued by back issues, but I love it!” Later that afternoon, I saw Rina spinning at the DJ console, looking very much the part in a red crop top and matching track pants. Saloni had most of the art crowd in attendance. I spent much of my time with collector Udit Bhambri, whose witty impersonations can make the most staid arty types break into peals of laughter, and gallerist Sree Goswami, whose calm demeanour is always needed in these high-octane social gatherings.

At the Ekaya store in Kala Ghoda

At the Ekaya store in Kala Ghoda  

Speaking of high-octane events, I recently attended the Ekaya store launch in Kala Ghoda, an area that’s becoming a cool hangout with its many fashion shops and cafes. A 120-year-old textile business from Benares that was given a makeover by CEO Palak Shah, 28, Ekaya updates the best of that city’s weaves for the 21st century Indian woman. I admired jackets and shorts — all in fabric sourced from Benares — but with patterns cut in Paris. The store was choc-a-block with an abundance of silks and exquisite cotton saris with intricate zari.

My week ended with an intimate sit-down dinner for eight at my pals Pooja and Amit Advani’s stylish home. Pooja, one of Mumbai’s most fashion-forward women, decided to parlay her wardrobe skills into a personal blog by way of an Instagram account (@Luxiste), where she documents her luxury must-haves. From Prada’s Monolith chunky boot (currently sold out) to bespoke Turkish handbag labels to the best of high street, she posts a wide array of on-trend goodies. For this dinner, she had Masque, the fine dining farm-to-fork restaurant, cater a carefully-selected menu. It was a fitting way to end a whirlwind month, before December’s diary begins.

This fortnightly column tracks the indulgent pursuits of the one-percenters.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 9:17:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/party-gridlock/article30115045.ece

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