Overcast skies, temperamental breezes and that particular extraordinary feeling a day sometimes gives you? That was the special setting to a special day for me. ZOYA -Tata’s Corporate Luxury Jewellery Brand was to unveil it’s luxuriant window at The Taj Mahal Hotel’s corridor. That same corridor which has become famous for all the pomp and drama that has occurred in so many years. The atmosphere of the hotel, its restaurants, the fragrance of The Taj, has endured and developed through the years in my memory – the ornate pillars, the gleaming marble floors, vaulted alabaster ceilings, onyx columns, graceful decorative archways – the facets and character has only grown more beautiful over the years and is the perfect setting for the exquisite window that we at Zoya had planned at the Taj Mahal Hotel.
Pinky Reddy came on the dot of seven, punctual to the T, in a stunning red outfit. I’d picked her to unveil because I think she’s young, sassy , fun and doesn’t take herself too seriously. She is not only a good friend but also someone who epitomises loyalty to her family and a value system that is obsolete today. And that she flew down and came to the venue before everyone else just goes to show her commitment to commitment! And then Raymond Bickson, the charming and gracious managing director of Taj joint us nearly immediately with Taj GM Gaurav Pokhriyal, Arif Padiath, business manager of Zoya and me and would you believe it, the unveiling happened before the scheduled seven thirty.
It was a most exuberant evening, the corridor was thronged with close friends who applauded even as the champagne popped to flag off this landmark moment for Zoya. I have to say it is one of the more memorable evenings of this year for me. The warmth and love of friends just makes life worthwhile. Rageshwari stood through and cheered the evening on and champagne popped as the red veil was taken off by Pinky and Raymond to reveal the window display of spectacular diamond jewellery within what is designed to be a vignette of the store, with the signature saddle stitch, Swarovski crystal chandelier and gold leaf finish on its walls, the cynosure of which is the emerald and diamond necklace.
The Champagne cocktail had just started when Shobha De walked in. Connie Bickson, Raymond Bickson’s charming wife in a Banarsi saari, Niranjan Hiranandani, Manisha Gerotra and Muna Zaveri enjoyed the petits fours , glacés, baked meringues, macarons, puff pastries, éclairs, tartlets, and mignardises. That intimate one on one interaction over mohitos’, kiwi margarita’s, bellini’s!
Aarti Chabbria was in an all white lace number, Zeba Kohli and Rageshwari Loomba caught up with Lata Patel , Ruksana Eisa, Monica Gupta and Laila Marker who looked svelte in short cocktail dresses that seemed to be the order of the champagne set that raised their glasses when Raymond Bickson proposed a toast and spoke about why the evening was special to him. Shalini Sharma also co-incidently wore red like Pinky. Rakhee Lalwanee stood out in her chic saari. Suchitra Iyer sat and chatted to art afficianido Anju Poddar. Pinky, in her affectionate impromptu way spoke of the bond she shared with the Taj and the Tata’s and how special the evening was to her.
The Taj is cited in the same breath as the Eiffel Tower, the Place de Versailles and the Buckingham Palace – The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. For us, in Bombay, ‘The Taj’ is a beloved point of reference greater than the Gateway of India; she is the ‘grand dame’ that represents our city. Yes the evening did have something distinctive and unusual about it.