Re­vis­it­ing the coura­geous Pinki Vi­rani’s ‘I Be­lieve’

Savvy - - Contents -


Though the four Hin­duja broth­ers – Sric­hand, Gopic­hand, Prakash and Ashok – are based in dif­fer­ent parts of the world, the whole fam­ily is known to be ex­cep­tion­ally close knit. Har­sha laughs, “You have that movie ‘My Big Fat In­dian Wed­ding’ where ev­ery fam­ily mem­ber is into the oth­ers’ lives...We are just like that. We en­joy each other’s com­pany and reg­u­larly meet and go on hol­i­days to­gether. Dur­ing Di­wali, we have a big party at our Lon­don home, and that’s the time the whole fam­ily gets to­gether. In Novem­ber, we all travel to Hr­ishikesh and in De­cem­ber, we all col­lect here in Mum­bai.”

Their Di­wali par­ties in Lon­don are the talk of the in­ter­na­tional party cir­cuit, and they have hosted the Blairs, Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and the Bri­tish roy­alty. Is the party scene in their Mum­bai home sim­i­larly hec­tic? She tells me, “One can make it hec­tic if one wants to. I am not a pris­oner of any for­mat. The Hin­du­jas are a global fam­ily. We do not throw very many par­ties, as per­ceived, but when we do, we do it with our heart and soul be­cause we gen­uinely value the oc­ca­sion, our guests and as­so­ci­ates. For us, AtithiDevo Bhava is the credo. We do so­cial­ize a lot, host par­ties and go for par­ties all the time, so it’s a bal­ance.”


Har­sha is on the board of di­rec­tors of some of the com­pa­nies of the il­lus­tri­ous Hin­duja Group with a net worth of over $15 bil­lion. But her in­volve­ment is mainly in the phil­an­thropic arm, such as their in­te­grated ru­ral devel­op­ment project at Jawa­har district in Ma­harsh­tra. What’s more, she over­sees the ex­hi­bi­tion of the fas­ci­nat­ing ‘Hin­duja An­tiq­uity Foun­da­tion’, which pos­sesses a price­less col­lec­tion of 34,000 coins, some dat­ing back to 600 BC. “The coin col­lec­tion was be­queathed to us by a Bri­tish sol­dier. It has coins which are so rare that no other coun­try or mu­seum has them.” Ev­ery year, un­der her su­per­vi­sion, the Foun­da­tion ex­hibits these pre­cious coins at the World Trade Cen­ter. “That is an­other story in it­self,” she tells me.


As a mother of three suc­cess­ful chil­dren - Am­bika, Satya and Shom - Har­sha is proud that they have carved a niche for them­selves beyond the fam­ily name. Am­bika be­gan her ca­reer with pro­duc­ing Bol­ly­wood hits like ‘Be­ing Cyrus’ and ‘Teen Patti’, and is now a renowned in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor with projects in Mum­bai, Delhi and Dubai. Har­sha re­veals,

“You have that movie ‘My Big Fat In­dian Wed­ding’ where ev­ery fam­ily mem­ber is into the oth­ers’ lives... We are just like that and en­joy each other’s com­pany.”

“Right from child­hood, Am­bika has been very unique, a lit­tle hatke and a very in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic per­son­al­ity. She is blessed with very re­fined aes­thet­ics, which are very dif­fer­ent from the mun­dane. She is now a pro­fes­sional of her own stand­ing. ”

As for her younger daugh­ter Satya, the mother di­vulges she had a large role to play in her ca­reer. “My younger daugh­ter Satya has stud­ied Back­ground Score Engi­neer­ing at Berkeley Col­lege of Mu­sic at Bos­ton. The con­cept of ‘study­ing mu­sic’ doesn’t come very eas­ily to most busi­ness fam­i­lies . But much to the dis­agree­ment of the el­ders in the fam­ily, I sup­ported her a lot and even helped her send out her au­di­tions. She was se­lected im­me­di­ately. Her creations of sounds are just amaz­ing! She’s very savvy with all the tech­no­log­i­cal and com­puter based things.”

Af­ter work­ing with mu­sic di­rec­tors Salim-Suleiman for six years, Satya has to­day es­tab­lished her own re­search foun­da­tion called the ‘Al­chemic Sonic En­vi­ron­ment’, which is path-break­ing in the field of the ther­a­peu­tic ef­fects of med­i­ta­tive sounds. Har­sha elab­o­rates, “Satya is deeply re­search­ing the ther­a­peu­tic as­pects of sound and fre­quen­cies, which par­al­lel med­i­ta­tive yo­gic prac­tices and cur­rent neu­ro­sci­en­tific re­search. She con­stantly shut­tles be­tween Mum­bai and New York for her re­search work.”

I prod her to tell me about her son Shom, the youngest, and who has been least ex­posed to the me­dia so far. “He’s very cute,” smiles the dot­ing mom. “And is also very mu­si­cally in­clined. When the kids were grow­ing up, I made it a rule for them to learn one mu­si­cal in­stru­ment and Shom chose the tabla, and switched over to drums. So when he turned eight, I got him an en­tire drum set and he was on cloud 9 or 999!” she laughs. Shom to­day has joined the fam­ily busi­ness and is mak­ing for­ays in the arena of green en­ergy in In­dia.

“I be­lieve chil­dren are like flow­ers who need to bloom in their own way. We can only cre­ate the right con­di­tions for them,” she muses. “Our chil­dren make us proud.”

TRAVEL TIME AND MY LIFE! In the course of the in­ter­view, sev­eral peo­ple came up to her to greet her and she greeted each one gra­ciously. In­ter­spersed be­tween our con­ver­sa­tion, she says, “Mu­sic, na­ture, plants are all stepping stones to divin­ity, to the God Head, to your own in­tro­spec­tion. They help you cre­ate new vis­tas, new chan­nels and bring out your own best. With them you re­main child­like. I tell my mu­sic sir, ‘Aa­j­janek­izid­mat karo’ and he replies with, ‘Aa­j­jana hipadega’ in the same tune. It’s all very ec­static. I still en­joy run­ning into the gar­den and in­hal­ing the fra­grance of mud. Some­times I feel I’m so old, but still I en­joy all this. But this is what keeps me alive!”

And on that pos­i­tive note, I bid farewell to this won­der­ful spirit, feel­ing en­riched and elated.

“Chil­dren are like flow­ers who need to bloom in their own way. We can only cre­ate the right con­di­tions.”

The four Hin­duja broth­ers; Har­sha with hus­band Ashok Hin­duja

Top to bot­tom: Am­bika with her hus­band Ra­man Macker; Satya Hin­duja; Var­sha with her hus­band and son Shom

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