|KESHUB MAHINDRA: Sanctity above satisfaction
the true measure of a man lies not in the number of awards he's
won, but whether he's had the moral courage to decline any. On that
count, Keshub Mahindra scores full points. Last fortnight, the 78-year-old
Chairman of auto giant Mahindra & Mahindra politely declined
to accept the Padma Bhushan that the government wanted to confer
on him. Reason? When the Union Carbide tragedy struck Bhopal in
1984, Mahindra happened to be its Chairman. Now, it's no secret
that chairmanship in corporate India is only titular; few chairmen
actually get involved in the day-to-day running of companies. Just
the same, the chairman has certain legal responsibilities. And that's
why when the victims of the Union Carbide tragedy filed a case against
the company, Mahindra was one of the defendants. There's still legal
action pending against him.
For Mahindra, who has more than 11 national
awards under his belt, a Padma Bhushan would have been the crowning
glory. Yet, as it turns out, the lure of the award for this BSc.
graduate from the University of Pennsylvania was not stronger than
his determination not to do anything that would make light of the
grief he has publicly expressed at various occasions. Therefore,
people close to the grand old man of Indian industry, point out
that Mahindra-a member of several governmental committees like the
Sachar Commission on Company Law-was wary of dragging the government
into any controversy. In a letter written to L.K. Advani, the Union
Home Minister, Mahindra-who won the Chevalier de l'Ordre National
de la Legion d'honneur from the French government in 1987-explained
the rationale behind his decision: "I have agonised over this
matter and come to the firm conclusion that as a responsible member
of Indian industry and a proud Indian, it is important for me to
place the absolute sanctity of our national awards above personal
|RANA KAPOOR: Banking on himself
We always knew that rana kapoor likes to tee
off with style on the greens. Now we've discovered that he's equally
effective off the course. A few months ago, Kapoor, CEO of Rabo
Investment Bank India, along with his close friends and partners
Harkirat Singh and Ashok Kapoor, bagged a banking licence from the
Reserve Bank of India. That's the first time any group of individuals
has won a banking licence. Kapoor is looking at a Diwali launch,
but clarifies that it won't be a Rabo subsidiary. ''It will be our
bank,'' says an ebullient Kapoor. The place and funds are still
being tied up, but the man says he's clear about what the bank will
focus on: retail, retail, and retail. A former Bank of America honcho,
Kapoor has earned himself a snug place in the banking business.
Still, launching a bank on your own isn't the easiest of things
to do. So, if at the next BT-AmEx golf championship, you don't see
Kapoor working on his swing, you'll know why.
Gentleman Of The Bar
|LUCIEN A. DAMBREVILLE: Mixing it all
Just like the cocktails that he so adeptly stirs
up, Lucien A. Dambreville is a man of many colours. He is a 'champion'
bartender, a documentary film-maker, 'camera journalist', and-phew-vice
mayor of Chartres, a small town, half-hour's drive from Paris. Last
fortnight, the Frenchman was seen shaking the killers (like the
Paradise Cocktail in the picture) at Delhi's Grand Hyatt, which
was celebrating the first anniversary of its "Whiskey Bar".
The 49-year-old is also a brand ambassador for Marie Brizard, a
range of liqueurs distributed in India by Brindco. But Dambreville
didn't set out to be a champ bartender. In fact, 18 years ago he
was struggling to become a photo journalist. It was his father who
showed Dambreville what he could do behind the bar counter. So,
what's the Alfa Romeo-driving, champ barman's favourite cocktail?
Anisette (a liqueur flavoured with aniseed) with Schweppes tonic
and champagne. His advice: "never mix fruit alcohol (like Cognac)
with alcohol". Defy him at the risk of a hangover.