Indian art, artisans and architecture are exemplary, no doubt! Hoysala architecture, Jalakanteswara Temple, Chhatri of Malharao Holkar, Mehrangarh Fort, Modhera Sun Temple, Ran-ki-Vav etc constantly remind us of India’s high class structural designs and mind-boggling architecture. But it is not often that we hear of an event organised to commemorate every craftsmen, every artisan, every planner, every engineer, every designer, every painter for his contribution in creating a marvel, whether big or small.

No, not mutilating them like Taj Mahal’s craftsmen rather honouring them literally by the man himself.

We were in fact glad to attend the one-of-a-kind felicitation ceremony organised by India’s first generation billionaire entrepreneur at his house. Yes, I may sound like I am talking about Mr. Gautam Adani. 🙂

Me and Raj were cordially invited on 14th of September to “Shantivan” – the Adani abode. We managed to reach late, not fashionably but genuinely, you see even sundays are busy roads in our beloved city now; besides it was literally cross-country for us from one end to the other. (I am not justifying for being late).

As we entered the edifice we wondered where to go and what to do. The structure was surely daunting in its size and magnificence. But in no time Karan, popularly known as the son of the King of Ports, arrived and guided us down the beautiful hallway to ensure we joined the rest of the motley group of invitees. All the way he was modest, polite and warm enough to make us feel comfortable; characteristics which are hardly displayed by young scions in their 20’s.

As we joined the group we were happy to meet up with old friends – architects, educationists, designers, painters, artists…pardon me if I have missed out any other professionals. It’s always a pleasure to meet up with Rajeev Sethi – India’s top scenographer and one of my icons who as usual was extremely warm to meet and greet. It’s not for nothing it’s said that the greatness of any man is measured by not his success alone but by the way he values his friendships.

As we moved around the beautiful and gorgeously decorated rooms and alleys, ceilings and walls, painstakingly put together interesting art installations and murals documenting the humble journey of the man himself one of the thoughts that flitted across our minds was to open up such personal spaces for a diverse group such as ours requires a lot grace and humility. As the evening progressed we saw more and more of this displayed by the entire Adani family.

Gautambhai and Pritiben did not miss greeting and felicitation every engineer, designer, craftsman and artisan (and BTW over 600 craftsman and artisans have worked over a period of 4 -5 years to put the place together) who had toiled passionately in crafting and making real their family’s dream home. Gifts and souvenirs, photo ops and handshakes, smiles and laughter, claps and interesting Gujju snacks made this small informal ceremony an enjoyable event. While Gautambhai did the honours Pritiben and the rest of the young family graciously stood by cheering and greeting, smiling and interacting.

In our land no gathering is complete without serving of a sumptuous meal and our hosts had lovely high tea in store for us. While me and Raj were guilty of not having the time to bite the bread as we had to get back, we were contemplating on what to do and how to catch up with those portions of the house we has missed seeing as we had reached late. Karan comes to our rescue again, he got one of the chief engineers to give us a rendezvous of the entire house. You definitely need to be generous to let relative strangers roam about in your finely designed, deluxe residence. I bet not everyone would do that.

Stunned and Awed by the array of artwork and variety of installations we go over to catch up with the family to thank them for the lovely evening.

The strong conviction and raison d’être voiced by Paridhi for having developed such a house touched us deeply. While we chatted up, she told us how the family values India’s tremendous heritage of art and architecture and how this unique abode was designed to honour, preserve and patronise our rich traditions. Indeed a dignified and patriotic thought! Paridhi, by the way is Karan’s lovely petite wife! As we chat up Pritiben graciously joins up remembering our deep friendship with her brother, recollecting our previous meetings and commenting on my blogs. Frankly surprised, I am touched that she finds the time to read my blogs, recollects, passes on and compliments for the same. All signs of humility personified!

And its time to bid adieu to this wonderful family.

As we drive though the long and winding pathway leaving Shantivan back to the busy hustle and bustle, we can’t but help reminiscing the ceremony – plain, simple, personal, no media grabbing the big bite, no flamboyance, no PR, no mad clicking pictures for Instagram or uploading videos on YouTube. It surely carried importance much bigger – honouring the truly talented!!! Something like this is not often seen or heard of before in our town.

Bravo, Adani Parivar!