By Satish Sharma
RAIPUR, 5 Feb: I don’t have words to express my elation. I hugely enjoyed my maiden visit to Chhattisgarh. People I met there were affectionate and adorable.
I am a great admirer of Chitrashi Rawat. I have followed her career like hundreds of others since her glorious debut in ‘Chak De’. I always admired the way she survived in the glamour world with immense grace. The day I received her wedding invite, I immediately decided I would attend her wedding come what may.
I had met the groom, the handsome and debonair Dhruvaditya Bhagwanani some years ago in Delhi. I was impressed with the man ever since our first meeting. His father, businessman turned model Adhir Bhagwanani, and his artist mom Jayshree are eminent citizens of Raipur.
The wedding was attended by Chitrashi’s ‘Chak De’ co-actors Shilpa Shukla, Vidya Malvade with Writer-Director husband Sanjay Dayma, Seema Azmi, Tanya Abrol, Shubhi Mehta and other actor friends, including Shruti Panwar (Doonite and Chitrashi’s best friend), actor & poet Paritosh Tripathi with his newly wedded wife from Kumaon, Meenakshi Chand, Himanshu, Ashok Malhotra, Unnati Davara, Moon Bannerjee and many others.
Paritosh and Meenakshi’s wedding was recently held in Dehradun in a simple family affair and so the festivity continued.
The list of friends from Mumbai included the charming Delnaaz Irani with her equally charming DJ friend Percy.
The wedding ceremonies were held at Hotel East Park in Bilaspur, owned by Rahul Bajpai who belongs to one of the prominent families of Chhattisgarh and a family friend of the Bhagwananis. Dhruvaditya’s sister Yashvi personally looked after the guests, along with the event managers.
Bride, Chitrashi looked resplendent in red lehenga-choli with traditional Pahari jewellery, including the famous ‘pahadi nath’.
Her mother Yashoda, father Tirath Singh Rahi, relatives which included her brother Subhendu, TT Coach Jitendra Singh Bisht, Amit Baurai had all arrived from Doon by train carrying all the essential wedding stuff.
Tirath Singh Rahi offered Pahadi Topis to the guests and was happy that traditional pahadi rituals were observed.
I became the centre of attraction of sorts as every second couple’s children had either studied or were studying in one or the other boarding school in Doon. They were all regular visitors to Doon and promised to meet me in my home town soon.
Adhir introduced me to his many family members and friends, which included Hemant Thawani, Aalok Guha, Dr Rashmi Singh Bajpai, Congress MLA from Takhatpur constituency, Dr Vivek Bajpai Chika and young Congress leaders Vinay Sheel and Ajit Kukreja.
It is worth mentioning that Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is popular in the state and people are predicting his victory in the next VS elections to be held this year. I observed that Baghel is people friendly like our Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and easily approachable. Though they both belong to different parties their love for people is the same. Baghel is connected with the grassroots in his state and, like Dhami, his heart beats for his people.
The people of Chattisgarh are simple and soft-hearted with small town affection and mannerisms intact; very similar to Uttarakhandis.
Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand now share a special bond. It may be recalled that the three states were founded in 2000 at the same time but Chhattisgarh is marching ahead because of its rich mineral resources.
I met some young and energetic journalists in Raipur and Bilaspur, which included Suresh Pandey of Dainik Bhaskar, Umesh Maurya of Bansal News, amongst others. May our community flourish! Also, many childhood friends of the groom, which included Rudra Pratap Singh from Annuppur, MP, and Advocate Charanjeet Singh from Raipur.
Groom Dhruvaditya Bhagwanani’s school friends present were Karan Kotecha, Jasmeet Khanuja, Aditya Pratap Singh, Siddharth Baghel, Siddharth Sur, Vivek Agarwal and Ajit Kukreja. The college friend present was Chinmay Tiwari, while other very close friends were Prashant Vadera, Gagan Randhawa, Amaan Khan, Sunmeet Singh and Deepak Singh.
I wish the best of luck to the newly married couple, Chitrashi and Dhruvaditya and am looking forward to welcoming them in Dehradun soon.
Meeting Rajesh Joshi after 3 Decades
It was a great reunion after three decades with my friend and batchmate Rajesh. Meeting an old friend feels as exciting as meeting one’s favorite celebrity. It was a great feeling to meet Rajesh Joshi and his charming wife, Shireen Joshi. They live in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. We went to journalism school in Berlin exactly 30 years ago. Shireen runs a CBSE school up to class 8. Rajesh is State Head of ‘Navbharat’. Their daughter Rashi is studying MBA in Melbourne.
Rajesh disclosed that one of our batch mates – veteran journalist in Jaipur Sunny Sebastion’s daughter Priyam Lizmary is married in Raipur. I had met them once when they visited Mussoorie and Dehradun after their wedding in Covid times.
Saroj Pal in Raipur
Saroj Pal was Headmistress at Sun Valley School when my daughter Aishwarya was studying there.
It was a pleasant surprise to get an SMS from her. She saw my Facebook post and texted me to visit her daughter Shreya Pal’s house in Raipur. It was great meeting my own people in Chhattisgarh. Shreya has started a Poly Kids pre-school in Chhattisgarh. My best wishes for her new venture! She studied Urban Planning but due to family commitments is restricted to what she is doing now.
My trip ended on Sunday. And a new chapter of special bonds has begun!!!