28 July, 2021

Anil Dharker Diary

A slender beau right out of Botticelli, a pocket intellectual, a spritz of glitter in Bombay soirees with a global slipstream…complete with imaginary Japanese muezzins.

Illustration by Saahil
Anil Dharker Diary
At First, Lush Primavera

In his prime, as the ebullient editor of diverse magazines and newspapers, Anil Dharker had a favourite line when meeting young women of exquisite grace for the first time. “Ah, a Botticelli!” he would murmur. As far as I can remember, when I first met them in the early 1970s in Mumbai, both the Dharkers, Anil and his wife Imtiaz, were a couple out of a Botticelli canvas. If Imtiaz was as luscious as a freshly plucked peach, or a pearl newly emerged from the oyster shell of her existence in Glasgow, where Anil had gone to study engineering, he was equally elegant. If you could imagine him in doublet and leather breeches, he could have fitted into any one of the portraits by the Italian masters of the Renaissance. Small made, he had a dancer’s lightness with the roseate complexion of his Baroda Marathi elite background. His sister was indeed a talented dancer and later a writer of note. Maybe the lips were too perfectly...

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