22 June, 2021

Delhi Diary

Although Mario and I had little in common temperamentally, I adored him, felt privileged in his company, envied his impeccable correctness—in manners and grace.

Delhi Diary
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Mario’s Merry Band

He called her Charlie, she called him Joseph, and they spoke to each other with an old world courtesy. The Mirandas, Habiba and Mario, were the toast of Bombay in the ’70s. When friends invited you for dinner, they would add a bait: “Mario and Habiba are coming.” When I accidentally usurped the Debonair chair and was ignored and shunned by the big boys of the business, Mario (and Behram ‘Busybee’ Contractor) gave me sanctuary, encouragement, recognition and smuggled me into embassy parties. Mario’s passing away last Sunday means that two of my closest buddies (he and Busybee) have been claimed by the grim reaper. Although Mario and I had little in common temperamentally, I adored him, felt privileged in his company, envied his impeccable correctness—in manners and grace.

He was a self-effacing, shy, gentle person. When one praised his work, he was genuinely embarrassed. “Stop it,” he would say. Like all extraordinarily gifted artists, he needed no commendation...

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