06 December, 2020

Lakshmi, Deluxe

Diwali card parties now revel more in snobbery. And a knack to shield the illegality.

Lakshmi, Deluxe
It's three o'clock at night, and the party is just beginning. BMWs, Mercs and Skodas are parked three-deep outside a well-fortified farmhouse in a lane off Delhi's MG Road. Inside, the lawn is bathed in soft light and dotted with card tables where guests are busy soliciting Lakshmi by upping the stakes at every blind. At many tables there are tall piles of thousand-rupee notes that start disappearing with every round. "Some 50 lakh rupees will change hands at these tables before morning," boasts the host, Nirmal Kapoor, a young industrialist. That's small change in Delhi's Diwali card-party circuit which is nowadays buzzing with the talk of a recent party held at the home of a Chandni Chowk-based arms dealer, where the stakes went up as high as a couple of crores of rupees.

In a suite at a Mumbai five-star hotel, a group of twentysomething men—all scions of influential business families—are having one of their thrice-weekly sessions of Flush that begin a month before Diwali. Among them is Vishal, son of a prominent family of film producers. "Our group is playing about 20...


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