Behind-the-scenes of the lives of the famous
Indira Gandhi, India’s third Prime Minister, was allergic to marigolds.
Throughout her life, her lieutenants stopped people from taking the golden flower near her. While no one could stop her admirers from bringing them in bunches, the garlands were immediately taken away, and the petals were swiftly brushed aside.
If someone still managed to smuggle the flower in, Indira Gandhi would frown to show her displeasure. Her silence was signal enough that she hadn’t taken well to the transgression. But her anger was never directed at people who spent days, often weeks, to meet her. It was her staff who had to face her ire … It was therefore ironic that in her death … she lay still and lifeless; her bullet-ridden body bedecked in marigolds. The gold-flower that was kept away during her entire life, clung to her in death.
Kumkum Chadha, The Marigold Story: Indira Gandhi & Others (Westland/Amazon)
Actor Shammi Kapoor once came to attend a technology event in Delhi during the early days of the internet. This matinee idol from the ’50s and ’60s was clearly an early adopter and had a hitherto unexplored geeky side, which he revealed to the gathering. When one reporter asked him how he had embraced the Web with such ease, he smiled mysteriously and replied: “Remember ‘Yahoo!’?” The room broke into laughter—the song from his film Junglee, where he throws himself on the snow and screams with joy, was everyone’s favourite Shammi Kapoor number.