As New Delhi gets ready to host the Commonwealth Games in October 2010, actress Neetu Chandra became one of the few privileged Bollywood celebrities to have the honour of running with the Commonwealth Games torch (popularly known as the Queen’s Baton) in her hometown Patna, this week.
Neetu was selected for the relay, owing to her active association in sports. Apart from being a regular basketball player, the actress is a Black Belt 2nd Dan, having participated in various martial arts tournaments at a district, national, as well as international level.
“The Commonwealth Games promote international integration, so it was a huge honour for me to sprint with the torch. I got goose bumps in excitement,” she exclaimed after the run. “The Queen’s Baton felt like a ‘power baton’ and gave me a different kind of high. It was a mix of pride and responsibility,” Neetu added. Way to go, girl!
More about the Queen’s Baton relay:
The Queen’s Baton relay began when the baton, which contains Queen Elizabeth II’s message to the athletes, left Buckingham Palace on 29 October 2009. The baton reached India last month, through Wagah Border from Pakistan. Currently in Bihar, it is headed to West Bengal next. It will arrive at the 2010 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on October 3, 2010, having visited the other 70 nations of the Commonwealth and travelling throughout India, reaching millions of people to join in the celebrations for the Games.
The baton was designed by Michael Foley, a graduate of the National Institute of Design. It is a triangular section of aluminium twisted into a helix shape and then coated with coloured soils, collected from all regions of India. The coloured soils are a first for the styling of a Queen’s Baton. A jewel-encrusted box has been used to house the Queen’s message, which is laser-engraved onto a miniature 18-carat gold leaf – representative of the ancient Indian patras. The Queen’s Baton is ergonomically contoured for ease of use. It is 664 millimetres high, 34 millimetres wide at the base, and 86 millimetres wide at the top and weighs 1,900 grams.
It has a number of technological features, including the ability to capture images and sound. It has global positioning system (GPS) technology, so that the baton’s location can be tracked. It has embedded light emitting diodes (LEDs) which change into the colours of a country’s flag whilst in that country. The baton also has a text messaging capability so that people can send messages of congratulations and encouragement to the Baton bearers throughout relay.
Neetu Chandra has been glowing of late. She’s lost around 10 kgs of weight and is looking sexier than ever before. But do you know the secret behind her new diva-like looks? It’s the food.
No, the babe is not on any diet, but has started being extra cautious about eating healthy. She loves her “ghar ka khana”. And from some time now, she’s off rice, potatoes, fried stuff, pastries, cakes, butter and ghee.
Her rejuvenation trip stretches to her eating out too; her favourite restaurants being Mainland China and Indigo in Lokhandwala. At the latter, she gorges on steamed vegetables, ginger garlic soup and chicken steamed dumplings. In fact, the restaurant guys even make her a customized green salad with special herbs on order.
“You are what you eat, so it becomes all the more important to watch your food. After all, the belly rules the mind,” she quips. Ah, now those sound like words of wisdom, in these times of fast-food. No wonder, the gal exudes radiance nowadays.
On June 25, supermodel Viveka Babajee was found dead under mysterious circumstances. When it came to be known that Viveka was in love with a guy named Gautam Vora, the Police and media began to collect further information in the said matter.
At this time, Gautam Vora is said to have immediately deleted his Facebook account. After this, he was reported untraceable for two days. When he emerged on the scene, it came to be known that he had applied for anticipatory bail.
Gautam strongly denied any serious relationship with Viveka Babajee, stating, they were just “good friends” and nothing more. In propagating this, he was aided by his friend Viren Shah, who also gave several statements and media interviews denying that Gautam and Viveka were ever in love.
Both Gautam and his friend Viren stressed in their interviews that Viveka Babajee was “depressed” and thus committed suicide. This ‘depression theory’ was doing the rounds so strongly for the first few days after her demise, that even the Police seemed to have been influenced by it.
But after Viveka’s funeral, Chautha and last rights were over, through my common friend Mr Jatin Kumar, her family requested me (Dale Bhagwagar) to intervene and put forth some hard facts in front of the media, on their behalf. Addressing the issues as the family’s spokesperson, I revealed that contrary to the belief about Viveka being depressed, she was very cheerful, motivated, courageous and inspiring, till we suddenly heard of the mishap.
I’d stated that according to her mother Mrs Dayawanti Babajee who stays in Mauritius, Viveka had discussed her boyfriend Gautam several times with her, and told her mother that Gautam had proposed, and she had agreed to marry him. Viveka had also made Gautam speak to her mother once over the phone. According to her mother, Gautam had asked Viveka to go for a fertility test to see if she could bear him a baby and also that the couple had matched their horoscopes and were happy that most points, except one, had tallied.
But even after these disclosures, through his friend Viren Shah, Gautam Vora continued to deny his close proximity to Viveka.
With the cooperation of Viveka’s technical advisor and administrator, her family has managed to access her Gmail as well as Facebook accounts, which point towards the fact that the couple were not just friends, but love-birds.
Apart from various emails which indicate that Gautam Vora was madly in love with Viveka, there is also photographic evidence which further signifies their relationship as a couple in love.
The Babajee family feels that this new evidence, which they have managed to procure from Viveka’s Gmail and Facebook accounts, should leave no doubt that Gautam had lied and misguided, both the Police and the media, about the nature of his relationship with Viveka, while spreading the ‘depression theory’ after her death.
In Viveka’s Gmail account, the Babajee family has also found some other shocking obscene photographs which Gautam had sent to Viveka from his BlackBerry phone. But since these photographs are disgustingly pornographic in nature, we haven’t made them public.
Because of the material records available in the said matter, and after scrutinizing the statements made by Gautam Vora, as is appearing in the media reports, it largely appears that Gautam Vora is hiding the truth, for reasons best known to him.
Therefore, the Babajee family requests Gautam Vora to immediately approach the Police and come out with all the truth about Viveka. Without further delay, they also want Gautam Vora to confess to the Police about what exactly happened in the last meeting on the night before the incident, because from his behaviour, it seems that there is much more than what meets the eye. The Babajee family wants Gautam Vora to come up with the truth and nothing but the truth, about the death of Viveka Babajee.
-Dale Bhagwagar, spokesperson for Viveka Babajee’s family
I, Dale Bhagwagar, am here on the request of Viveka Babajee’s family as their spokesperson. Through my friend Mr Jatin Kumar, who is a family friend of the Babajees, they have requested me to help them, as the family is not able to tackle the sudden media attention.
The Babajees are a middle-class family from Mauritius. Viveka Babajee’s mother, Mrs Dayawanti Bajeeram Babajee is an old lady of seventy-six and is unused to such intense media hype and speculation. Moreover, she is completely shaken by the demise of her young daughter and going through tremendous sadness and pain.
Amidst all this, as we all know, there has been a lot of media frenzy and speculation about her daughter’s demise, leading to a lot of different ‘theories’, talks and media stories. Thus, after discussions with Viveka’s mother, I am putting forward what she wishes to convey.
The family is not at Jatin Kumar’s place
Jatin Kumar was one of the first and closest friends of Viveka Babajee. Years ago, when Viveka first came from Mauritius to Mumbai, she had no support here. At that time, she stayed with Jatin Kumar’s family for a few years. She was like a daughter to Jatin’s parents and Jatin and her family, were extremely very fond of her. After Jatin’s parents expired, Jatin was in touch with Viveka, but since he got busy with his film production activities, his interactions with Viveka had lessened over time.
When he heard the news about her demise, he immediately rushed to help her family with all the support they needed. He arranged for the funeral as well as the Choutha, which gave rise to a speculation that the family was staying at his bungalow in Juhu. Inspite of clarifications and requests, the media has not left his bungalow gate since then. I would like to clarify here that the Babjee family is ‘not’ staying at Jatin Kumar’s Juhu residence as reported in the media, but elsewhere in Andheri.
The Babajee family is not running away from media
The Babajee family is too shocked and shaken by the developments of the last few days. At this moment, their priorities are to complete the last rights of Viveka.
When the family landed in India from Mauritius, they were surrounded by a lot of media at the airport. Later, at Viveka’s funeral, the media was again clamouring for visuals and bytes. Then, at the Chautha Ceremony, the family was again surrounded by the media for quotes and bytes about various controversies and speculations.
In the meanwhile, there have been several contradictory and reputation-slandering reports about Viveka and her past life that are appearing in the media every day since her demise.
The Babajee family feels that many of these reports are incorrect are exaggerated. These instances have made the family stay away from the limelight. They do not want to discuss their grief in public and that is why they have preferred to remain silent and away from the media. They have requested the media to respect their privacy at their delicate moment of sadness and sorrow.
The Police investigation is on and the family will decide their further course of action after the investigation.
The Babajee family does not agree with the ‘depression theory’
We are continuously hearing in the media that Viveka Babajee was ‘depressed’. But her mother, Mrs Dayawanti Babajee, strongly denies this ‘theory’.
Viveka was the youngest of her four daughters. Viveka’s father was a Superintendent of Prisons in Mauritius. After his demise, her mother, who was also a teacher for some time, single-handedly raised her four daughters in Mauritius.
Viveka went on to become Miss Mauritius and came to Bombay after that. According to her mother, apart from having a passion for fashion, Viveka had a good sense of music. She was courageous and a go-getter. She was an independent girl with leadership qualities, had a helping nature and was also financially supporting her mother.
Whoever made friends with Viveka, she touched their hearts. With a huge friend circle, she was always cheerful and motivated, even sounding spiritual at times.
At 10pm on June 23, two days before the mishap, Viveka sent an sms to her mom which read: “Hi ma, have been shooting today. Had a good day. Just reached home. Hope you ok, my little fairy. Love you.” After this message, her mother called her up and spoke to her. According to her, Viveka was ‘not depressed’ at all.
If one also glances though Viveka’s last few posts on Facebook, it is easily realized that she wasn’t ‘depressed’. In fact, her last posts on the social network, clearly convey her as a fighter and an inspiring person. And that is why, the sudden turn of events and her death is all the more shocking.
All this also means that the ‘depression theory’ doing the rounds is incorrect.
Viveka was indeed going around with Gautam Vora and they had been considering marriage
Viveka had discussed her boyfriend Gautam Vora with her mother several times. She had also made Gautam speak to her mother once over the phone.
According to her mother, Viveka found Gautam a kind and soft-spoken person. She had told her mother, he had proposed her. She’d said, Gautam also wanted to confirm if Viveka could bear him a baby when they married, and had asked her to visit a doctor for a check-up. He even wanted to accompany her to a doctor, but Viveka told her mother, she planned to go alone.
Viveka had also told her mother that Gautam had matched their kundalis and they were happy that all the points tallied, except one point about naadi (i.e. pulse).
All this shows that Viveka was ‘indeed’ going around with Gautam Vora and they had been seriously considering marriage.
The next steps…
The family has come to Mumbai and has been busy with the last rights. After the Chautha, Viveka’s family drove to Nasik yesterday, where they immersed the ashes.
The family has been in India from just four days and is waiting for the Police investigation for more clues. After that, they will consider legal options.
-Dale Bhagwagar, spokesperson for Viveka Babajee’s family
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