Her name is synonymous with the riveting Jessica Lal case that took India by storm, but Bina Ramani, a fashion designer, restaurateur, social worker, socialite and now author has contributed more to the world than the sordid details of the infamous murder. Her autobiography, Bird in a Banyan Tree, sheds light on this riveting woman as she shares the many chapters of her evolving life.
Divulging candid details of her love affair with the late Shammi Kapoor, Bina recalls how Raj Kapoor’s wife Krishna played a vital role in bringing the two together and how Raj Kapoor ultimately kept them apart. Bina went on to marry her first husband Andy Ramani in a marriage that cast the young woman in the role of abused and tormented wife.
Soon divorced and raising two daughters ((Malini and Gitanjali), Bina made ends meet by starting her own fashion line and in the process, transforming the sleepy Hauz Kauz village in Delhi into the hot fashion district it has become today. From there, her connections took her to the top of the international jet set with friends that included Rekha, Indira Gandhi and top families of India. In 1984, she joined the flock of Indian tantrik Chandraswami which brought her closer to names such as Adnan Khashoggi, the Sultan of Brunei, Elizabeth Taylor and Margaret Thatcher.
With her many social connections and high profile friends, Ramani catered to India’s entertainment-starved elite by setting up her No Exit nightclub in Delhi followed by Tamarind Court Café which later morphed in the restaurant Once Upon a Time that staged the scene of Jessica Lal’s murder.
The infamous case upturned Ramani and her family who were thrown into a tumultuous merry-go-round of courts, jails, lawyers and media. In Bird in a Banyan Tree, Ramani speaks candidly of the case and the effects it had on her and her family. From her ten nights held in an Indian jail, to the categorical defilement of her reputation by the political powers that be, Ramani details the Lal case from the intimacy of her viewpoint.
At a recent reading in New York City held by the Indo American Arts Council, Ramani spoke in conversation with TV personality Nina Griscom about the many facets of her life. From her thoughts on love and marriage and her relationship with her current husband George Mailhot, to living a life with conviction, to details of the Lal case, Ramani continues to be an inspirational and interesting personality. Her book makes for an interesting read.
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Rupa Publishers; 2013 edition (November 1, 2013)
Available at Amazon.com