I read Amitabh's blog quite regularly on my RSS feeds imported on google reader. Here's his report of his friend the last king of Jaipur Bhavani Singh Jaipur who expired recently. Bhavani Singh or "Bubbles" was the last in the lineage of Jaipur kings. He, it turns out, was the great, great grandson of Jai Singh who established Jaipur.
"A humble man, caring and considerate, pet named Bubbles by his family, because of the very large amount of champagne that was opened by his Father, at the time of his birth. A handsome attractive prince, who lived a charmed life. For sometime he served in the Indian Army and was posted in the Presidents Bodyguard at Rashtrapati Bhavan. When we lived in Delhi at 13, Willingdon Crescent, a road that ran along the boundary of the President of India's house, Bubbles would often drive past in his Ford Thunderbird convertible - a most favored car with the young of those times. And as I would be walking across to South Avenue some 100 yards away to catch my college bus for University, I would see him impeccably dressed in his uniform, driving along and would wonder if I would ever be able to someday get a ride in it - not imagined ever that I would be in a situation where I would be able to acquire similar facilities - mostly the car !
"But time and circumstance changed. After joining the movies I happened to be shooting 'Ganga ki Saugandh' an early years film in Jaipur and met up with him and spent quite a bit of time in his company and his polo buddies. A smaller palace of his that had been opened and refurbished for the Queen of England's visit, had now been converted into a private Hotel and we were staying there. One evening he invited us over to a party at his friends place and graciously offered to drive us there. Yes … you got it … it was that Ford Thunderbird that I used to see him in with envy, that he pulled out that day and I could not but marvel at the wonders of fate and allied coincidences.
"Bubbles, great great grandfather, I think, Maharaja Jai Singh founded Jaipur the city. It got its name Jaipur from him. Jai Singh was the one that planned the Pink City, as it is now referred to. It was so modern in concept and geometric in its presence that many town planners after copied his ideas. The way Los Angeles is planned, with long stretches of roads and systematic streets is something inspired from Jaipur, because that is how it was first designed, planned and executed."
Just imagine this: a middle class youth seeing a prince in his resplendent (though, I hardly consider it that, but nevertheless) chariot aspiring to sit in it and fulfilling it, albeit later in his life. I think Amitabh's life is the story of how humbleness can grow to fame and fortune in India. His is a classic study of struggle, many ups, many downs and still being humble about it. The man is humble. I would give that to him in addition to all other things. In fact, some events in his life may have humbled him. Anyway, I wish him well.