Articles

A FAIRY TALE ENDING

AFTERNOON DESPATCH & COURIER, 29/06/00

Meera and her 3
children: Kiran, Kanika
and Kabir

Inside the historic
house

The neo-Renaissance
five-storey house
that was once owned
by Eleanor Roosevelt
(inset,) the famous
wife of Franklin
Delano Roosevelt

Do Fairy tales exist? Yes, the life that Meera Gandhi shares with her husband. Vikram does not fall short of a story with a happy ending. And this happy ending is a new beginning for the two. Meera and Vikram were the proverbial childhood sweethearts. They were in the same class at the Cathedral School, where the two fell in love, and have stayed in love ever since. "He was my first love. Fifteen years and three kids later, we're still having fun", she giggles.

While the city has read and heard, ad nauseam, about Meera's parties, her lifestyle and her friends, it must be kept in mind that Meera is not your run-of- the-mill ivory tower princess. She detests being called a socialite, and prefers being known as an educationist for the play school she ran which will now continue at the American School.

Meera, with family in tow, moved to the USA last night. Her new home in New York's Manhattan has caused much envy and speculation amongst some, but the fact remains that the house is a grand and extraordinary townhouse.

Previously owned by Eleanor Roosevelt, the opulent structure stands five storeys high. Meera is a great admirer of the deceased First Lady who had shattered the traditional mould in which a First Lady was to conform to. She had devoted her entire life to public service. She had supported Women's rights and the rights of soldiers in war. "I would really like some of Eleanor's goodness of spirit to come into the house", says Meera ..

The historically significant house was built of limestone in 1898. It's unusually spacious interiors require an elevator for that 'New York lifestyle'. It is constructed in the neo-renaissance styla with a columnar portico, classical detailing, six large bedrooms and eight fireplaces. The interiors are partially done but will be completely ready by the end of the year. It is being done by Kenneth Alpert, the most renowned decorator in New York for period houses.

"I want to add a lot of Indianness in my new home," says Meera. "I want to add a lot of zardozi in the upholstery, drapery and table linen especially in the entertaining rooms. The decorator is very excited about that as well."

"What I am really hoping for is a home where friends and family will be able to enjoy themselves in the times to come", says a nostalgic Meera.