With the Arabian Sea waves gently kissing its regal foundations, a cool salty breeze or gales -- depending on the season -- enveloping it round the year, Mumbais famed Samudra Mahal is again in the headlines.
A veritable playground of the royalty, Richie riches, high-and-mighty and a few shady characters, too, the 'Sea Palace' was once owned by the Gwalior Kingdom's rulers -- the Scindias, a Hindu Maratha family with roots in Maharashtra -- and many of its descendents continue to rule the roost in modern political era.
Among the bigwigs ensconced here include a duplex-terrace flat owned by the Scindia family who often visit the building, and since the past few years, their tenant and Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor, currently under a cloud for his alleged murky dealings.
A couple of years ago, it was the fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, who was another respectable resident, occasionally he and mostly wife Ami Modi, joining Diwali and Holi celebrations merrily with the other residents, until the family quietly disappeared one day, according to a current member of the society.
Ditto was the case with the absconder liquor and aviation baron, Vijay Mallya, who simply vanished one day and the neighbours learnt about it only through media headlines of his business scams.
The spirit of another shady corporate raider, Manu R. Chhabria, once a prominent resident here, also roams free on the Samudra Mahal complex.
Image: What do Vijay, Rana and Nirav have in common? Samudra Mahal.
Text: Quaid Najmi, IANS