In High Steam

Padma Lakshmi has put her personal pain on the backburner and is seeking solace through helping the Aids victims in the country.

Padma Lakshmi, being what she is, never fails to attract eyeballs. Wherever she goes, whatever she does. No wonder then, when the cook book author-cum-model-cum actress who flew to the Capital (on her own expenses, we were told) on Saturday for an Aids awareness campaign, she was surrounded by shutterbugs, all scrambling for the ‘perfect’ photo-op.
Padma, who has been coping with the pang of parting with hubby Salman Rushdie, has her heart in the right place. She has committed herself to spread the awareness about Aids by being a spokesperson of the campaign called Lend Your Voice, spearheaded by an NGO called Act Now India (ANI) and the tele show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa.
Dressed in white top, suede jacket and boots, when the bombshell walked in at the conference at the Imperial hotel, she not just sent many a heart aflutter but also took temperatures a few notches up. Eyes turned. The stunner chief guest had arrived, sporting a new hair-do (It could not go unnoticed, could it?). As the sexy seductress ensconced herself, taking her jacket off, giving an iota of a ‘hope’ for those waiting to freeze frames to go ‘figure,’ one could only think of the title of her latest book: Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet. All the four words somehow seemed apt to define her. There was high tea waiting. But who cares for anything when there’s Padma around?
She sat through the conference (till her turn came to wield the mike, that is), looking towards the entrance every now and then. Did someone say that Rushdie was expected too? Well, even if he was, Padma (who wore the jacket back, leaving the lensmen with a lot to imagine) had certainly other things to talk about than her relationship with the author of Midnight’s Children.
However, the ache of parting did surface even as she began to speak from the heart about something very ‘personal’. “As you all know, things have not been too good in my personal life. I was having something of a breakdown,” she said, with a twinge of melancholy.
Padma, however, is not the kind who would be cowed down by ‘difficulties.’ After all, doesn’t everything happen for a reason? And isn’t there something called Divine Providence? “Angels come into your life in all sorts of way. Sometimes, they come when you don’t have even time for them,” she says. While Padma may have found her angel in Supriya Sen who’s at the forefront of the campaign and convinced Padma to join it, the model has set her agenda for the future. And a lot of this involves reaching out to the people in need, like the Aids victims.
While the ground beneath her feet might have shaken when Padma parted, she seems to let it be a bygone. To beat the blues she went for a mane makeover. And now she seems to be very much on the ground, aware of much that is ‘happening around.’ Having walked for top-notch people from the world of haute couture like Emmanuel Ungaro, Ralph Lauren, and Alberta Ferretti, she is all set to walk into the “hearts” of a zillion people, trying to cope with the “pandemic’. “I am doing this out of a personal gratitude for the country. It gives me more benefit to fight the disease as I think I am in a position to do so. We have to think of HIV/Aids as our personal problem. It’s only then that we’ll be able to fight the scourge and the stigma attached to it,” said Padma.
When it was all over, it was scramble again. For high tea? Nah. Padma was still around.

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