September 23rd ushered in the arrival of Maa Durga with Mahalaya shlokas reverberating through every nook and corner of Kolkata. But little did we know of the added surprise the day had for us in store.
Around 2.30 in the afternoon, Soha Mansoor Ali Khan, daughter of the heavy weight celebrity couple, the late “Tiger” Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and his wife, erstwhile top Bollywood actress, Sharmila Tagore, stepped into Coloroso with the nonchalant ease of any client we have hosted in our store.
It was hard to get on board with her girl-next-door charms in the beginning. After all, the delicately petite woman repeatedly reminded you of her royal lineage, inheriting her porcelain-pretty good looks from her mother, who was not only one of the most beautiful woman of her times, but also a descendant of the most influential man of Bengal, Tagore. But Soha seemed to be a league of her own. Sidelining all the ostentatious mannerisms that you would associate a royal offspring with, she started sifting through the fresh Durga Puja collection at the store with such childlike enthusiasm that you would be forced to forget that each of the fine chiffons that her mother wears are all imported from France. The one-time presenter of the very popular reality show on fashion, What Not to Wear which was aired on the Travel and Living Channel (TLC) and one which she co-hosted with ace country designer Aki Narula, also readily admitted that she knew absolutely nothing about sarees, and gracefully became the student to Ms. Tanuka Sarkar’s tutoring on saree fabrics and weaves.
Like on one instance, when the price of one of the sarees she inquired about was quoted as “6.5”, she gullibly asked if it was Rs. 6.5 thousand, or Rs. 6.5 lakhs, confessing later that she would have easily believed if the sarees were quoted for lakhs of rupees, since they were so exquisite. She also seemed to be very less in need of any assistance, pulling out sarees from the racks herself, and draping herself in them before the life-size mirror at the store, spending considerable amount of time choosing between colors and designs, frequently asking Ms. Sarkar for her suggestions. She finally settled on a Rani pink Chanderi tissue saree (revealing that the color was her favorite), a royal purple Banarasi tussar, and a bridal red Banarasi dupatta.
So floored was she with the vast array, that she promised to come back within this month to pick up some more sarees, terming the store as filled with “endless shopping material”. She also asked for a card from Mr. Joydeep Roy, while chitchatting with the brand-owners on everything starting from her soon-to-release movie, Chaarfutiya Chhokare, to visiting Kolkata on the auspicious day of Mahalaya to getting the opportunity of learning so much about sarees while shopping at the store. Before she took off to the airport, from where she would be flying back to Mumbai, she left a souvenir in the form of a selfie with brand owner, Mr. Joydeep Roy.