October 31, 2021 3:39:26 pm
A memoir of Raj Kapoor’s daughter Ritu Nanda takes a closer look at her life and also the varied roles she played, including a celebrated insurance advisor and creator of the popular Niky Tasha kitchenette range.
Written by Sathya Saran, “Being Ritu: The Unforgettable Story of Ritu Nanda” released on Saturday, coinciding with her birth anniversary. Nanda passed away last year after a prolonged fight with cancer.
Saran says Nanda’s story is steeped in all the qualities of the human heart that one prizes most: compassion, love, joie de vivre, generosity, courage and fortitude. It is a “story about a person who touched the lives of everyone she met in immeasurable ways”.
As Raj Kapoor’s daughter, she was part of the first family of Bollywood. Her marriage to Rajan Nanda of the Escorts Group led to her joining another illustrious family. Yet, she went on to carve her own identity as an insurance advisor and even got her name into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Published by HarperCollins India, “Being Ritu” is the story of a woman who shed her shyness and stepped into the limelight, taking on a variety of roles.
It’s about her quiet determination, grace and courage as she lived every moment to its fullest, even while battling a dreaded disease, and touched the lives of everyone around her.
The book has tributes from Amitabh Bachchan, family members Randhir Kapoor, Rima Jain, Kareena Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor, as well as acquaintances like Karan Johar, Sonali Bendre, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Gauri Khan and many others.
Bachchan has written a note in the book, describing Nanda as “ever giving, ever caring, ever gracious in her demeanour” and one who lived life in the “beauty of each season”. Bachchan’s daughter Shweta is the daughter-in-law of Nanda.
The book has several anecdotes, right from Nanda’s school and college days to her marriage, and from her venture into the Escorts Group to how she conceptualised and came up with the Niky Tasha kitchenette range.
“Perhaps inspired by the colour-coordinated kitchen spaces with neatly stacked appliances in place for easy access, Ritu decided she could do her bit to change Indian kitchens too. Till then, kitchens in Indian homes were neglected spaces, relegated to the woman of the house or her servants; often dingy and smoky, or, at best, barely serviceable if equipped with a gas stove and cylinder,” the book says.
Combining the many aspects of cooking that included cooking multiple dishes with the fact that many urban Indian women were also venturing into making baked dishes for special occasions, or baking cakes, Nanda conceptualised the multi-appliance kitchenette that would combine multiple gas or electric burners with an oven.
“Besides its utility, it was aesthetically a conversation piece; something that demanded the kitchen be upgraded to accommodate its good looks and functions,” Saran writes.
And thus the Niky Tasha kitchenette range was born.
“Combining the names of her children, Nikhil and Nitasha, the fond mother named her new baby, Niky Tasha,” the book says. Nanda became an LIC agent in 1988 and By 1993, she was the top agent in Delhi.
“Ritu Nanda’s name is a lighthouse for every LIC agent through the decades, ever since she made insurance history by entering the Guinness Book of World Records,” the book says.
She also started a life insurance business – Ritu Nanda Insurance Services (RNIS).
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