New Delhi (The Hawk): In a shocking revealation it has come to light that Hema Deora, mother of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee President Milind Deora + widow of Mumbai "Strong Man" Murli Deora, MRCC President from 1980 to 2000-odd, is Ist cousin of Shiv Sena founder late Balasaheb Thakeray who during his lifetime never ever spoke a single word against MurliBhai nor opposed him. In return, Murli Deora too never ever spoke against Thackeray nor commented on Shiv Sena in any way to save his marriage with Hema who in turn always stood by her hubby dear and she is now also a full fledged Congress-supporting mom via Milind. Yes during his life time, MurliBhai never ever spoke a word against Sena provoking many of his compatriots to comment that he was soft toward the Sena. Deora remained oblivious to such disparaging comments because he enjoyed full confidence of late Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao etc. Main reason for that is ascribed to his being highest fund collector for the Congress like none then. As is well known, money silences even the most true golden truth. Murli Deora exploited that aspect to extreme dur8ing his life time. Same being followed now in toto by Milind, present MRCC President and former Union Minister in toto, say those who know him intimately.
Hema Deora herself remains unperturbed as expected of her because she is out and out Mumbaikar who does not believe in back biting but everything +ve and in that legacy, acquired from MurliBhai Deora, is true to its spirit which she has infused in Milind as well.
But while the Mumbai tabloid categorises her column as "timepass", bridge is anything but that for the 67-year-old former interior designer, who is set to represent India at the Asian Games later this month. Bridge is featuring in the Asian Games for the first time and Deora is one of the 24 players in the Indian squad who will be flying to Indonesia.
Hema Deora is the wife of the late Murli Deora, a former Member of Parliament who had also served as the mayor of Mumbai and was the president of the Congress party's regional committee in the city for 22 years from 1981 to 2003.
Hema Deora never played bridge till she was almost 50 years old. Born in a traditional Maharashtrian family, her father never allowed any card games to be played in the house. It was only after she got married that Deora was introduced to bridge.
Her husband Murli Deora, who had picked up the game during his college days, used to spend hours on weekends playing it with friends. "He was a marvadi and most of them play bridge," said Hema Deora, laughing. "He used to be so engrossed in it. I used to make him and his friends such nice tea and they would never even acknowledge. "I remember one day I asked him if he enjoyed the quiche I made. He said, 'I don't remember.' I said, 'This is a bit too much.' What is so fascinating about this game that they totally forget everything else?" Deora never understood the fascination until she started playing bridge herself in 1999 after her two children went to university. "In the beginning I was very bad," she said. "I literally had to learn the basics of cards – what is spade, heart, diamond, clubs."
Deora hired a coach, JM Shah, who had started playing bridge in his hostel room at the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, in the sixties and has represented India several times. Within less than two years, Deora participated in a national selection trial and won it, which gave her the chance to represent India for the first time, for a tournament in Sri Lanka.
"We won the trophy and then went to Bermuda for the world championship, but we didn't do well there," she said. Deora has since represented India in places such as Shanghai, Karachi, Monte Carlo, Tokyo and Jordan.
Now Hema, The Mumbai Prima Donna, is veritably Deora's Pride, Others' Envy…Doesn't matter at all.