The Masani family had three things in common: they were all very good-looking, successful and uninhibited. The one I knew best was Meher. She was head of the External Services of the All India Radio. Her name was attached with a succession of directors-general of India’s broadcasting services. Meher never bothered to get married. She was much sought after in Delhi’s elite circles and was active in defending Nirad C. Chaudhuri who was being relentlessly persecuted by the government for provocatively dedicating his Autobiography of An Unknown Indian to the British Empire, which “made, shaped and quickened” all that “was good and living within us”.
Zareer Masani’s father, Minoo, was into multiple marriages. He had two broken marriages before he married Shakuntala, the daughter of Sir J.P. Srivastava, then member of the Viceroy’s executive council. Pandit Nehru denounced him as the most corrupt minister in the government. The Minoo-Shakuntala marriage proved disastrous from the start and soon ended in a divorce. But she left behind a son, Zareer, who settled down in London with a job in the BBC. He is gay and gifted. Minoo went on to marry twice again. Shakuntala had numerous love affairs before she died a painful death in London.
Zareer’s account of his parents’ unhappy marriage makes good reading, and is that rare thing—a memoir that reads like a novel. I recommend And All is Said to all readers.