Tuesday, October 26, 2010


India is a nation with 42 percent of the world's underweight children younger than 5, according to Washington's International Food Policy Research Institute. India also boasts 69 billionaires. India also added 42,800 millionaires last year, a 50 percent jump.
According to a local edition of Forbes in November, the wealthiest 100 Indians are collectively worth $276 billion, while their top 100 Chinese counterparts are worth $170 billion. (Put another way, the three wealthiest Indians have more cash than the top 24 Chinese.)

India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is having a housewarming in Mumbai this week to show folks around his new $1-billion home, seven years in the making, is 400,000 square feet on 27 floors, all for a family of six. The building boasts a 168-space lot. Or avoid Mumbai's nightmarish traffic altogether by landing on one of three helipads. Of course there's a swimming pool and yoga studio. Or, by some accounts, also an ice room to escape the Mumbai heat, infused with man-made snow flurries. Then there's the mini-theater, three balconies with terrace gardens, the health club, spectacular views of the Arabian Sea (and the Mumbai slums).The new building, which reportedly requires 600 staff members to keep Ambani, wife Nita, their three children and Ambani's mother in the style they'll soon become accustomed to. The structure was designed by U.S. architects using principles of Vaastu, Indian traditional geomancy akin to Chinese feng shui, to maximize "positive energy." No two floor plans are alike. Despite their fabulous wealth, Ambani family members are not spendthrifts.Wife Nita said in an interview the couple decided not to stay in the presidential suite at New York's Four Seasons Hotel recently because the rate seemed too steep, opting instead for an executive suite!

Among India's other more ostentatious billionaires is Vijay Mallya, a liquor and airline baron with 250 vintage cars, a yacht once owned by Richard Burton and a penchant for flashy diamond ear studs.

Then there is steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, who threw a six-day, $60 million wedding for his daughter in 2004 in a rented French chateau with performances by Bollywood stars and complimentary airfare for 1,000 guests.

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