During my recent trip to India for the Ford Ecosport launch, I had the privilege of doing a Mumbai city tour with a very enthusiastic tour guide.
I finally got to see the controversial private residence of Mukesh Ambani (estimated at over $1 billion) deemed to be the most expensive residence on Earth.
The 27-story, 400,000-square foot monstrosity of a building, aptly named after a mythical island the stand loud and proudly standing amidst the hustle and bustle of the Mumbai streets, was a mystery to me!
It boasts six underground levels of parking, a few helicopter landing pads and several floors of party spaces (so we are told by the tour guide). A staff of almost 600 locals maintains the residence. SERIOUSLY!
The ANTILLIA is situated on Altamount Road in South Mumbai is one the most expensive streets in the world. Designed by a Chicago based architect firm Perkins & Will, I simply didn’t get the hype or the thinking of his Mukesh person. Forget artistic and expensive, it was ugly period. With 27 extra-high ceilinged floors, it can also survive an 8-richter scale earthquake (great for India).
My initial reaction was disgust at such opulence amid such extreme poverty. Mumbai having some of the worst slums in the world, and then seeing this, made me feel ashamed to be a human being. I was quickly advised however by my tour guide that the owner was a very charitable person and gave tremendous amount of money to the poor. He seemed proud of such an ugly building which he boasted about for ages. Guess I still feel disgusted.
While babies are surviving in the streets below, parties are being thrown in Antillia. Even for me, Miss Party 2010, I simply can’t make sense of such waste.
Anyway you decide….