The romantic side of Harish Salve

Salve's wife Trina Akbar is the granddaughter of the last king of Afghanistan

Between the sharp sartorial choices of the UK’s first lady Akshata Sunak (Can we please stop calling her Mrs Murthy?) at the recent G20 extravaganza in Delhi, and the even sharper responses to Harish Salve’s third wedding celebrations in London, India’s chattering classes were spoilt for choice. Both celebs threatened to upstage the G20 extravaganza. People forgot all about the great Delhi Declaration and gobbled up every morsel about these two public figures. Akshata has been crowned a bona fide fashionista on social media, while the jury is still out debating whether or not Salve, 68,—the former solicitor general of India—has finally found his soul mate in Trina Akbar, 61 (third time lucky)? There was a great deal of masala generated at Salve’s wedding reception, held at Masala Zone amidst an interesting star cast of family and friends, including Lalit Modi, Lakshmi Mittal and Gopichand Hinduja.

The thing about Salve’s discreet wedding is the exaggerated political reactions to the news. It had to do with Salve’s nomination to the eight-member committee for studying and submitting a report on the possibilities of ‘one nation, one election’. While Lalit Modi played master of ceremonies and raised a toast to the blissed out newly-weds, various politicos fumed and raised objections, claiming that the third time married gentleman is driving the fate of our democracy. Calm down! What has Salve’s third shaadi got to do with his impressive legal credentials? So what if a controversial meat trader from Delhi named Moin Qureshi is supposed to have played cupid in this match? Or that Salve divorced his second wife, Caroline Brossard, after a short-lived marriage, which took place after Salve divorced Meenakshi, his wife of 38 years? These are deeply personal choices. Matters of the heart cannot be contested as easily as say, some of the big legal cases Salve has fought and won. In 2020, Salve was appointed as a Queen’s Counsel for the courts of England and Wales. According to the grapevine, Salve today is a partner in Golistan, a company he has set up with his newest wife, who, friends say, is the granddaughter of the last king of Afghanistan.

Harish Salve and wife Trina Akbar Harish Salve and wife Trina Akbar

Salve not just marches to a different beat, he dances to it! He is an ace dancer, who can out jive anyone half his age. Watch his moves on the dance floor, and John Travolta can take a walk. How do I know? I jived with him briefly at a wedding once, and promptly collapsed after a few moments. I had my excuse—I am older! Salve is unstoppable. Not just on the dance floor. Our few conversations were lively and engaging enough for me to propose a book. We had a fairly lengthy conversation in Delhi, and Salve seemed interested, if somewhat distracted. After a few follow-up calls, I backed off, not wanting to be a pest. Such a pity. Being persistent can be a huge virtue. Lawyers are persistent. That is how they win big ticket cases.

It will be fun to monitor what happens next in the opulent life of a flamboyant lawyer, who clearly doesn’t give a damn about narrow-minded public opinion back home in India. He knows how to handle celebrity status…. and celebrities. Internationally, Salve arguing the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, caused major ripples and propelled the senior advocate into a different league.

Perhaps, it is time for the romantic in him to take precedence over demanding court work. If he’s wearing his heart on his sleeve and focusing on matters of the ‘dil’ over legal matters, let’s rejoice for him. For now, it is honeymoon time for the love birds. Complicated legal cases can wait….