The stars of political and social galaxies would descend on Auckland in January 2011 to witness what promises to be a unique and spectacular wedding of a Beauty Queen and a US based entrepreneur.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble are some of the celebrities who are expected to be present as Pooja Chitgopeker takes the hand of Chicago businessman Vikram Aditya Kumar in Auckland.
The celebrity circle will be complete if the frontline New Zealand leadership decides to join in the three-day festivities.
As well as a sterling dinner night at the Langham Hotel, the festivities would include religious observances, social gatherings and a spectacular wedding ceremony at Formosa Club in South Auckland.
You could be forgiven for thinking that all of the above sounds like a Bollywood set.
More than three years ago, Pooja said ‘No’ to offers from the Hindi film industry.
The ‘come hither calls’ came in the wake of her success as Miss India Earth, a prestigious, much sought-after Femina title and later as Miss Earth Air 2007 (equivalent of First Runner Up, Miss Earth) in the global competition.
“The experience was great with worldwide attention and the modelling assignments that preceded the contest were rigorous but fun. But my heart and soul remain in the field of medicine,” she said during an informal chat last week.
That was consistent with what she had told us eight years ago soon after winning the first Miss Indianz Title (Indian Newslink, June 2002) and two years thereafter when we featured her as a young television anchor (Indian Newslink, August 1, 2004).
Her ambition to become a doctor would be fulfilled as she graduates on November 15 from the University of Auckland, while her dream of being a popular plastic surgeon would see the light of the day as she moves to Chicago soon after her wedding.
Born in England (Manchester), Pooja was a product of Auckland’s Diocesan School for Girls, which challenges young women to realise their potential. If its motto, ‘ut serviamus’ (‘we live to serve’) left a deep impression in her, just wait before it surfaces as she launches her medical vocation!
There is good reason for her ambition to pursue a career in medicine. Her father (Dr Mohan Chitgopeker) is a renowned general practitioner (now in Melbourne) and her mother Aruna has tended to her children (their son Chetan is a second year undergraduate student in Bachelor of Aviation in Melbourne) with a care so special that it should be seen to be believed-the result is a curious combination.
Towering above her is Vikram, who has the makings of a Chief Executive.
Born, raised and educated in Chicago, he is being groomed as the next-generation leader of Autotech Viktron Group, established by his father Shalabh Kumar in 1975.
With operations worldwide and offices in Bangalore, the Company is arguably a leader in the manufacture of industrial control products including Surface Mount Technology (SMT) and Information Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and Printed Circuit Boards.
Vikram is every inch an entrepreneur with a vision and mission in life and career.
“The company is well established in North America and we would like to grow in the South Asian and South East Asian markets, utilising the existing and emerging opportunities,” he said.
1. Pooja Chitgopeker with her Crown
2. Pooja with her Prince Vikram