“We’re reaching in 15!” reads an urgently typed message to Michelle Poonawalla on WhatsApp. The HELLO! team is running way behind schedule for a shoot with the svelte mother of two at her home in Pune. We are travelling from Mumbai (now at breakneck speed) to capture this fairytale like mansion and its inhabitants, but courtesy some unforgiving traffic, the gates of the Poonawalla home are only swung open for us 30 minutes later. The first glance of the property has you hooked instantly – a garage with an enviable fleet of sports and luxury cars, belonging to Yohan Poonawalla, Chairman and Managing Director of the Poonawalla Engineering Group; then a paved driveway that leads to the façade of a stately home, a large tree house for the children to play in, a garden and mini stable that is home to four proud little Shetland ponies (one of whom will make a cameo in a shot later today) and several other little animals that we catch glimpses of along the way. We also come across an art studio for Michelle that’s currently under construction, a garage for the largest model airplane in the world – and all this is before we even set foot inside the house!
The interior of the home is another statement altogether – plush but sophisticated, rich but tasteful. The vast black and white marbled floor is complemented by a beautiful wooden ceiling, from which chandeliers sparkle happily. Michelle’s trademark but