Tuesday 21 November 2017

Loyal butler from Nepal inherits top NY estate

Verena Dobnik in New York

He was a young farmer raised in a straw, mud and stone house in Nepal who became a jet-setter, meeting the likes of Andy Warhol and John Lennon.

Indra Tamang now owns two apartments in the famed Dakota building off New York City's Central Park and a collection of Russian surrealist art inherited from his employers.

For 36 years, Ruth Ford and her brother Charles Ford relied on "Indra darling" -- as she often called him -- to serve them on three continents. Mr Tamang was ever present in the apartments he now owns, available around the clock as Ruth Ford's health deteriorated.

She died in August aged 98, leaving nothing to her estranged daughter and two grandchildren.

Charles Ford noticed Tamang's skills as a waiter in a Nepalese hotel, and hired him in 1973.

Becoming a sort of surrogate son, Mr Tamang shared Mr Ford's adventures. In Paris, home was a studio on the Ile St Louis. And there was a house on Crete. In New York, they had a small apartment at the Dakota, four floors above Mr Ford's sister, who starred on Broadway in William Faulkner's 'Requiem for a Nun' and was the widow of actor Zachary Scott.


Mr Tamang was there at celebrity-studded parties the Fords hosted or attended, taking pictures of famous figures that were later published in Charles Ford's books and exhibited in Manhattan galleries. Mr Ford died in 2002.

In recent years, Mr Tamang was on call even at home in New York's borough of Queens.

Ruth Ford's daughter, Shelley Scott, received a settlement negotiated with the estate, said Arnie Herz, Ms Scott's lawyer. Mr Tamang agreed to the resolution, whose details remain confidential, Mr Herz said.

Ms Scott is "very happy" for Mr Tamang, Herz said, and she "personally did not make a penny out of the modest settlement, because she gave it all away."

Mr Tamang organised Buddhist funeral rites for Charles Ford, who followed the Buddhist philosophy, and then for Ruth Ford, after her Christian funeral in an Anglican church.

While the Fords lived, Mr Tamang said his salary was so modest his wife had to work to help support the family.

Irish Independent

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