Angutha Baba

As he knotted his sunset yellow silk tie into a neat upturned triangle, he muttered to himself, "Perfect!"

Perfect was how he liked things. From his crisp Italian cotton shirt and shining shoes to his clockwork schedule, everything was simply spot on. His card read, "Saurav Kumar, Senior Analyst, Synthetic Equities, Affaires Internationales Bank".

He dabbed the final bit of Chanel No 5 on his wrists. It felt good, he felt good. Right at that moment, he was a man completely in love with himself.
There were of course people who were incapable of understanding such finesse. A prime example was the low life that was lying on a bed in the adjoining room with his ass pointing at the ceiling.

Bagchi, he was called.
Saurav had no idea why anyone would pay Bagchi for anything. For starters, he never saw him awake; all he ever saw was Bagchi's ass pointing at the ceiling. He was almost always late on his bills and Saurav was prepared to swear that Bagchi had never touched the washing machine. Everything about him reeked of Old Monk Rum, which apparently was the only thing that Bagchi ever drank. No wonder why the ceiling was pretty much what Bagchi's ass ever got to see.

Not that Saurav wanted to see him awake anyway. On a rare morning that Bagchi had a bit of trouble with his digestion, he caught Saurav in middle of his 'dabbing Chanel No 5 on his wrists' ritual.

"Why do you do that?", Bagchi shot a question as he sank into the living room couch, toothbrush in hand and mouth brimming with foam.
"Do what?” Saurav made little attempt to hide his irritation.
 "This", Bagchi replied nonchalantly, rubbing his wrists in imitation. A few tiny drops of white Colgate foam raced out landing dangerously close to Saurav.

Saurav paused in exasperation. Part of him just wanted to slap all the foam out of Bagchi. The rest of him wanted to see him lay bricks for the rest of his life.
"I haven't got time for that now, gotta rush", Saurav said as he walked out.

"Whatever works for you”, Bagchi called out as Saurav could feel the brimming foam spraying all over the living room.


2.

Just as he slipped his right foot into his shoe, pain shot through his big toe.

A chill ran down his spine.

He slowly brought his foot out and removed his sock, his nerves taut in anticipation. And there it was, an inch long nail sticking out of his big toe. 
Just like yesterday. He poked at it with a finger and discovered a small amount of pain.

Yesterday it was his left big toe where the inch long nail had appeared. He never missed trimming his nails every alternate night, so an inch nail one morning was shocking. He had dismissed it as an unimportant aberration.
But today, he was nothing short of alarmed, considering that he had double checked all 20 fingers last night.

Walking past Bagchi's room to get his nail trimmer, he could almost visualize Bagchi snigger, "Not so perfect now, eh?"

As the cab drove him to his office, Saurav considered his options.
Well, it was an abnormal nail each morning. No big deal, he told himself. Maybe it was some rare medical condition. It had to be.
The thought calmed him down. After a couple of deep breaths, a solution presented itself. He had to see a doctor about it, end of story.

Relaxed, he whipped out his smartphone.
"So, who do you see about a nail", he muttered to himself. 
He googled 'nails'. Along with a multitude of images of dotted nail art, he found a wiki page that said 'Nail (anatomy)' right at the top. It was an interesting page with details of parts of a nail, some geeky facts like 'nails contain 7-12% water' and a usual host of information.

Eventually he found what he needed in the 'Health and care' section which said 'Nail disease can be very subtle and should be evaluated by a dermatologist...'. His disease wasn't exactly subtle but he decided that it had to be a dermatologist after all.

After the initial flurry of morning activity, armed with a cup of steaming bad coffee, Saurav Kumar settled down to decide on a dermatologist for himself.
He went to Justdial to look for dermatologists near M G Road. Right at the top was Dr. Shetty's Medical and blah blah blah, which looked suspiciously like a sponsored ad. A quick google search confirmed his suspicion. Dr. Shetty had a 1.7 rating on google plus.
Next up was 'Kaya Skin Clinic' at Prestige Meridian building. 2.8 stars, familiar name. Could have been better but what the hell. He copied the number and the address.

He was lucky. Right after lunch, he managed to sneak out for a couple of hours for a discreet visit to Kaya Skin Clinic.



3.

The Prestige Meridian building was barely five hundred meters from his office. He decided to walk.
Saurav enjoyed walking, but on a busy stretch of road with ever honking traffic and 'pee-ed on' sidewalks, it wasn't much fun. At least Bangalore was cloudy this time of the year and it was kind of cool.

As he walked along the 'pee-ed on' sidewalks, he evaluated the gravity of this niggle in his otherwise perfect life. The cool breeze brightened him up. "It's a toenail", he told himself. "And I am going to fix this right away".

Reaching the Meridian building, he scanned around, looking for the skin clinic. He was not sure what he was looking for. Despite his affinity for perfection, he wasn't exactly the pedicure manicure type.
A security guard gave him quizzical looks. He walked up to him.
"Kaya Skin Clinic", he said out aloud. He suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if he was asking for a gay bar.

"Skin Clinic?"
"Right. Kaya Skin Clinic". 

"Where is this Skin Clinic", the guy proceeded to ask his apparent superior, who made a lazy gesture towards the right of the building.
Taking his cue, Saurav proceeded. All of the sunset yellow silk tie, crisp black shirt and 'not so shining anymore' shoes, thanks to the walking he had been doing on the pee-ed on sidewalks.

He found the entrance all right. A glass door with the picture of a woman with glowing skin that said "Kaya Skin Clinic".
Once inside, he paused for a second to look around. Water bubbled out of a small fountain in a corner. Much of the walls had been converted into shelves which were sparsely arranged with what looked like lotion bottles in numerous shapes and sizes. Rest of the walls had photographs of seemingly topless women who had either crossed their arms over their chests or did not have their chest in the shot. Despite the lack of clothes, the photographs looked weirdly demure. All the women, Saurav wondered, had expressions that seemed weirdly connected somehow.

Two north eastern girls in pink flowery Chinese tops completed the rest of the tiny reception area. He was apparently the only person whose skin needed care at the moment.
"Hello sir, may I help you?" The prettier of the two asked him.

"Hi, I am Saurav", he said, wondering why he felt the need to say that.
The girl arched her eyebrows in an quizzical expression of such absolute doll like cuteness that only oriental features can render.

"I need to see a doctor, I have some issues with a toe nail."
The girl handed him a medical form. The form was the usual medical template requiring him to fill out his name, contact details, diseases, allergies and such stuff. Saurav wondered why such information was not standardized, digitized and shared at the flick of a computer mouse. A neat idea for a startup, he told himself.

"Please have a seat sir", she said as he handed her the filled out form, pointing to the lone couch beside what seemed like a magazine stand full of Harper's Bazaars.

Some fifteen minutes later, during which she entered the data on his form into a computer at a painfully slow speed, she announced, "Sir, the doctor will see you now".
Saurav looked up from the Femina he was glancing at. Somehow, he felt a tad nervous. He proceeded to the door marked 'Dr. Suman Awasthi'.


4.

Thankfully for him, the doctor's chambers did not have the same 'beauty parlour' look as rest of the establishment. In the center of the room sat Dr. Awasthi, a slightly plump dark woman with a pockmarked face. Though Saurav felt sure that Dr. Awasthi must have had her face dug out before she had managed her 'skin' medical degree, he somehow could not rid himself of the feeling that she was not the best ambassador for a beauty skin clinic.

"How can I help you?", she smiled, gesturing at the chair in the room.
Saurav sank into the chair. "I have a problem with my toe...umm...toenail."
"Show it to me please", she demanded.

He removed his right shoe and sock. Dr. Awasthi made him move to the recliner and outstretch his leg so that they could together look at his toe.

"Does it hurt", she asked poking his toe with her index finger.
"A little", he truthfully replied.
"Your toe seems all right", she said after five minutes of careful examination. "Slight pain can happen due to a variety of reasons, including strain. I will suggest you take a painkiller and rest your toe." She proceeded to write a prescription.

Saurav realized that it had passed along all too fast. It was time to tell her his real problem. Unless he wanted to go home with a prescription of mild painkillers, that is.
"Well doc, the pain is not the issue."
"Oh! what is it then?"

Saurav went into powerpoint presentation mode. "You see that toenail right there? That wasn't there last night."
"Where was it?", she smiled, probably considering it as some attempt at humor.
Saurav was exasperated. "That inch long nail grew back overnight. It grew one fucking inch in one fucking night! That, dear doctor, is my problem. It is not the pain, it is not any strain, it is just that my toe nails grow one inch in one night. And there is no telling where it is going to happen. One day it is the left toe and the next day it is the right."
In his defence, he was stressed out.

Dr. Awasthi turned white as a sheet.
Exactly seven minutes and twenty-eight seconds later, Saurav Kumar, in a crisp black shirt, sunset yellow tie, in a single 'not so shining' shoe was seen shouting outside the door of Kaya Skin Clinic.
"You can't cure a toe nail and you claim to look after people's skins! Bloody quacks, cheating innocent people of their hard earned money. Watch your fucking ratings drop all over the internet, I am telling you. Saala, you mess with me! What is this, a joke? I come here with a real problem and you treat it like a joke? Who are you? Goddamn Clowns?"

The lady with the glowing skin on the door kept smiling at him.
The stunned security guys had slowly started to regain their senses. Even with his maddening anger, he could sense that he had probably gone too far. That infuriated him even more.

Someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around to look into a smiling Mr. Swarnabh Sahay.


5.

Mr. Sahay led Saurav by the shoulder. The security guy came up.

"Kya ho raha hai yahaan pe?"
(What's been happening here?)

Mr. Sahay took over. "Arey jaane do Sir. Garmi mein frustration ho gaya tha bhai ko".
(Let it go Sir. Bro got frustrated in the heat.)

Saurav wondered where the heat was. But that was Sahay's USP. He could get you out of tricky situations. And he could get you into even trickier situations.

Sahay had the hungriest eyes. Saurav had sometimes wondered why Sahay had the exact same hungry look while looking at say, a delicious pomfret, a hot girl or a tin can. The "hungry look" never left him. What did leave him sometimes was his smile. When he smiled, it was hard to tell if he was already crying or if he would start crying in a minute.

Right now, it was Sahay saving his ass. Saurav wondered if it was closure. Or if Sahay would now lead him into some bigger shit.

Back in Sahay's car, Saurav braced himself for some Q&A.
Sahay made the move, "What the fuck where you up to back there?"

An asymmetric monster toe nail was his spookiest ailment ever. Swarnabh Sahay was the weirdest man that he knew. Just fifty hours back, a nuclear holocaust was more probable.
But right at that moment, Saurav told him everything. Every tiny detail that had led him, Saurav Kumar, an otherwise perfectly rational and pragmatic person, to shouting at the door of a certain Kaya Skin Clinic, in a crowded shopping mall.

Sahay listened with interested hungry eyes. He asked a few questions of clarification and muttered a few words of much appreciated sympathy.
At the end of the tell-all, Sahay slowly asked, "So, what now?"

"I have no idea", Saurav replied. "After what just happened, it's not like I can go to a doctor anymore. I don't think I have a clue, Mr. Sahay".

As they stopped in the office parking lot, Sahay drew a card out of his wallet. Without a word, he slowly extended it to Saurav.
Saurav looked at the card.

Ritu Singh,
Bhakt Relationship Executive,

Bhaskarananda Ashram,
Jayanagar, Bangalore.



6.

"Get up!", Mrs. Bagchi screamed.
Bagchi missed Saurav. He hardly ever talked to him, and that was precisely the point. Life was peacefully good.
A few months back, Saurav had suddenly moved out of their apartment. Given their minimal interaction, he had no idea where or why Saurav had left. All he knew was that Saurav had been having some issues with his toenails.
When his mother found out that he had a spare room in his apartment, she decided to pay him a visit.

"In a minute Ma, please!", Bagchi screamed back. He knew it was a battle he had already lost.

Mrs. Bagchi wanted to visit an ashram that morning. It was his duty to drive her there, stay until she decided it was time to leave and then drive her back. The ashram days were the darkest in his otherwise contended life.

An hour later, in about as much time as it normally took Bagchi to brush his teeth, he was seated in his car, having taken a bath and eaten a plate full of breakfast. Mrs. Bagchi was fasting, it being an auspicious day and all. As he started his car, he was ordered to put the Gayatri Mantra on repeat.

The ashram was somewhere on the Nandi Durga Road. A snaky, pot hole ridden stretch that as a friend had remarked, clogged up even when the sky turned cloudy, let alone rained.
At the ashram, they were greeted by a rather short and stocky lady who introduced herself as Mrs. Ritagni Aggarwal. She was dressed in white and led them into a prayer hall which was sparsely done in white. Devotees sat cross legged on the floor in front of a two feet high stage on which several godmen were on display, all resplendent in white.

Out of habit, Bagchi scanned the devotee section for pretty females to gawk at. On certain lucky days, there were pretty women on stage that Bagchi could unapologetically ogle, pretending to listen to the discourse in rapt attention.

There was still hope for today, as the lead godman was yet to arrive. Swami Bhaskarananda, he was called. The chance, however slim, remained that he would arrive on scene with a pretty sidekick in tow.

They still had half an hour before lead Swami arrived. Bagchi wanted to scream why he had to wake up so early. Mrs. Bagchi however, was already swaying to the devotional music, her facing glowing with peace.

Five minutes later, Bagchi was already nodding off. Mrs. Bagchi cast an occasional look of acute disapproval.

Right on time, the music went louder, the devotees clapped and Swami Bhaskarananda entered the hall. Just as everyone settled down, Swamiji took to the microphone.

"Aur sab log theek hain?", he asked in a sing song, cheerful and effeminate voice.

The devotees replied over enthusiastically, "Ji swamiji".
The noise woke Bagchi up. He looked around, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
He froze.

Right next to Swami Bhaskarananda, resplendent in flowing hair and white attire, was Saurav Kumar, the guy who shared his apartment just a few months back!


7.

Bagchi stood stunned for a long time.
There was no way he could map this flowing hair babaji to the Chanel No. 5 rubbing Investment Banker that he knew.
And yet, there he was. There was no sign of the excitable, ill-tempered guy from the angelic smile that he wore.

Finally after the rice-dal-boiled veggies that they called lunch, Bagchi managed to catch up with Saurav.
"What in the name of the lord are you doing here?"
Luckily, there was none of the discomfort that Saurav usually had around Bagchi. If at all, he seemed far more confident.

"You want to know about it all?", he asked.
After Bagchi had conveyed his eagerness, he took a deep breath and started.

"Well, as you probably already know, it started with my toenails growing abnormally overnight. I am sure you understand the dilemma I went through before I finally made the decision to come here. And the turmoil I had to go through before I could actually open up about it to Sanjay."

"Who's Sanjay", Bagchi asked.
"Ohh, my mistake. You know him as Swami Bhaskarananda. That son of a bitch went to school with me, you see. Sanjay Gulati, he was called then. The lousiest ass you will ever find. Not unlike you, I must say. But smart, damn smart. It was he who managed to convince me of a spiritual career", he paused for a breath.

"What about your high flying investment banking career", Bagchi asked.
"They are more similar than you think", Saurav smiled.
"How come?"

"Well, what do I sell people as an investment banker? Dreams of money. Do I always deliver on those dreams? Not really. If the markets are good, people make good money and I take the credit. If the markets are bad, they lose and I blame it on the markets.
You see, that's exactly what I do in this profession. I sell people dreams of peace and happiness. If they become peaceful or happy, I take the credit. If they don't, I blame it on their stars and sell them some stones. Profit, either way. Add to that, no legal hassles.", he grinned.

"You realize what an explosive exposure you are setting up right here?", Bagchi winked.
Saurav laughed.
"That's exactly what I told Gulati the first time he told me all this. And you know what he told me?
He told me to go ahead and help him. You see, any exposure could only help me by bringing my followers closer".

"What?", Bagchi challenged.
"It's human nature you see. What if you made a really big bad investment? Now if you are really cool about it and tell everyone that you made an ass of yourself, you are just not insecure enough to be in our devotee list anyway.

So what happens if you are in our devotee list? You will use the last fiber in your being to defend your investment. If your spiritual guru is suddenly proven be a creepy pedophile, you realize how stupid that makes you look, don't you? So our devotees rally in unison and tell the world how everyone is out to malign their saintly swami. Gulati, I am telling ya, is obscenely smart."

"But how do you manage to start? Now do not tell me that you have a spiritual venture capital firm."
"Nah, not yet. But cool idea man!
As for your question, that works like the stock market as well. Why do people invest in startups? Because they get better ROI if the stock does well. This is exactly the case. You invest in a new swami, and you get access to the stage. After a while, you get to give mini discourses before the main act and when you are ready, you might even be bootstrapped into a spinoff. The guys you saw on the stage today, are all early investors."

Bagchi giggled in amazement at how complete it sounded.
"But what about your toe?", he asked.

"Ohh that! Well Gulati told me how he would kill for something like that. You see, godmen all over the country, right at this moment, are trying to find ways to conjure miracles. And here I have, inbuilt right into me, an abnormal nail. You realize what this means, don't you? All we really need to do now, is to tell our devotees that this nail is my way of soaking up the injustice in the world or some shit like that, it just works! Gulati is working on it.
That's exactly why I got access to the inner circle anyway. Otherwise, I just do not have the experience you see. But for this nail, I had little hope in a spiritual career.", Saurav smiled.

"Gotta go man, it's spiritual time", Saurav prepared to take leave.

"But where do you go from here?", Bagchi asked.
"Ahh! I have a big launch coming in six months.
Anguthananda is what I shall be called.........", he trailed off.


P.S. Inspired by real characters. Probably why the caricatures took precedence over the story at some point.

The rationale of the fan

We are all fans of someone or something. There are a large number of things that I readily proclaim to be a fan of, just like everyone else I know. And without thinking twice.

So far so good. Until I read a post by a friend of mine where she demanded that Salman Khan should be unconditionally pardoned just because he is simply so handsome!

No, I did not flood her with "how ashamed she should be of herself" comments. To tell you the truth though, it was kind of hard not to. It isn't really about her anyway, it's about a specific culture that causes this. Welcome to the world of fans!

The  Merriam-Webster, the Oxford dictionary and other sources define it as a shortened version of the word 'fanatic'. Think of the word fanatic and you form a mental image of mullahs with chest length beards and Pandits with vermilion smeared foreheads running around with swords ready to kill everyone who does not agree with what they say. Well, think again, cause it's YOU!

Come to think of it, the Oxford definition is pretty apt.
As fans we agree to look beyond the mistakes that a public person makes. Now that defies rationale, does it not?
Hang on, we actually take it another step forward. The internet is full of people trying to defend the wrongs of a public person. If it's a person, he is certain to make mistakes.

Not convinced? I will give you an example.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Mr. Narendra Modi is a better candidate for the nation's Prime Minister's post than Mr. Rahul Gandhi by miles. Now that said, he still needs all the help he can get to become the Prime Minister.
So is he going around gathering all the support he can get from long standing supporters of the BJP's   ideology?  And perhaps trying to win new and good allies? No, he is doing exactly the opposite. Does he believe that he alone will lead the BJP to majority in the new parliament? Well, he better. Otherwise it just makes him look plain stupid, doesn't it?

Even if he believes that he alone would be able to do it, there is still no harm in not antagonizing a lot of people I believe. Maybe Mr. Nitish Kumar had some pretty unreasonable demands, but the way in which he was hounded out, seemed very brash. I am sorry, Mr. Modi.
Well try explaining that to Mr. Modi's fans. Or posting that somewhere. (Mr. Modi's fans will find you, no worries.)

They will flame you to death. They will compare Mr. Modi to Rambo, saving twelve thousand people in a matter of a couple of days. They will upload Youtube videos with captions like "Narendra Modi's tight slap to ...........". And for anyone who tries to make a watertight argument on something that Mr. Modi did not do right, they will question his right to criticize someone whom he cannot match up to in achievements. That's an absurd argument. Criticism is the only right that I practically have anyway, hindered occasionally when Mr. Kapil Sibal decides to intervene.

But I miss the point. It's not about argument. Fans are not interested in argument or rationale. They would not be called fans then.

Not the political types? More examples.

The Dark Knight Rises was simply not as good as the second part of the Batman trilogy, "The Dark Kinght". And that's immaterial anyway. If I do not like a movie, I have the complete right to say that I do not recommend the movie. Apparently, that's not what the 'fans' thought

In fact, a pretty otherwise rational friend of mine, who happens to be a Sachin Tendulkar fan would scream himself hoarse if we said something critical of the little master. And that was when he was perfectly aware that the ONLY reason why we criticized Sachin around him was because we enjoyed watching himself scream himself to throat ache!

So starting today, I admire much of the world, some of it an obscene amount. But I am not a fan of anything, thank you. It's just that I value my rationality a little too much.

Why the US of A sounds exactly like Sheldon Cooper

Sheldon (USA) - You must stop building nuclear weapons.
Iran - I am not building nuclear weapons.
Sheldon - I do not trust you.

Sheldon - You must let me inspect your apartment.
Iran - Why would I do that?
Sheldon - Because the security council told you so.

(Turning to Leonard(EU), Howard(Israel) and Raj (South Asia)) - Tell him.

Leonard - Leave the guy alone.
Sheldon - Do it or I will tell everyone about ur goof-ups with Penny, Bernadette and Lucy. TELL HIM!

Leonard, Howard and Raj (in unison) - Please let Sheldon inspect your apartment.

Iran - I do not even have nukes. You have nukes.
Sheldon - My nukes are good. Yours are for terrorism.
Iran - I never ever attacked anybody. The same cannot be said of you.

Sheldon - Doesn't make a difference.
Iran - Why is that?
Sheldon - Because I said so. I am brilliant.
Iran - How is that even relevant?

Sheldon (exasperated) - I will impose sanctions on you.
Iran - Hello, I do not trade with you, what will you sanction?

Sheldon (Turning to Leonard, Howard and Raj ) - Tell him you will impose sanctions on him.
Leonard, Howard and Raj (in unison) - Not again!

Sheldon - Well gentlemen, you had your chance....
Leonard, Howard and Raj (in unison, cutting him off) - We will impose sanctions on you.

Raj - Come on Sheldon, now let the guy go!

Sheldon - One last thing.
Iran - What??
Sheldon - You really should bring in democracy.

Iran - Really? The last time I had democracy, you were the one who destroyed it.
Sheldon - Well, I must tell you that it was for your own good.....

Predator on Sculptris

I have been looking to do some 3D art for a long time now. 

Finally, I found something I absolutely loved.
Sculptris is free and awesome software for sculpting stuff. And after playing around with it for a day, here is a stylized version of the predator from the crap movie "Predator" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (I hope I got his surname right).

Supposedly, this design file can now be fed into a 3D printer and I could have a small figurine of the guy. If I am able to spare the around INR 7 lakhs needed to buy the cheapest 3D printer possible, that is!



And finally, one in gold!!

The 5 step good "MBA student" facebooker guide


  • Try to request people to participate in at least one of your surveys every year (maybe twice). Do not forget to post a reminder (or two) saying how desperately you need it.

  • Try to post at least one album full of pictures where everyone in sight is wearing a business suit; no problems if it's June.

  • Try to give us some expert comments every time our Government is on the verge of making a much publicized policy decision. e.g. FDI, Nuclear deal. Preferably align with whatever the US/Europe happens to be pushing at the time; not that you will ever feel the need to do otherwise. 

  • Keep sending us some links to articles that happen to rank your alma mater favorably. If there happen to be no such lists (:P), try posting some which talk about some excellent initiatives that have been taken instead (hint: Dainik Jagran).

  • And last, but not the least, as an MBA student, it's part of your social responsibility to keep educating half-literates like me. So keep posting fantastic tidbits of knowledge filled with MBA jargons that make me gasp in wonder. Accentuate the effect by having your classmates comment in equally incomprehensible literature.



P.S. I never did an MBA. Nor am I an aspirant.

Do not get me wrong. I have but the utmost respect for people learning so much more. Just because I dropped out half literate doesn't mean I cannot appreciate that.

And any intended offence caused is humbly apologized for.

Of inequality and fairness

Man will always be a man. There is no new man. We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there'd be nothing to envy your neighbor. But there's always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don't have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a Soviet one, there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love.

- Danilov, Enemy at the Gates.

Inequality is here to stay. There has never been an equal world, and there will never be one. That said, I believe that almost all human beings operate in a self constructed notion of fairness (I do not have even the most basic education of human psychology). And yes, that includes your corrupt politician, terrorist or the sabziwala giving you 950 grams instead of a kilo.

Of course, it includes you and me. I will give you an example. Most people I know inflate a few bills when it comes to filing their income tax returns, read rent. They are all very honest people. Some will perhaps donate considerably more than what they save this way to charity. Most will return the extra money to the shopkeeper if he has made a mistake. Quiz them why they do what they do and they will tell you that it is only fair to save some hard earned money rather than give it to a corrupt government which will pocket a chunk of it anyway.

I find it a bit difficult to fathom how anyone could be comfortable with the idea of being a villain. Hence, I can only conclude that it is this same customized sense of fairness that drives what we do; often things which really aren't fair. 
Maybe Salman thought that it was only fair that he could shoot a black buck for a little fun after some grueling shooting schedule, of what use are the animals anyway? Maybe Mr. Bachchan thought it was only fair to declare himself a farmer to get the land for a farmhouse, he was going to do some cultivation on it anyway. And maybe Mr. Praful Patel decided that with him being the aviation minister, it was unfair to not have a business class flight on the route to his home town, even when the airline was bankrupt and no one else would fly business on that route.

Now take the example of our very own Mukesh Ambani's billion dollar most expensive home Antilla; which incidentally, is the ugliest possible construction in the world, atleast on the outside. It somehow violates the simplest possible notions of geometry. Ms. Nita Ambani however, makes a poignant, heart touching story of how it is their only home in the world, how they live on the top floors of the 27-storey structure in the quest for a little sunlight and how like a perfect doting housewife, she tries to put up a smiling face at the end of the day when her husband comes home. Well, you mean after he has climbed 20 something floors with that tummy of his? Just kidding, I'm sure Mr. Ambani can afford an elevator just to get into his parked car (probably would, a few years down the line :P).

Mr. Ambani's abode does not seem all that unfair if you want to believe that he has put in his talent and hard work to earn such obscene amounts of money and choose to ignore that a vast chunk of his wealth has been earned off exclusive access to oilfields and natural resources in the country. Incidentally, Mukeshbhai allegedly obtained access to those not by providing the end products at cheap, reasonable prices but by generously bribing much of the parliament.

So, I will give you a better example. Coca Cola or Pepsi, as most of us are aware, costs less than a rupee per 300ml bottle to manufacture. You and I happily pay 10 bucks for the same. Well, the rest of it goes to marketing ;as they say, to pay super rich celebrities to tell us that it really is a cool product. Well, when you justify the 7 bucks with feel good terms like marketing, brand positioning etc, it sounds okay. But when I consider the fact that I bought a product that cost a rupee to make and someone spent 7 rupees just to tell me that it is a cool product, I do feel stupid, even if a little bit. More importantly, is it fair to ask a 700% premium on a product?

The whole point in all this junk is a question that I often ask myself. Is it fair that Mukesh Ambani's opulence happily co-exists in a country where billions of people cannot afford the basic daal-chawal every day? The pepsi comes in because it cannibalizes a market where rich educated aristocrats (and the wannabes, you and me) could be drinking say, lemon soda manufactured by some agro-industry somewhere in the country. It could have been sold for 5 rupees a bottle. But the educated, socially aware Indian who lights candles in protest of certain social ills and discusses "death sentence for rapists" on facebook, is happy to pay the 700% premium on the bottled beverage and contribute to the "trickle-down economy" as some would call it, rather than more ROI 5 rupees to a road side vendor. Is that fair?

Do not get me wrong here, though. The one thing that I am not trying to ask, is for Mukeshbhai's wealth to be distributed among the needy, just like that. In fact, to a certain degree, I agree with Ayn Rand's theory of objectivism, and agree with the concept of the  free market in principle. I am the firmest believer that people should not be given anything for free, because it acts as a deterrent to motivation to work hard, which, at the end of the day, is what creates value in a society. In principle, everyone should have an equal opportunity to succeed in a free market, and whatever product holds the greatest value should be the one to succeed. In a real free market however, this is hardly the case. Because the humble 5 rupee lemon soda, though holds more value, is significantly less likely to succeed.

Most forward thinking Indians are against all forms of caste based discrimination, right? Why? Because we, in all our brilliance conclude that it is grossly unfair for someone to be entitled to something by virtue of birth. Why then, is Mukesh Ambani entitled to an Antilla, which needless to say, he wouldn't have gotten close to had he not been Dhirubhai's son? Why is then Rahul Gandhi, in some dark day, destined to rule India by virtue of being the heir of a family? Or why then, does flop show Abhishek Bachchan get movies at all?

And why then, is a beggar's son destined to not go very far, despite what his IQ, EQ or such other Q's might be, while I get to drink a coke for which the Salman Khan's get paid 70%, because they are telling me that coke might help me jump off a cliff?

Now, is that fair?

I was not born to do this....


There was this time when he felt like a spark....
There were these moments when he could feel electricity inside.
When he felt like a live wire..

Today, he feels like a light bulb.
There are no electric patterns anymore;
He radiates a dirty yellowish light.
Ever responding to the flick of a switch.

No one really needs a spark,
Not many can live with one.
Everyone needs a light bulb.
Most cannot live without none...

Why then on some lonely nights.
When the switch is open,
And there is a queer calm all around,
Does he long to be the spark again?

And why does the line spin in his head
Barely noticed, but always there...
Like a small old wound that never healed right
I was not born to do this.....