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Saturday, December 10, 2011

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“Dude, I should have been a politician, man. I mean, they’ve got it so easy. You raise some issue, make a lot of noise, get the House adjourned, and head outside for chai. Plus, they get hikes. Like fivefold hikes! It’s more recession proof than an escort service, dude.”
“Whatever, man, I’m glad I’m not a journalist. The less politicians work, the more they do.  When the netas are holed up in meetings, the routine is more or less, well, routine.
“‘So, Neetu, what can you see now?’
“‘Sanjana, right now, we can see five white Ambassadors lining up at 10, Janpath. If I can ask my cameraman to pan to the left, you’ll be able to see a blue turban, and so we think the Prime Minister is here.’
“‘But, Neetu, equally, it could be Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia’, Sanjana will suggest, with an intelligent frown.
“‘Yes, absolutely, Sanjana, you’re perfectly right. It certainly could be the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.’
“‘In fact, Neetu, it’s more likely to be Mr. Ahluwalia, since meetings between the Prime Minister and the Chairperson of the UPA are usually held at 7, Racecourse Road’.
“‘Sanjana, there have been several meetings between them at 10, Janpath too. And since Sonia Gandhi is said to be still recovering from her illness, she has been holding meetings at home, and I would not be entirely surprised if it were, indeed, the Prime Minister and not Mr. Ahluwalia there. So, right now...’
“‘Could it also be possible, Neetu, that Rahul Gandhi will be part of the meeting?’
“‘Sanjana, Rahul Gandhi would most certainly have been part of the meeting, in light of the fact that he’s assuming a larger role within the Congress, but his schedule of sleepovers has not permitted him to be in Delhi at the moment’.
“You know? That’s how it goes. But now, with this whole FDI thing, it’s like I’m going through my economics textbook again.”
“Yeah, man. That’s what I wanted to talk about. That’s what they’re raking up all the noise for. And they’re bandying about acronyms all over the place – FII, GDP, MSE...and I mean, I’ve just about got my head around the terms my HR people use – ‘FYI’, ‘IMHO’, ‘EoD’. I don’t want to have to learn any more of these, dude.”
“Oh, I had a great mnemonic system when we were in school.”
“How do you mean? How do you have mnemonics for acronyms?”
“Well, for FII, I used to picture Morgan Freeman putting money into a bank.”
“What the hell is FII? And how is Morgan Freeman involved? When I think of him, I only think of God and penguins.”
“DUDE! You’re nuts. When you see him, you ought to be thinking about Shawshank Redemption! Remember, he kept saying ‘institooshunalassed’. He had this very distinctive way of saying it. So, when he’s depositing money, he is a foreign, institutional investor.”
“And I had FDI covered. I’d picture Hillary Clinton buying pashmina shawls. You know...foreign direct...”
“Yeah, yeah, got that. But why Hillary Clinton?”
“She seemed to be here all the time when we were in school. And then for Gross Domestic Product, I’d think of whoever was the PM at the time spitting paan.”
“Really? I’d’ve pictured him sitting in the loo.”
“Hey, that’s a good one! Too bad I don’t need that mnemonic anymore.”
“But we’re going off topic, here.”
“Did we have a topic?”
“Yeah, man, I was getting to it. What’s your take on this FDI thing?”
“I understand that biscuits and cigarettes will probably be cheaper. And instead of going to Safal or Food World, I’ll probably go to Wal-Mart.”
“But if things get cheaper, why is Mayawati against it? She could buy paints and chunna and whatever at lower prices for her statues, no?”
“Her statues don’t use paint or chunna, do they? And I don’t think mines and quarries are in the multi-brand retail sector yet. But everyone’s pissed because, apparently, it’ll throw small traders out of business.”
“So now the government suddenly cares about the middle class? It sounds to me like we’re the only ones it’ll benefit.”
“They’ve been saying something about how it will also improve inflation.”
“How’s it going to improve inflation?”
“The government doesn’t seem too forthcoming about that. So, I don’t think they know. But it makes the industry captains happy, and politicians are usually happy when they’re happy.”
“Thing is, it’s playing out like ‘V for Vendetta’ or something on TV. The stories change so often, and there are so many updates on so many scrolls that I feel like I’m watching a Grateful Dead concert while listening to Pink Floyd music. I mean, one channel had a special segment on Uma Bharti offering to burn up Wal-Mart stores.”
“She wants to burn up stores now? I’d have thought she’d stand on the shelves and wait for them to collapse. That’s more in keeping with her style, isn’t it?”
“You know, I’ve always wanted to see that video of the collapsing stage juxtaposed with Baba Ramdev’s sky dive.”
“You should keep your eye on the Hindi channels. They do those in triplicate too.”
“I did, but they didn’t bring in Uma when Baba leapt off the dais.”
“Maybe that’s because they had more angles to that one. Literally speaking, of course. Well, metaphorically too.”
“Do you know Baba Ramdev’s take on FDI?”
“Unless they sell yoga mats and embroidered kameez cheap there, I don’t think he’d be too worried.”


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