Here is the ultimate block buster in Economics. Isme action hain, drama hain, austerity hain, reforms hain, growth hain, depression hain, there are scams galore and bro-mance to boot! How could Bollywood not move in to create a movie?
The dukhiyaari Maa-stricht treaty, clad in white, with a dab of dirt (with a radius of exact 2 mm) on her right cheek and just relieved from her job of stitching clothes non-stop 24×7, is standing in the veeraan, sun-saan Kaali Mata temple, wondering why in eternity they got her here to write all the entry level criteria. “Damn, I hope I have connectivity. And this dark cave is spooky…how do the Indians get any of their jobs done” she mutters. “Hmm…The public debt ratio of a country wishing to join our big EU khaandaan cannot be more than 40%” she thinks of writing when suddenly it becomes windy.
Whhhhhooooooooooo. The little light flame at the corner of the temple suddenly dies out. The bells suddenly start ringing around her, driving her crazy and one bell actually swings so wildly in that wind that it falls next to her hand and she pens “The public debt of a country wishing to join our big EU khandaan cannot be more than 60%.”
Music. The title of the film gets displayed. “Greece-wale Bailout Le Jayenge”.
Starring Alexis Tsipras. Angela Merkel. Francois Hollande. And in a special role, Dr. Manmohan Singh.
Cut to Greece. What! The public debt must be 60%! But ours is 80%! And we simply HAVE to enter the Eurozone. Nahi toh ye samaj kya kahega, Maa-ji!
And so Greece approaches the other members and promises to deliver on the 60% target. “Doctor Saab, aap operation ki tayaari ki jiye, main paison kaa intazaam karta hoon”.
Well, now that intazaam bit happened “Chup ke chup ke” when Goldman Sachs arranged some great derivative products to create better Government accounts where there were none. Nahiiiiiiii, cried the Maa-stricht, but the beta and alpha in Greece paid no heed to her.
In 2001, Greece is finally declared fit to enter the Eurozone. Chak de! In the next sattar minutes ahm, I mean, the next 70 months, from 2002 to 2006, it goes on a growth spree unlimited and is the second fastest growing economy in Europe. All fundamentals looking bright and wonderful. Its all new, muscular form causes wonder in the market. This Bhai looks unbeatable. “Ek baar jo maine commitment kar li, phir main apne aap ki bhi nahi sunta.”
However, some problems are emerging already. Background score changes from major to minor chords, even as minor issues threaten to become major scams. The fiscal deficit is very high, tax revenue is dipping, CAD is emerging but the Euro is getting stronger. There are mutterings about these issues through the globe. But such worldly matters as people talking behind their back don’t upset our philosophical Greeks. Ramesh Babu says Pushpa…
“Kuch toh log kahenge, Logonka kaam hain kehena….
Kuch reet jagat ki aisi hain, har ek subah ki sham hui
Tu kaun hain tera naam hain kya, Seeta bhi yahaan badnaam hui…”
The sub-prime happens. Greece now in trouble. Ramesh babu and Pushpa give way to Rahul and Anjali. Karan Johar sees an irresistible opportunity for a tear jerking moment in a crazily opulent country. After all, bade bade deshon main, aise chhoti chhoti baatein hoti rehti hain. Greeks are crying softly into their pink branded handkerchiefs because they got only a 123% raise in salary. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol (dressed in an unbelievably gaudy sari with an 8 feet long pallu) fly out in a helicopter straight from the Colosseum, where they apparently live, singing..
“Sab hain tere karam, kabhi khushi kabhi ghammmmm….”
EC comes in to offer a bailout package. Greece defiant. Amitabh-style, Greece says “Main aaj bhi pheke hue paise nahi uthata.”
Enter ECB and IMF, Munna and Circuit. “Tension nahi lene ka, sirf dene ka.”
Greece takes them literally. Only takes loans and gives sleepless nights to the others. Refuses to carry out austerity. Fundamentals worsen. “Arre, isse toh tej bookhaar hain!”Angela, torn between anxiety and fury, starts thinking of pushing Greece out of the Euro.”Driver, Gaadi roko!” George Papandreou, the PM of Greece now seriously upset and bugged. Belts out the classic “Maarne wale se jyaada, bachaanewalla kai jyaada bada hota hain, Angela behen.” Angela Merkel, having being called behen first time in her life, gets unhinged and is tempted to tie the rakhi and sob “Tum mooh haath dhokar aao, main khana lagwaati hoon. Maine tumhaare liye gaajar kaa halwaa banaya hain.” But the German discipline wins and austerity prevails.
New PM Samaras tries the softer approach to woo the German lady. A bit of Ghazals can work wonders on the toughest of hearts, after all…
“Tum ko dekha toh ye khayal aayaa
Jindagi dhoop…tum ghana chaaya”
He would love to stoop over backwards to try the austerity that Angela is suggesting. But, aah, the khursi saga does not quite allow him the luxury…
“Aaj phir dil ne ek tamanna ki
Aaj phir dil ko humne samjhaayaa….”
When asked harshly to get all fundamentals in order and repay back the Paanch Rupaiya Baaraa Aana, this Jagjit Singh offers…
“Hum jise gungunaa nahi sakte
Vakt ne aisa geet kyun gaaya”
PM Alexis Tsipras in a crazy situation. The man is voted to power believing that he will never push austerity on the Greeks. But the Troika wants commitment to austerity and won’t release funds. “Main kahaan hoon,” he mutters weakly, wondering how things ever got so crappy. Even when the Greek referendum reveals that people hate all kinds of austerity measures, Tsipras will have to toe the line, else the banks face death. Merkel unrelenting. She says that not only will Greece have to push in reforms and austerity measures, but Germany will not be willing to write away any part of the debt at all. They will claim their entire pound of flesh, if Greece is to be given a chance to be an Euro member.
What a poignant situation, one filled with helplessness and a sense of pathos. I only have Mirza Ghalib to offer in this Guru Dutt moment. I am sure even Ghalib would have never quite imagined how very apt his masterpiece would have been to describe this stalemate that Tsipras faces….
Tsipras to Angela…
हर एक बात पे कहते हो तुम की तू क्या है
तुम्हीं कहो के ये अंदाज़ ऐ गुफ्तगू क्या है?
On the zero capacity to repay the loan…
चिपक रहा है बदन पर लहू से पैराहन
हमारी जेब को अब हाजत-ऐ-रफू कया है?
(The clothes stick to my body thanks to the blood…When the whole body is bleeding and hurting, is there a need to be worried about darning the torn pocket?)
On Merkel repeating again and again how she will NOT write off any of the debt…
जला है जिस्म जहाँ दिल भी जल गया होगा
कुरेदते हो जो अब राख जुस्तजू क्या है?
Last scene. New Delhi. Greecewaale Bailout Le Jayenge has released and has been declared to be a coup by Twitter. Dr. Manmohan Singh is watching Times Now in which Arnab is demanding answers from completely bewildered BJP leaders as to why Greece is in a crisis. On BBC news, Tsipras is entering the negotiations with a grim looking Hollande and Angela Merkel. CNBC shows Greek stocks plummeting.
“You should never enter negotiations with such determined women,” thinks Dr. Singh to himself with a shudder. Just thinking of Madam and Amma and Didi causes him mild anxiety attacks. “Had he asked me, I’d have told him exactly what to do…”Smiling mildly to himself, he switches the movie on silent mode and goes back to his book. “The Being of the Beautiful.” By Plato.