Demonetized Shaadi: Bollywood Style!

Dear Reader,

Hi! Here’s a tweak piece on the demonetization and the immense opportunities it has created for Karan Johar 😛 This piece appeared in my column titled “Tweakonomics” in the Hindu Business Line today. You can read it at http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/black-money-and-political-parties/article9374624.ece; else read it here directly. Enjoy!

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The scene opens in Netaji’s office, where Netaji is sitting glued to the TV listening raptly to the debate on demonetisation. Such is his interest that he has consumed only seven cups of tea since the morning, instead of the usual 11. A particular piece of news makes him sit up suddenly straight and holler for Clever Guptaji.

Netaji (in a deafening noise): GUPTAJI, GUPTAJI, where are you? Come in here. ASAP!

Clever Guptaji (scared): What happened, Sir? Have you discovered yet another stash of ₹1,000 notes? I was telling you, Sir. We can’t have only ₹40 crore in cash. There’s bound to be at least another ₹50 crore somewhere. But you wouldn’t listen to me, Sir. The moment they announced that only those with a clean image and less than ₹50 crore cash would get an LS ticket for next season, you had to shoot off your mouth about how squeakily clean you are. Tch, tch, at least you could have said ₹49 crore! But just ₹40 crores! The others were looking pityingly at you, Sir. You have now really lost your image in the party.

Netaji (annoyed): GUPTAJI! Stop talking nonsense! See what they are saying here in the news! Families with marriages can get up to ₹2.5 lakh in cash.

Clever Guptaji: Errrr, so?

Netaji: So? So? Go out immediately and tell all our karyakartas and partymen to book marriage halls, gardens and lawns. And it must look like the bookings were done in September itself. Even if you get 200 of our party workers to book halls, we can get at least ₹5 crores converted into the new currency. Ha! Do this immediately, before the other parties start looking for marriage avenues.

Clever Guptaji (protesting): Sir, this is getting really, really difficult. Our party workers are tired from so much stress, Sir. The moment they see me, most run in the opposite direction.

Netaji (annoyed): What nonsense, Guptaji! What stress do they have? Getting rid of just ₹20-30 lakh should not cause any stress at all, Guptaji!

Guptaji (panicking): But Sir, please understand the field reality! Our partymen have already posed as housemaids, drivers, gardeners in the last one week. Some have even acted as construction workers, truck drivers and even mine workers, Sir.

Netaji (impressed): Wow! Mine workers!

Guptaji (wincing at the memory): The problem is that since it worked in Bihar, the idiots thought it’ll work in Mumbai as well. Anyway, we next moved them to villages where they’ve already acted as farmers, shepherds, landless labourers, shopkeepers, tailors and even as MNREGA workers. Till that indelible ink started getting used, they were working three shifts, Sir. Farmer in the morning, landless by afternoon and driver in the evening. Some dedicated old handers even switched genders. Karan Johar is now recruiting all extras exclusively from our party, Sir.

Netaji (interested): That’s extraordinary! I must ask him to endorse me when I get my LS ticket next season! But, coming back to business, if we have such talented people, it is now easy. Just book the halls, and get some really nice wedding cards printed. And tell them to go into the banks wearing nice jewellery. Half of them can be parents of brides and the other half will be the parents of grooms.

Clever Guptaji (muttering): Let me call Karan Johar. He can start casting for Demonetised Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.

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Netaji gets smart on Award Waapsi

The scene again opens in the political office, where Netaji is washing down a large plate of samosas with his third cup of Chai.

Netaji (with a loud burp): Aah! Now I feel good! I tell you Guptaji, creating constant innovative campaigns on non-issues is as draining as a work-out. I feel so hungry all the time.

Clever Guptaji (mumbling): You could try some food for thought, sometime. That would good for health of the country as well.

Netaji (sharply): What is that, Guptaji? What were you mumbling about? My food intake?

Clever Guptaji (sycophantically): No, no, Sahib. I was just saying you should take care of yourself. The country needs people like you, Sir. That is what I was thinking.

Netaji (appeased): Hmmm. So tell me Guptaji, how do you like our latest campaign? I tell you, at our meeting yesterday, there were all talking about intolerance. The High Up people said that they are feeling intolerant towards intolerance. Such intellectual debates! They seem highly satisfied that such an issue has been created out of practically nothing! It takes great creativity and thought!

Clever Guptaji: I really think it was a masterstroke, Sir! And then all those people returning awards; it became quite literally, a literary attack on the Government.

Netaji: Yes, yes. This award-waapsi campaign hit the Government alright! Say Guptaji, I was just thinking, I too want to return an award.

Guptaji (in alarm): But Sahib, you have never received one. Unless you are counting that medal for wrestling you got in Std VII, which you display so proudly. And Sir, I wonder whether returning the wrestling medal to the school will be news enough to get the media running after it.

Netaji (annoyed): Of course, I wasn’t thinking of the wrestling medal. Don’t get smart with me, Guptaji. But then, I am desperate to return something. What should I return?

Clever Guptaji: Well Sir, there is all that money you earned in those real estate deals. Optionally, those stock options in that company you favoured by giving them the land. There’s also those dollars in the Swiss account, 65 godowns simply full of Tur Dal, 500 acres of land in that swanky township, 110 kilos of gold kept in the bank lockers, Rs. 320 crores in property you bought in your wife’s name..should I go on, Sir? Instead of reforming the PDS, even if they reform you Sir, the prospects of the country will brighten up! GDP growth rate will start ticking, dead assets will come alive, BoP may look better, more transparency will inspire more confidence in markets and food inflation will go down. You can return the fundamentals to the country, Sir.

Netaji (earnestly): Hmmm, you are quite smart today, Guptaji! But still, all these things you mentioned cannot be returned. Much as I want to, I cannot help the FM better the fundamentals of this country. Had you told me to return all these hard-earned assets of mine to the country last week, I would have given it up with a smile on my face, Guptaji. After all, India’s economic interests come before mine. But alas! It’s too late now.

Clever Guptaji: How, Sir?

Netaji: It’s my favourite actor Anupam Kher. The good fellow says that there is no intolerance in India! Returning stuff is unfashionable and foolish. Aapsi karo, waapsi nahi! Intolerance has been around for the longest time. Why single out anyone? Bollywood calls it selective outrage, Guptaji! If I return my assets, I will be charged with selective outrage by the I-T Department, Guptaji! No, no. We can’t let that happen.

Clever Guptaji (quietly): I don’t know about the good actor, but you politicians are truly Anupam, Netaji!