I got back late last night after a hectic trip to the IIM - Bangalore. I was there to participate in a media conclave, aptly titled, 'Scripting the Future'. What blew me away was the campus! Was I in a rain forest or at one of Asia's top B-Schools? How can anybody possibly concentrate on STUDIES in an environment this lush and gorgeous? Young Abhimanyu from Delhi met me at the airport and we chatted for the next two hours ( that's how long the trip takes. The topics ranged from politics to bollywood. He told me how ridiculously tough it is to make the B-School cut. Once there, students start behaving like sharks in a small pond! There are 75 girls in his batch, and if anything, they are even more lethal when it comes to competing for top honours. Good on you, gurrrrrls! Lagey raho...
I stayed at the brand new Gardenia (ITC- owned), and once again, I felt I was in a forest - a tropical paradise. It is a gorgeous property designed to resemble Tipu Sultan's summer palace. The main motif is the tiger and it has been imaginatively incorporated - from chairs in the lobby, to wall hangings on each floor. What really took my breath away was the exceptional Japanese cuisine, under the able supervision of Madhu, a talented chef with a huge fan following. Course after course was meticulously served at 'EDO', and the moist black cod convinced me there was something rather inspirational going on in those kitchens. As V.Prakash made sure the sake flowed ( I stuck to an Australian Chardonnay), our conversation got increasingly animated. I forgot Bangalore goes to sleep by 11 30pm. I was still on Mumbai time!
I am leaving for Aurangabad in an hour. This is going to be a lunatic month for me. It's Delhi, Hyderabad, Baroda and the Maldives next. I shall make every effort to stay connected. But kya karoon ? Mazboori hai! That's what book promos are all about.But it's all good. The book is flying off the shelves... and that's reward enough.
This appeared in Sunday Times...
What in God’s name , is going on…?
This is going to be a really tough letter to write. I mean…. the world has like, changed dude! Most young people don’t believe you exist. When in doubt, they google you… and you know what? Your p.r. guys need to be sacked for complete and total misrepresentation…. check out the rubbish thrown up by the search engine. Depressing stuff, man. Totally not cool. It’s about time you got smart and joined some really hot social networking sites. Tweet away, darling. We want the real thing. Gyaan in your own words.And no special privileges for being God – 140 characters like everybody else, okay? Set up a face book account – don’t you want to know how many ‘friends’ you have on earth? Get your own interactive web site – and then watch the fun. Business first – where were you when we in India needed you the most? I mean, the country was holding its collective breath on the 30th of September, waiting for ‘The Verdict’. Anything could have happened – who can restrain our hot headed netas but your good self? But you were MIA - nowhere on the scene, leading to much confusion, as various groups fought over your official residence. Silly people! Every child in the world knows you prefer to live in the hearts of believers…. what’s the fuss over a monument? Do you really need one? Have you ever needed one? You are a free spirit, a nomad, a gypsy… you hang around in places where the vibes are good, that’s it. And how can vibes be good if there are angry, hostile people behaving like your estate agents and fighting for higher FSI?
As for the haalat of those three judges… oof oh…. they were landed with the toughest job in the world. Imagine being asked to decide which grand abode is your personal preference – a new temple or a demolished mosque? Nobody thought of asking you! If the monument is meant to please you, surely you should have a say in the matter? Is this khichdi what you want for yourself? Be frank, yaar. We’re having an informal , friendly chat…. we can always ask for an sms poll later. Speak your mind while there is still some time. The three wise men have suggested a three month pause. Three months is enough, right? It’s called a cooling off period , and we are hoping those who are in such a state of agitation right now, will calm down and think this through carefully. They’ll say 500 years of thinking has already gone into this debate. So what? Let 500 more years go. You’ll agree what’s most important at this point is sanity and calm. Status quo is not such a bad option. We human beings can be so stupid… here we are frothing at the mouth and making all sorts of claims over 2.7 acres of land. Agreed, land prices are going through the roof, but this is ridiculous. Fortunately, young people are more in tune with sensible solutions. They are all saying the same thing – give peace a chance. Not for them the futile exercise of proving and establishing that this is indeed your favourite hang out. This generation is pretty smart – no faltu time-waste for them. Whether they party in this disco or that one doesn’t really matter. So long as they have a good time. With fundas like these in place, they are laughing at all those old fogies hyperventilating on television and telling them , “ Get a life, you guys.” These kids are absolutely right. But will anyone listen? No. Because it suits netas of various hues to turn a deaf ear… it keeps them in business. What will politicians do if everybody was to agree with everybody else, especially on a red hot potato like this?
This is your moment, God. Get up and do your thing. Strut your stuff. Throw attitude.Tell those feuding fellows you’ll have none of it. Just tell them off! They may ignore you completely since in any case you are incidental in this man-made controversy. But speak up, you must. There are so many worthier issues that need immediate and urgent intervention. Our bachchas need schools, colleges…. toilets! Mandirs and Masjids do not help their cause, but temples of learning definitely do. Drill some sense into those chaps who are preparing for Round 2 with so much suspicion and hatred in their hearts. Advise them to open their eyes to India’s new realities… our restless youngsters are least interested in the politics of religion. They’ll settle for jobs and a better life, anyday. Let the netas co-opt the desires and dreams of the majority – India’s youth – into their future agendas, before launching into another protracted legal battle, that could go on for the next 18 or even 80 years. This is really too much, and as everybody was chanting that dramatic day, “ We need closure.” The verdict is out. Three bravehearts had taken on the unenviable task of decoding the sentiments of a billion plus people. The judgment is apolitical and bold. Who can possibly please and appease almost one fifth of humanity? Not even you! There is talk of ‘reconciliation’ but nobody is saying what exactly that means. Besides… can there be a board meeting without a Chairman – you??? Better that we put this centuries old issue behind us as quickly as possible, before a foreign hand gets into the fray and stirs up trouble. What say? Till then , you can chill. Pity you aren’t on BBM…. there is just so much important stuff that needs to be communicated to you directly at this point…. so many messages that people want to post on your wall.
Tell you what…get yourself a better manager\lawyer to represent you. Then we’ll talk.
What an idea, God-ji!
Your devoted bhakt,