I was incensed. In fact, I was outraged. How could it be possible I wondered? Surely Mr. Bharadhan is outdated like his political ideology, completely out of sync with the ground realities and the going rate of political inflation in the country. At that rate, readers would agree, one cannot even get even an MLA. How then is he talking of MPs at that rate? In one stroke, it would seem, he had “devalued” the “value” of many elected members. This amount is peanuts I thought to myself as I entered Shashi’s office.
Shashi is my soul mate. We have been childhood friends. Today he is one of the much sought-after financial consultants available in the city. He has the innate ability to raise billions in no time for projects. The trick is to convince this financial wizard. As I entered his cabin I noticed that Shashi was with a client. Naturally I was embarrassed at having entered his cabin without even the customary knock on the door. Shahi noticing my discomfort said “Hi Narada, welcome and meet my client Keshav.” I was instantly relaxed. We exchanged our cards. I was delighted to note that Keshav was highly qualified. But why should he be at Shashi’s office and for what purpose, this thought was plaguing me.
I did not have to wait long for Keshav went on to explain his dream project costing Rs 10,000 crores. In this time of depression and bear markets I was mightily pleased that one young man was coming forward to set up a new project. Keshav seemed fully prepared for the meeting. As Shashi would put in a question, Keshav would pore over his laptop and give instant answers to his probing question. “What about cash flows?” enquired Shahi? “Ready” was the answer. “IRR” was the next question. “23%” was the answer. “What about risks” asked Shashi. “I have taken all risks into consideration” was Kesha’s instant answer. By now I could sense Shashi was beginning to get slightly uncomfortable. “All this is possible if only you convert sand into gold,” I added my two-pence to the entire conversation. It invited only a warning glance from Shashi. After all I had no business in interfering in his business. “What about the taxes?” he said. “No income tax” was the answer. That added to the suspense. “What about Indirect taxes?” was the next query. “No” pat came the answer. “What about debtor management? Shashi enquired. “Ha it is a cash and carry business,” replied Keshav without batting an eyelid. By now both Shashi and I were totally flummoxed. What a business, I said to myself. If only I had this money I too could venture. Secretly I hoped that I should, after Keshav exited, try to talk to Shashi and do something on similar lines. After all, he must be having all the project papers. But what was the project all about. I put to the question to Keshav. Perhaps they must have discussed this before I came. Shashi instantly turned to Keshav and said “Well I forgot to ask you about that.” Keshav cleared his throat and said, “The days of single party rule is over in our country. Consequently, our democracy requires horse-trading to be institutionalized. And that alone can provide a stable government” and further added, “I want to commence a trading exchange like a stock or a commodity exchange where one can buy and sell horses. Well I mean, err…..” Sashi waved his hand indicating Keshav to stop instantly. Keshav got the message and began to leave. “If you don’t, someone else would find this project exciting,” he said as a parting gift. The door slammed on our faces.