Ladies and Gentleman: I bring you an important announcement. If the carnage on Wall Street, which led to nervous palpitations on amchi BSE, has left you at all shaken, I have the perfect place for you to invest your money. (Cash preferably, and I don’t mean coins. Credit cards not accepted. Cheques subject to verification). That place is Kushalrani Gulab Inc., i.e., me. Not that I’m a financial whiz or anything. Or maybe I am, since I have always firmly resisted all attempts by anybody to get me to invest on the stock market on the grounds that I haven’t the faintest idea what goes on there and now it turns out that even the financial whizzes haven’t the faintest idea what goes on there. It’s just that I’ve discovered I have a certain value that can be turned into a paying proposition and, since I’m a nice girl, I thought I’d cut you in.
This financial revelation regarding myself happened last week when I threw caution to the winds (because someone else was paying) and went to an extremely fancy place for dinner. And there I learned that, thanks to the 500-odd words of drivel that constitutes this column, I could become an Emergency Back-Up Celebrity.
Here’s how it works. Suppose you went to an extremely fancy place for dinner not for the food but to impress your neighbours with a list of the celebrities you hung out with there. Suppose that night turned out to be not so much a celebrity night as a wannabe celebrity night with lots of thin girls in small clothes but no actual famous people. Suppose you then got a bill that bore a strong resemblance to the GDP of a medium-sized African nation. Wouldn’t you be frustrated?
This is where I come in. As my friend (the one who paid, poor thing), had been accompanied by a person I’d never met before who claimed to be a fan of this column (yes, there are people like that apparently. Or at least, there’s a person – Hi Suchi!), there it was — the opportunity. I could become an emergency back-up celebrity. A person you could tell your neighbours about when you go to an extremely fancy place and find no celebrities there. “Oh, Kushalrani Gulab was there,” you could say. “You know, the writer.” And even if they’ve never heard of me, they’d never admit it because that would mean they don’t read.
Before I set up Kushalrani Gulab Inc. (or, since I’m an emergency back-up celebrity writer, should that be Ink?) however, I need to know how businesses work. So I read Kamala Markandaya’s Bombay Tiger, about a ruthlessly ambitious man who arrives in Bombay of the ’80s to become an industrial giant. It’s an excellent book, gripping, well observed, well written and often very funny, and entirely worth reading even though the author had no idea how to end it.
So once I make my business plan, feel free to invest in this column. (On second thoughts, cash only.)