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For a few dollars more

india Updated: May 28, 2007 23:19 IST

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In that 1997 cinematic tour de force, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, the villainous Dr Evil travels forward in time and intends to hold the world to ransom. Travelling as he does from the Swinging Sixties to the Inflationary 1990s, he demands $ 1 million from the United Nations. After a pregnant pause, the boys of the UN burst out laughing. Dr Evil is told that any respectable villain would have asked for at least $ 1 billion. Taking off from Dr Evil’s discovery, it seems that very soon, to be taken seriously as a member of the super-duper rich, you have to go for the trillion dollar slot and our very own Mukesh Ambani is making a bid for it.

A trillion is a one followed by 12 zeros — three zeros more than a billion and six more than a million. Okay, so Mr Ambani has just become a rupee trillionaire — Rs 1.1 trillion to be precise or $ 27.3 billion. But let’s not scoff at that amount, shall we? For most of us, penny-pinchers, a billion and a trillion — rupees or dollars — have a ‘potayto-potaato’ difference. We value money for the goods and services we can buy. For people like, say, Bill Gates, who leads the billionaire pack with a nice $ 56 billion, the money’s about how much he’s worth in the super bazaar.

Know that Mr Ambani won’t be spending the amount the way you would have. Which is why you are where you are dreaming of making a whole lot of money and he is where he is dreaming of having enough time to spend at least a bit from his pile. Poor thing, we feel for him.