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Small changes

Sauce for the gander, seriously, ought to be sauce for the goose. When L.N. Mittal drops 17 billion quid the mirth lasts as long as the next statement from your mutual fund manager.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2009 23:00 IST

Sauce for the gander, seriously, ought to be sauce for the goose. When L.N. Mittal drops 17 billion quid the mirth lasts as long as the next statement from your mutual fund manager. The richest Indian in the world became that because millions of people wanted a tiny flutter in the biggest casino in town. Don’t blame the fickle roulette; Mr Mittal most likely is not doing it. The 27 billion pounds that investors had pumped into Arcelor Mittal were riding on the Mittal brand. Likewise, the 10 billion that still are. Politicians around the world would give an arm and a leg for such reassurance when the chips are down.

Mr Mittal has roughly the same problems as you, slightly amplified though. If your wealth were to halve overnight, there’d be worried bankers at the door. In the Steel King’s case, they’d be a few degrees more polite. That’s one courtesy our club of dwindling billionaires deserves: they’ve made significant parts of the globe richer, snigger at their plight all ye who do not have a demat account. Most of the pashas will anyway be too busy buying stock in their own companies when there’s blood on the stock exchange floor. The laugh is on you.

We Indians, of course, are philosophical about the rise and fall of titans. Our Constitution does not enjoin us to vigorously pursue happiness (read the making of money). In the spending of it, there is little to distinguish the aam aadmi from the Mittals. Which Indian can’t be accused of big, fat weddings or the dream of a big house?