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HindustanTimes Tue,22 Jul 2014

Broadband vs chicken?

Khushwant Singh   November 04, 2013
First Published: 18:07 IST(4/11/2013) | Last Updated: 18:34 IST(4/11/2013)

There were two news items in the newspapers recently, which grabbed my attention. The first one pertained to Punjab deputy chief minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal’s meeting with industrialist Mukesh Ambani, where the latter had committed that, Reliance would offer cheap broadband internet to Punjab’s schools. The second, also about Ambani, was about him getting into the chicken business by acquiring a stake in a company called Chicken Came First. 


While Ambani clearly seems to have cracked the theory of who came first - the chicken or the egg - the point I am mulling on is - which of the two will reach Punjab’s landscape first? The Ambani broadband or the Ambani chicken?

And as we talk, I can already see the perplexed faces of the readers about the premise of the column, because no sane person races a Kukad with a broadband. It’s akin to racing bites with bytes, which is a bizarre thought in itself. Imagine comparing two entirely different things - one can land you in Fortis hospital and the other to the gateway of the world.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/11/ambani chicken_compressed.jpg

Ok, I get it.  So, let’s put the chicken versus broadband race on the back burner for the time being, and also ignore the morality involved in the issue - of a vegetarian Guajarati foraying into the business of chicken. Crucial is, what lands first in Punjab - promise or business, even though the chances of the latter coming first seem brighter.

Isn’t it common knowledge that the liquor, luxury car and chicken companies think Punjab when they have to launch their kukad, sharab or gaddi? Ironically, if the above mentioned companies know where to head, IT companies know exactly where not to go, hence making the outcome of this race all the more critical.

So, on whose side am I? Chicken or the broadband? Frankly, I have a broadband at home and bar-be-cuing chicken is my favourite pass time. I confess my undying craving for the leg and peg in the evening.

But then, beyond this yearning for a chicken and scotch is a heart which still lusts for Punjab. Even though, I have put my money on the chicken, given the fact that Ambani is convinced that chicken came first, something inside compels me to wish that I lose the bet.

Perhaps my high on cholesterol heart is blurred when it prays that let Punjab win for once. Let it break free from its habit of losing out on opportunities.

In other words, it is imperative that the broadband reaches the classrooms of Punjab’s schools quickly and children get a byte of the technological revolution. Chicken can surely wait.  In any case, there are enough chickens hanging on seekhs all over Punjab. Chawla Chicken corner and the Tehl Singh Chicken corner are doing a great job of taking care of the Punjabi love for the kukad.

If the meeting between the deputy CM and Ambani is beyond the purpose of mere publicity, the deputy CM must then get what was promised. It is for the children of his state, which he wants to rule indefinitely.

The deputy CM is an astute marketing man and Ambani a shrewd businessman. All that the deputy CM needs to do is just whisper in Mukesh Ambani’s ear, “Let the broadband come first. Chicken will only be a click away.”

The columnist is a Punjab-based author and consulting editor at a news channel.


singhkhushwant@hotmail.com
www.singhkhushwant.com

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