Thursday, June 29, 2006

Financial lessons from Soniaji's affidavit

A car and a house. That's two of the greatest Indian middle class obsessions. A recent report suggested the Indian middle class had accumulated huge debts by buying these two priority items on loan. In its cities, metros and megapolises, these are the fastest disappearing items.

Real estate dealers are making a killing and middle class dreams travel on four wheels of a sedan. A car and a house or, for the careful ones, a house then a car. You haven't arrived yet if you don't own the two. You are either lower middle class or you are Sonia Gandhi.

According to the affidavit Mrs Gandhi filed in Raebareli yesterday, she doesn't own either of the two. She doesn't own a car, though practically her car has a dozen cars leading the way and a dozen others following. She doesn't own a house, but hers is the best address in town. Sprawling is too small a word for 10, Janpath. She does own a house in Italy. Now all you going wink wink and thinking home is where the heart is, hold your horses.

Her Italian villa is worth just about Rs 13 lakh. With that, you can't buy a jhuggi in Lutyen's Bungalow zone. A one-room flat in Sector Sigma in Greater Noida, or Bhiwandi in Rajasthan would cost you twice that. According to her 2004 election affidavit, that Italy house cost Rs 12.75 lakh then. Just Rs 25,000 appreciation in two years. In Mayur Vihar, a flat worth Rs 15 lakh in 2004 is worth Rs 30 lakh in 2006. Italy is not the place to invest in real estate.

The same goes for Sultanpur or Dera Mandi. Sonia has agricultural land worth Rs 219,000 in these two places and in the last two years, the appreciation amounts to zilch. Had this been in Ghaziabad or the farmhouses in South Delhi, the price would have surely tripled.

But the woman behind the Kendra Sarkar has jewellery that was worth Rs 14 lakh in 2004 and has blown to Rs 21 lakh in 2006. Did gold appreciate so much in that time or did she buy more of the metal in the last two years? The affidavit doesn't detail that. But it does say this: gold for a rainy day remains the favourite investment instrument for Indian women. Since she is not seen wearing all that in public, it's safe to presume it's an investment instrument.

She also had given Rs 5 lakh to Priyanka Gandhi as loan before 2004 and Priyanka, it seems, has not returned the money, because her 2006 affidavit shows that those five lakhs are still with her.

There are lessons to be learnt from the leader. Here are the top five lessons for Congressmen who want to follow the leader in letter and spirit.

Lesson no. 1: Never loan money to your children. They are not likely to return it.

Lesson no. 2: Gurgaon, Ghaziabad or for that matter Hyderabad are best places to invest in real estate. Sultanpur or Turin is not.

Lesson no. 3: It's better not to buy a car. Car depreciates. Become a political leader instead. Car free.

Lesson no. 4: It's better not to buy a house, even though the price of a house appreciates. But a house for free is better than your own.

Lesson no. 4: Buy jewellery. Yellow metal shows your mettle. And gold is gold.

Moral of the story. Meaning of the Story.

Once upon a time, there was a great queen. She ruled the country with the aide of her able ministers. But the ministers sometimes came under the influence of power. And people started whispering things. She never heard any until she heard a voice. It was her inner voice that said: People will get ideas that you love power. You must renounce it. Immediately. She left everything and went to the Himalayas. Her able ministers ran the country, but the throne was empty. The able ministers took their orders from the throne, like the great Bharat, who took orders from Lord Ram, even when Ram was in communicado, in some jungle, for 14 long years. Bharata didn't touch the throne. The queen couldn't wait for 14 years, because one can't trust these ministers for more than 14 seconds. So a week after renunciation, she goes back to her people and says: See, I have proven I don't need power. I can throw it whenever I want. And I want it back. So give it to me. Moral of the story: There are no morals in these ancient stories.
Morals are a myth of modern India. Today when Mrs Sonia Gandhi addressed a massive rally in Raebareli to tell her side of the story, people didn't want any morals out of it. Just the meaning would have been enough, and no, don't get ideas about herr accent. It's because people believe political speeches are profound. Every word out of their mouth means more than what they say. So THE SAY MEAN guide is back. And mean is no attempt at pun. What she means is in italics (no pun intended).

"I am the enemy number one of the critics of the Congress. They blame me for everything. Every stone is thrown at me. Every arrow is shot at me and every bullet is fired at me."
There's nobody in the Congress big enough to face any attack. I am the only one. I am alone. Who will they fire bullets at? I am Congress, Congress is me.

"I am a victim of the kind of treatment they have to Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru."

They made Rajivji, Indira G and Nehruji prime ministers. They want to make me prime minister. Save me from them.

"Whenever the opportunity arises, they say all concocted things. If there is a storm, hailstorm or lightning falls, they say it was all because of Sonia Gandhi. I am their enemy number one."

Remember the Volcker storm, the Quattrocchi hailstrom and then the OOP ordinance lightning? They think it's all because of me. Look at me. Do I look Iike someone who would do such bad things? Say, no?

"I am not going to be a loser. I won't step back. Our fight will continue. This caravan will keep moving."

I will win, you support me blindly, don't you. The caravan will move, I am in the backseat, where the steering wheel is.

"I had spoken with both Rahul and Priyanka before I quit as an MP."

I don't trust any body else. The Family is all one should trust. That goes for you too. Not your family, The Family I said.

"Now I have come to you to seek justice, which I am sure I will get. I know you will give a fitting response to my opponents."

There was no way out. I was cornered. But you benefit in the fight between my inner and outer voices. I give you a chance to vote again. You will feel all powerful. My destiny will be in your hands. Ain't that heady? If I had resigned from only the National Advisory Council, you would have got no such thing until the next election. I bring democracy to your doorsteps. I give you power.

The Sacrifice Song*

It's a human sign
When things go wrong
When the stink of it lingers
And opposition's strong

Into the boundary
Of politician minds
Sweet deceit comes calling
and a way she finds

Cold cold heart
filled with shame
Some things look better baby
when you change the game
And it's no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It's an act in the
theatre of the absurd

But it's no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It's no sacrifice at all

Mutual understanding
After the fact
Sympathy builds
In the final act
They win elections
Opposition burns
No fears to damn them
when the wave turns

And it's no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It's an act in the
Theater of the absurd
But it's no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It's no sacrifice at all

(*Conditions Apply. Apologies to Elton John)

He don't like Bush

Democracy allows us to protest. And it was great to see Indians protesting against George Bush's visit. But did we cross the line this time? We did.
George W Bush was not here on a pleasure trip. He was here on a state invitation. Invited by the government of India, that represents the people of India. He was a guest in the land that believed in Atithi Devo Bhava, A guests is like God.
And our Parliament went berserk. Somnath Chatterjee proved he's a CPM leader first, the Lok Sabha Speaker later. And the electoral interests are supreme, national prestige or image comes later. Television channels showed MPs, including Jaya Prada, carrying placards that said: KILLER BUSH. Yes Jaya Prada who can't spell politics without borrowing Amar Singh's glasses.
So who did Bush kill? What were they protesting against?
Iraq, apparently. But who continues killing Muslims every day in Iraq? Muslims like Zarqawi. Not Bush. If given a chance, Bush would like to get out of the mess. Leave Iraq to the Iraqis. He's losing a lot of money and American lives in the process. Please don't quote the lie that he's getting oil in return.
Afghanistan? Thank God, he went in there. Have we forgotten Kandahar? Have we forgotten the Taliban who facilitated the escape of terrorists from India?
The occupier? India actively participated in Russia's occupation of Afghanistan. We toasted Najibullah. And supported Russians in every possible way so that they can stay on in Kabul.
Because his Army has killed innocent people in Iraq? Our forces end up killing many innocent people in Kashmir. Should we call our President, the supreme commander of our forces, a killer?
I remember Bajrang Dal activists ready with black flags to show to Musharraf duing his visit to India. Calling him names. Hurling slippers at his photograph. Burning his effigy. In one stroke, Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat erased the difference between them and the Bajrangis. People with subversive agendas, trying to impose themselves on mainstream India.
P.S. Even some gay rights activists staged a march in Delhi against Bush's opposition to same sex marriage. But before telling Bush to allow same sex marriages in his country, they should fight against Indian law that makes homosexuality a crime.
Why Was Jaya Prada Protesting Against Bush?
Because Amar Singh Doesn't Like Bush!

Looney Limericks (CD still not cut)

There was a girl allegedly called Bips,
She Singhs out some l'amore tips,
She said a man is never too old,
He said age does make him cold,
and between the covers the drive dips

She was a leader, he showed the way
She owes a lot, it was time to pay
He had his couple of pegs
She asked what to do with 'em legs
He said shave them for a rainy day

People phoned him, he was having a ball
The tapper meanwhile was tapping it all
Cops tapped tapping
Caught the tapper napping
And now no one wants to give him a call

He goes on offensive against madam
In a game of win some, lose some
Her enemies become friends
But the drama never ends
Now even his chums call him a bum

He talks to bhai about fudges,
To Soft netaji about judges
He says he'd been joking
But the tap is now poking
In the lane of loneliness he trudges