ndian nights are as dark as the days are bright. Dim street lighting and the habit of taxi drivers to switch off their lights make for challenging driving.
Off late though, the days are under a cloud of darkness as well. The brazen thievery and incompetence of the organizers (there’s a misnomer for you) of the Commonwealth Games has put a damper on the national pride.
Now the poor and downtrodden of this country are used to their share of dampers, but this time round it’s the corporate types like me whose pride is wounded, and our pride doesn’t come cheap, it costs money, pecunia.
Our foreign visitors are used to seeing poor people on the streets, but like all smart people they know that within a few years trickle down economics will do its job, if the hapless people can just stay alive long enough.
In the meantime, India is the place to be, with companies showing 25 - 30% growth, with Indian companies acquiring former competitors in Europe and the U.S. and dividing up the global market place for capital goods between themselves and the Chinese.
Domestically, India is a success too, at least for the people who matter, the middle and upper classes.
The failure of the Commonwealth Games is a failure of Delhi’s inner circle, where Kalmadi’s and Bhanot’s bosses meet to socialize, play golf and marry off their children to each other, and it’s a failure of corporate India. Not because Corporate India organized the Games, but because it didn’t. It didn’t get involved because the problems of the Government of India are seen as just that, their problem. Corporate India is too busy with its own detailed and creative plans to boost corporate and personal wealth to be worrying about the Delhi Government’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games.
The Games are an anachronism, a reminder of a time past. They offer no serious form of sponsorship (unlike the IPL) and on a personal level are a nuisance. Anybody who can afford to has planned vacations away from Delhi during this period.
Can you imagine someone having to face Mukesh Ambani or Ratan Tataand explain to them that their latest $3 billion petrochemical plant or $2 billion car factory isn’t quite ready to commence operations because of a “difference in hygiene standards”??
I wonder if after this debacle is behind us Corporate India will make its wrath felt to the ghosts of Christmases past in Delhi. This time their incompetence didn’t just hurt and dislocate the common man, it has hurt the pocket books that really count.
Btw, the banner photo was taken from our holiday home outside of San Gimignano at 6.20 am. What light! It lasted all of five minutes.