Last few months, the Indian economy has been like a long Subway Sandwich which has a lot of filling in it. The bread on either sides signifying the period between which you want to access what happened in India. The filling in between the bread being signified by Cricket, Politics and Bollywood and all seem to be intermingled.
Especially Cricket and Politics have added a lot of weight and meat to the thickness of the Subway Sandwich (India’s economy). The Indian cricket team’s tour to South Africa, followed by the 40 days of the journey to win the World Cup had already drained Indians of their craze for the game. If this was not enough, it was followed by IPL for another 40 days which is more like having twice the tomato filling in a normal subway causing the subway to explode. Thankfully the Indian economy won’t explode due to cricket in the real sense of the term. It would rather implode by the wavering levels of productivity that too much of cricket brings into the nation. Too much cricket means increased advertisements spends by various multinationals there by leading to a unwanted inflation in prices of items you are made to consume. The coffers of BCCI, cricketers are filled up from these advertisements and all that a spectator like you and me are left is heartache if India loose the match and future loss of hard earned money irrespective of their win or loss. The future loss is due to the potential increase in prices of things we consume from Car Batteries to Chyawanprash, caused by the money that a Yuvraj or Sachin needs to be paid to say a one liner to sell that product. Too much of tomato kills the taste of other ingredients in a Subway sandwich. Similarly, too much of cricket kills the purchasing power capacity of the country as we pay more for the same products and also are less productive when matches are being played, leading to small setbacks in personal and professional life.
The story will now become more complicated. While you thought your Subway only had cricket in between, you never felt the taste of the black olives or politics as you munched the subway with your teeth. These black olives are way too much and signify the black mark the Indian politicians have left on our democracy. The black mark due to their unending corruption scandals which just keep getting better. If the Commonwealth Games farce was not enough, we were further brought to our knees by the telecom scam which is potentially the biggest scam of Independent India, masterminded by ex minister A Raja. Raja became lion hearted by giving away telecom spectrum at throwaway prices in 2008, thereby causing potential loss to the Indian ex chequer by over INR 1700 Crores or INR 170 Bn. In return he did receive kickbacks, which are themselves to the tunes of money one can never imagine. So while we slog out and pay 30% of our income as taxes to the government, people like Raja and Kalmadi have figured out the best way to spend your blood and sweat. A few more scams and people like them, will ensure that we are without “Roti”, “Kapda”, “Mobile”, “Bijli”, “Sadak” and “Pani”. I do not wish to mention about “Makaan” as the real estate prices are already exorbitantly high – thanks to the builders lobby supported by politicians entering real estate business. Ironically the mantra of the Congress government had Roti, Kapda, Makaan, Mobile, Bijli, Sadak, Pani in all its political manifestos, speeches and message for the people when it was fighting for re-elections. The message just sunk amongst us innocent citizens that they promised to loot us of these comforts and not enhance these for better!
Bollywood is more like a sauce. A sauce that can mingle with tomato’s and olive and yet maintain its own flavor. Through the concept of IPL all the Bollywood stars – Priety Zinta, Shilpa Shetty, Shah Rukh Khan and host of other saucy pretty young entertainers mingle with the tomato’s or cricket. The only sources of mass adulation known to the sauce / bollywood is mixing with cricket / tomato or flirting with black olives/ politics. Power, popularity and money (PPM) attract themselves. No wonder the upper echelons in all three fields – Cricket, Politics and Bollywood always mingle with each other as the magnetic effect of PPM never wanes off. Income tax apparently is a non existent word in the dictionary of many a Bollywood personalities. They are able to evade this through connections to politics, smart chartered accountants and finally invest the saved tax in the largest and unofficial Section 80 C scheme for black money makers in India - the IPL! And this unofficial 80C surely does not have the Rs. One Lakh (INR 100,000) limit that us lowly nine to fivers struggle to invest for a financial year to save some taxes!
And as you think about the Indian economy and take that last bite of your subway sandwich almost in anger, you cant help but feel a bad taste in your mouth left by too much of tomato and black olives. The stain on your t-shirt caused by the sauce spilt on it almost underlines the fact that you can never escape the populism of the three forces in India that rule your life directly or indirectly - Cricket, Politics and Bollywood. You almost shrug your shoulders in despair and give into an accepted sense of defeat against the entire system.
And as you are given into the Goliath’s of the world, it takes a 72 year old man from a non descript village of Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra to start removing the black olives from your subway sandwich. Well, lets just save the story of the David called “Anna Hazare” for another day!