We haven’t always seen things the same way or agreed on many things. That should however not stop me from expressing my admiration for you and tendering some timely advice.
The basic difference between us is that I – like many honest citizens – have strived all my life to be free whereas you have worked very hard towards becoming a slave. You took slavery to a whole new level and you got rewarded for your efforts. You became a very powerful man in a government where transparency and fair play have become a vague memory. That is a lot of power.
And my God what an achievement! From your humble – dare I say very humble – beginnings, you started hobnobbing with nobility. From riding a bicycle to go to work for peanuts doing the very ungrateful job of ridding the nation of its rodents, you started flying in private jets, your suitcases following in toe. It is very humbling to think of that progress.
Your power was such that you became a country unto yourself. You took decisions on our behalf to support some countries against others. You severed diplomatic relations with some countries we had no business antagonising and you travelled on our behalf at the drop of a hat. You enjoyed a lifestyle we are paying for but can never dream of.
Your prosperity is a lesson in life. Your nearest and dearest also started benefiting from your success and your son did not have to show his CV or queue up with ours to get jobs. Doors opened for him through your magic wand and land and money started pouring on the whole family thanks to your good fortune.
In success, my dear, there is no limit. Today, you have the opportunity – or so you say – to be a roving diplomatic representative in Saudi Arabia at a monthly salary that most people will not earn in a lifetime – Rs17 million, plus princely accommodation! We have no reason not to believe you. Why should we even question the offer of an ambassador to a non-national since you have never lied to us in your life! You never lied about your bill at Apollo Bramwell Hospital; you never lied about the unpaid for cars from Iframac; you never lied about the land you signed to your son while you were minister of land; you didn’t lie about the suitcases in the private jet; you did not threaten to kill the leader of the opposition; you did not accuse some of our citizens of prostitution nor did you threaten to deprive them of housing; and I am sure you kept your word about the 1,000 jobs offered to our young doctors in Saudi Arabia. I haven’t met the 1,000 doctors but I know of at least one very good and I am sure well deserved job offered to a compatriot – your son.
Because you are such an honest person who has always put the interests of the country first, I thought I’d be honest with you and tender the following advice. For once, look at your interests first. This country has never appreciated your value and your worth. It took another country to suddenly find out your great expertise in diplomacy. So, grab the opportunity!
Also, there are some other great people who deserve a chance. Sudhir Sesungkur, the thug who took on the mission of disciplining anyone who stands in his way, deserves to enrich other countries with his great expertise. Ravi Rutnah is a great lesson in how to talk without hearing oneself and has to export that knowledge. Ivan Collendavelloo shines for his capacity to look at people in the eye and determine the source of their funds. He could save your host country a whole ministry by doing their due diligence in seconds. Kalyan Tarolah could also have a crucial role on the Saudi Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. You could even take your boss and have him teach them how to painlessly take away the powers of the central bank and give them to political nominees to make sure very worthy investors like Sobrinho get a banking licence. Your friends may then one day enjoy the same reputation that our jurisdiction does today.
For a monthly salary of Rs1 million, I would leave skid marks. You are being offered Rs17 million. $500,000 a month! More than Saudi ministers themselves who get around $13,000 – soon to be reduced to $11,000 due to generalised wage cuts! Shah Rukh Khan, the Indian star, got only $2 million for his Dubai campaign that lasted a whole year. You are getting $6 million. You will be a diva. Go now! We will have your luggage follow in a private jet. Promised! So go! Run! Faster pleaeaease!
For more views and in-depth analysis of current issues, Weekly magazine (Price: Rs 25) or subscribe to Weekly for Rs110 a month. (Free delivery to your doorstep). Email us on: [email protected]