(This first appeared in the Sunday Guardian)
If you haven’t been paying attention to whatever sad excuse for news that we have in this country, then let me enlighten you with what is going on. Not only has Warren Buffet refused to endorse us on LinkedIn, steel industry giants POSCO & ArcelorMittal have stopped believing our oft-broken promise to change our ways if they gave us one last chance and are now looking for an easier, much better looking country to invest all that money in. In fact, financial analysts say that these developments will have harsh consequences for our economy.
How did this happen? Till about a few years ago, we were like the shiny new shopping mall that opens up with huge fanfare. The sort of place everyone wants to go to all the time. The type of capitalist heaven where even small investments yield huge results. We were the centre of attention for a while! The consumers were glad to have so many options at their disposal and the businesses were glad to be able to tap a huge, underserviced market. And all the jobs were taken up by educated, pleasant sounding youngsters fresh out of college who were able to put their various talents to good use.
Nowadays, we’re like a sad, almost abandoned mall. The whole structure looks like it has lost its sheen. The paint is peeling off. The elevator has stopped working. All the investors with deep pockets have cut their losses and gone back to wherever they came from. Most shops are closing and the ones that are open are stocked with sub-standard products while most of the staff is surly and inefficient. Each set of empty lots is punctuated with an espresso bar selling cheap, undrinkable coffee. The only visitors are those who either have nowhere else to go or have no idea what they’re doing.
I, for one, am glad that all those people who get so spooked easily have decided to leave. We’re not the sort of country that does easy. No siree, Bob. Like that irritating commercial for that dry fruit infested chocolate says, you have to earn the ability to do business in this country. Who needs multi-national companies investing millions of dollars to create thousands of jobs anyway? Our political parties are already working overtime to increase the availability of jobs in this country by hiring hundreds of illiterate people to tweet on their behalf. That is all the stimulus that we need!
There was a song that Asha Bhosle sang with 90’s boyband Code Red. (This was a thing that happened. Asha Bhosle sang a song with a mildly popular, flash-in-the-pan British boyband and all of us collectively yawned and acted like it was the most normal thing to do. By giving her a pass on what should have been a serious blotch on a storied career, we made her believe that the song was something that she shouldn’t have been embarrassed about. Yes, kids, everyone was smoking some good shit in the 90’s. Even Asha Bhosle.) The song’s lyrics went something like We can make it if we try/We can make it you and I. The UPA seems to have adopted this as their theme song. They probably play it all day long at the Prime Minister’s office. Similarly, whenever we get bad news that could potentially harm the economy, they put their playlist of excuses on repeat, hoping that people will swallow their bullshit one more time.
Not that we could have a public discussion about this! Our current most popular topic of debate is a feud between two ‘leading’ economists. We’re not debating any of their theories, mind you. That would be the smart thing to do. But we didn’t drive out the British so that we could do sensible things! We drove them out so that we could f*ck up everything in our own way, because freedom.
So, naturally, we’re discussing which of the above economists carries around a ModiBoner™ in their pants and which of them is a pinko commie socialist who wants to empty all the money in our treasury and give it to the poors. Overnight, people who wouldn’t know a demand curve if it punched them in the face were suddenly able to encapsulate a person’s body of work into a sixty word sentence. I can parse complex economic theory because I gave a stats exam that one time. The discussion is so stupid that every minute you spend thinking about it, you lose a couple of I.Q. points.
If our public discussion were a character in a movie, we would be at the scene where the actor portraying us looks in the mirror and sees the mess that he has turned himself into. Then he tries to turn his life around, seek forgiveness from all those he has inadvertently wronged, gaining the approval of the audience by the time the movie is over.
However, unlike the life of a movie protagonist, there doesn’t seem to be any hope for redemption in our collective future.