It is some time in late December 2012. Vijay Kaliya's Woodpecker Airlines is in the process of shutting down. Subrata Noi's Jahan Aara is also in major trouble. Kaliya is very worried and Noi is not.
Kaliya and Noi run into each other and are soon joined by a ponytailed gent called Arindam Choti, a.k.a. Guru.
This is how things went.
Vijay Kaliya was feeling very besahara when Subrata Noi happened to walk in.
“I heard the bad news about Woodpecker,” said Noi, trying to console Kaliya.
“Hmmm,” replied Kaliya barely acknowledging Noi.
“You still have a thing or two to learn about how to do business,” said Noi, with an odd smile on his face.
“And what can you teach me?” Kaliya asked, feigning curiosity.
“First and foremost you need to make sure that money should always keep coming in.”
“And how do I do that?”
“That can only happen if you have a business model.”
“Well I am not sure about the business, but yes I still do have the models!”
“As in?” asked Noi.
“Never mind,” replied Kaliya. “You were saying something?”
“So I was saying that for any business to survive you need to have a business model.”
“And how do you define a business model?”
“Ah. That's how you hope to make money some day.”
“Yeah, I had hoped to make money someday,” replied Kaliya. “But now that's not going to come.”
“Oh. Don't worry why don't you just sue them,” came a voice from behind as a man with long hair and a ponytail entered the room.
“Who are you?” asked Noi.
“They call me the Guru,” came the reply.
“Ah, the love guru,” remarked Kaliya. “So tell me will I be able to hold onto my models?”
“What model...” Noi was about to ask, wondering if Kaliya was talking about different aeroplane models, but was interrupted by the man with long hair and a ponytail.
“I am insulted. I will sue you in a court in Jhumritalaiya,” threatened the man with long hair and a ponytail.
“Chill maadi,” quipped Kaliya. “Here have a Woodpecker beer.”
“I don't drink beer,” said the man with long hair and a ponytail. “But I use it for some other purpose.”
“What other purpose?” asked Noi, wondering what other use could beer have.
“Well. Don't tell anyone. It's a trade secret.”
“I won't,” both Kaliya and Noi answered together.
“I actually use it to wash my hair, you know. I tried various other brands but my hair only shines when I use Woodpecker,” explained the man. “And Star Rukh Khan gave me this idea.”
“That's a brilliant idea,” exclaimed Kaliya. “I could capture the entire hair oil market with it. Let me just call Yana Bhupta and see if she would model for it.”
“Arre give me also some idea also no, Choti babu,” pleaded Noi.
“I am telling you I will sue you in Udupi if you continue to insult me like this,” said the man with the ponytail.
“Udupi?” asked Noi. “How can you sue me in an idli/dosa hotel?”
“Argh! Never mind,” said the man with long hair and a ponytail, almost pulling his hair out. “My name is Arindam Choti and I am a management guru. I deserve respect because every student who comes to my business school pays me Rs 15 lakh.”
“Saala you must be collecting a lot of money,” quipped Noi. “That is what I was telling Kaliya.”
“What were you telling him?” asked Choti.
“I was telling him that it is important that the money keeps coming in, like is the case with you,” answered Noi.
“Of course. That is because we dare to think beyond the IIIM.”
“Nice tag line you have going there,” said Kaliya.
“Let me tell you another trade secret.”
“Batao, Batao,” said Noi.
“You know we never give the full form of IIIM in advertisements.”
“So?” asked Kaliya.
“Arre I don't mean the IIIM which everyone thinks, but the International Integrated Institute of Management in Mughal Sarai.”
“Oh. Such a naughty boy you are,” remarked Noi.
“Marketing sir. Marketing. That is what its all about,” replied Choti, playing around with his ponytail. “I can sell an air-conditioner to an Eskimo.”
“So I was telling Kaliya that it is important that money keeps coming in,” said Noi.
“Yeah, yeah, education is a recession proof business. Everyone cannot get into the IIIM. So they will have to come to us. And I sell dreams!”
“Yeah, your business model is ekdum tight,” said Noi. “But I am worried about our friend Kaliya. Iska kuch karna padega.”
“Yes, yes we should help him,” quipped Choti.
“So I was saying that it is important that money keeps coming in,” said Noi for the nth time.
“You are stuck like Ravi Shastri yaar. Imagine saying the same things for 20 years and getting paid for it,” interrupted Kaliya, who was slightly irritated by now.
“Aage kya bolun. That is my business model,” says Noi.
“As in?” asked the management guru, totally surprised.
“And I thought you were smart guys. Let me explain. See investors should always be ready to keep putting money into your company. And then you can use that money to launch some business. Look at me, I am into hotels, insurance, real estate, movies, newspapers, television and what not.”
“So?” asked Kaliya.
“So, I don't know what I really do.”
“So?” asked Choti.
“Well when I don't know what I do, how can the world know what I really do?” asked Noi.
“So?” asked Kaliya.
“So I can keep raising more money.”
“But how do you repay the guys whose money falls due?” asked Choti.
“Oh. That is very simple. I repay the old investors using money being brought in by the new investors.”
“Wow. What a formula!” exclaimed Choti. “I will now dare to dream beyond business schools.”
“Yes, yes, why not, it is always good to have some healthy competition,” said Noi, trying to show his large heartedness.
“But Kaliya why are you still sad?” asked Noi. “I have given you the foolproof business formula. Whether your real business makes money or not it is important to keep rotating money.”
“Ab ek baar muskura do na yaar,” said the management guru getting happy and gay.
“Arre, but this doesn't solve my problem na.”
“But why not?” asked Noi. “Using this formula you can start another airline.”
“Yes. Airline. Aren't you unhappy because Woodpecker Airlines is shutting down?”
“Not at all. I am unhappy because I have just finished shooting another Woodpecker calendar. This is what gives real meaning to my life. And I won't be doing it for at least another year.”
“Yana ka jaana!” quipped Noi. “Must be really hurting you!”
“Ah Kaliya, I have a solution for you,” said the management guru.
“Really?” asked Kaliya.
“Why don't you make monthly calendars, you know. A different model for every day,” suggested Choti. “How about that?”
“Brilliant idea. That will keep me busy throughout the year,” remarked Kaliya. “And you know what, I love flying paper planes with my models around!”
Vivek Kaul is a writer. He can be reached at email@example.com