“Boy! That’s life king size – all those skimpily clad, shapely calendar girls, lovely beaches, the free booze, the fleet of aircraft and banks to fund all that selflessly expecting nothing in return. How I hate Vijay Mallya!” Into his third round at the bar, the friend, normally tolerable, was getting emotional about life, lavishness and luxury.
The immediate provocation was the news piece on the liquor baron-cum-potentially doomed airline owner playing on television. It was about the Kingfisher employees having not been paid their salaries for many months. For some malicious reason, the video going with the news item showed Mallya dancing merrily with a few models at some event. His moves were neither elegant nor graceful but they were driving the friend nuts.
“Have you made it large? How am I going to reply to that question ever? Forget being the king of good times. I seem to be the lord of bad times. See how the banks scoff at my salary slip and refuse a loan,” the friend was distraught. The topic had to be changed before others around took note. But perhaps it was a bit too late for that. The damage was done.
“Why don’t you become Nitin Gadkari’s driver?” said a stranger sitting across the table helpfully. “It’s not a bad idea at all. And please don’t look offended. He drove Gadkari’s car but he was made the director of six companies too. That’s not bad deal at all. He can surely claim he has made it large in life, which you cannot,” he added.
He looked long and deep at the friend expecting an answer though no real question was asked. It was the look instant philosophers excel in— the vacant, nonsensical one.
Things were getting a bit weird at the table. The friend looked back hard at the stranger. The ‘what the shit… who the hell are you’ note in it was hard to miss. On any other day, at some other place he would have pounced on the guy and ripped him apart. But he was at loss for words. Probably, he was in a state of shock at the brazenness of the unsolicited advice —from the company of bikini babes to chauffeuring a car was certainly a big comedown – or probably he had one peg too many.
The stranger was not done yet. He was intent on making a point. “Look Boss, let’s be practical in life. You are no Robert Vadra so that you can marry someone like Priyanka Gandhi. Priyanka is capable of making terrible choices, but she has already done it. You stand no chance. So forget the idea of making it big by buying land cheap and selling it expensive to friendly developers. Why not start small? You never know when Lady Luck will smile on you. She is known to smile at idiots at times,” he said.
The conversation was certainly going haywire. One could feel the friend bristling at the slight from the fellow from God knows where. But, for a change, he was not being combative. He was submissive like all good students before their teachers. He was drunk for sure. “Yaar, where the hell are you from? How much do you charge for free advice? But before that answer this question. Have you made it large, ever?” The stranger looked back, a bit confused. He was not somebody used to being asked questions.
The friend had warmed up now, ready to throw existential questions at the stranger. “Do you know what it means to be the king of good times? Did you ever make a calendar even with animals? Did you ever drink beer made in your own plants? Did you ever fly your own aircraft? I don’t think any bank ever sponsored your luxuries. How many times recovery agents visited your home threatening to throw you out? Stop giving advice when you can do with some.”
The stranger was getting furious. The barrage of questions had ended his good times at the bar. The friend had to be escorted out. So much for good times!