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The dance of development

Dear Landomus Realty Ventures,

Let me tell you how delighted I am on seeing your heart-warming ad in a prominent newspaper addressing our leadership. Your desire to invest $500 billion in our country’s National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) couldn’t have come at a better time. Your dream of making India a global destination by supporting the completion of projects in energy, social infrastructure, manufacturing, etc, is indeed commendable.

While our indefatigable leaders may take some time to get back to you regarding your exciting offer, considering how busy they are now, as a dynamic, atmanirbhar citizen of New India, I have taken the liberty of responding to your letter with a small project that you could undertake in the interim. I assure you, it will enhance your reputation in no small way as a serious player in the infrastructure field.

That your establishment is located in Secaucus, New Jersey, makes my proposal that much more poignant.

Getting right to it, if you have read my previous columns, you may be aware of Ambujam Mami. Now, serendipitously, her second daughter lives in New Jersey. This brings us to my proposal: lending your support to completing Mami’s long-delayed arangetram project.

A little back story here. Mami’s arangetram was originally scheduled to be held at NJ’s own legendary State Theatre on September 12, 2001. Invites were sent out, videographers were ready, caterers had made rava kesari with extra cashew. It was, as they say, all systems go. The previous day’s incident, unfortunately, put paid to Mami’s dream. She recovered though, with intense coconut-oil-based ayurvedic therapy in Kerala, and with renewed vigour, set a date in August 2005. She chose Hallandale Beach, Florida, as her venue. This did have more than a bit to do with her athimber, Natarajan (aptly named, LOL), running a largish home for seniors who’d fill up the back rows of the auditorium. Alas, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on that precise day. I prefer not to mention the other dates of Ambujam Mami’s aborted arangetrams because they’re bound to make us all revisit buried traumas. Suffice it to say, her arangetram saga is the tragic version of Forrest Gump.

Anyway, she is fighting fit now. Twenty years of non-stop practise have made her a Black Belt in Bharatanatyam (there is a school offering one here, BTW) and Sundaram Mama develop a permanent, if alarming, facial tic that makes him look like Lalita Pawar.

All we are asking for is an outlay of a mere $100, 000, jujube for someone with $500 billion.

Don’t dismiss our proposal hastily, sirs, saying our ambitious yet low-cost project has nothing to do with any of the sectors you are interested in. It does. More than you can imagine.

Your interests lie in the energy, social infrastructure, manufacturing, transport, food processing, water, and sanitisation sectors, don’t they? Any good arangetram requires inputs from all these sectors.

A lot of energy will be required to power the twinkling serial lights on Ambujam Mami’s 40-foot cut-out. Social infrastructure, you say? What is an arangetram if not education, community, play, youth, recreation, sports, and faith, all combined? As for manufacturing, we will be making cut-outs, printing invites, tailoring dresses, won’t we? Don’t even make us explain transport, food processing, water, and sanitisation, okay? People will travel to the venue, eat processed food, drink water, and go to the loo. All covered.

Looking forward to an early response from you, sirs. Let’s make India great.

Yours in anticipation,


Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books and edited an anthology.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 1:28:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/the-dance-of-development/article34724975.ece

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