By Pooja Baburaj:
Every individual is plagued by hard times, but how one goes about it is a matter of stratification, one’s social structure and their location in the elaborately interconnected whole that we call a society. Marx identifies the society as conflict-ridden: the conflicts arise in relation to an individual’s access to material or the symbolic rewards. These rewards are called life-chances or ‘Lebenschancen’. If you are born with golden hair or suddenly become rich in Las Vegas before you rest in a coffin, kudos! If not then never mind — you can spend your life as a pseudo-bourgeoisie, spending weekends at flea markets. Usually, every aspect of an individual life is determined by life-chances — whether the wallets we own will be made by Louis Vuttion or made in China. Let us examine how it affects our style of prayer.
We begin with the proletariats who are identified as the ones who do their grocery shopping with ration cards instead of visa cards, watch daily soaps and smack mosquitoes like pros. These modest, hardworking people pray that they should be blessed to earn enough money to afford two square meals. Then you might belong to the class who constantly wail about their back-breaking work schedules, spend most of the day in a cubicle, consider the coffee pot as their best friend and sleep drenched in sweat as the power often plays peek-a-boo in their colonies. These hard-working but not always modest people pray solemnly before an idol with several incense sticks: each stick denoting a 1000 rupee increment in their salaries. Next in line are the Page 3 elites whose idea of a prayer is to brainwash the Gods to take their side by offering golden doors to guard them at night in exchange of financial blessings. No wonder my prayers go unheard. (And all I ask for is a marital alliance with one of Bill Gates’ nephews)
Talking of rich people and their eccentric antics, the way Vijay Mallya is squandering his wealth reminds one of a saying by Gordon Gekko from Wall Street “A Fool and his money are lucky to have been together in the first place” Vijay Mallya, the “King of Good Times” has recently become the “King of Bad Times“. His airline, Kingfisher Airlines is on the brink of liquidation, he has not paid his workforce their hard-earned salary for several months, his creditors have let out their hounds for his blood, his stock price is in the doldrums and his investors have lost all they got but that hasn’t bunged Vijay Mallya from his airs. His latest call – A 2 kg gold-plated door for a temple of Lord Subrahmanya (Kukke Subrahmanya) And the cost: a whopping Rs. 80 lakhs. However, Vijay Mallya has made it apparent that this donation was for the Lord to wave off his financial problems. And if the Lord does keep his part of the bargain, Vijay Mallya has promised God a ‘reward’ — another gold plated door for the temple!
After a bit of deliberation, one does feel regretful for Vijay Mallya. He had such a fine thing going. He was raking in billions from the liquor industry. And then he was an unfortunate victim of the ‘Aviation Virus‘, infected by the cursed aviation bug that once bit Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic. He thought he could emulate him and went on to construct a virtual fan-base by getting super-models to pose in bikinis for the Kingfisher calendar. And then he met the perpetually unlucky Capt. C. Y. Gopinath. Anything Capt. C. Y. Gopinath deals with explodes like a cheap fire-cracker and turns into dust, which is ultimately swept off by the municipality into the drains. Ask Mukesh Ambani of Reliance who lost Rs. 100 crores owing to Capt. C. Y. Gopinath. He palmed off his worthless Deccan Airways to Vijay Mallya. Together, Kingfisher and Deccan Airways became a millstone around Vijay Mallya’s neck squeezing and strangling all the life and money out of him.
A sensible man would have learnt his lesson and laid low, but not Vijay Mallya. He thought that the Goddess of fortune would be seduced if he squandered away some more money and so he went and bought the God-forsaken IPL Cricket Team called Royal Challengers Bangalore. Whatever liability was remaining was sucked up by the IPL cricket team. And whatever money Vijay Mallya procured from the liquor business was cast away by Kingfisher and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Anyway, we sincerely do pray and hope that Kukke Subrahmanya will, at least for the sake of Kingfisher’s investors and workers, accept the divine deal that Vijay Mallya has proposed and rescue him from his financial complexities. However, for any such ‘rescue package‘, there must exist taut conditions attached to prevent Vijay Mallya from blowing up his money further.