Beg, Borrow & Swallow

by sidin in ,


In this 60th year of Indian independence the nation is celebrating some of the things that stand at the very essence of our Indian identity. Things that make us proud to be citizens of this great, great country. Something that immediately comes to mind is Deepika Padukone.

But today I am going to talk about something that often gets overlooked when we sit and browse through the characteristics that make an Indian the successful world citizen that he is. We all know about his ability to form eighteen queues where, say, the British would only form one (ambition!); to walk resolutely into a passenger jet carrying the exact internationally approved cabin baggage allowance for 18 people (resourcefulness!) and to be extremely hospitable and welcoming even to complete strangers (fraanship!).

However seldom do we hear mention of that one great characteristic of his that has taken him or her to great heights in all walks of life. Yes ladies and gentlemen I am talking about THE GREAT INDIAN IDEA.

Never have a culture been so adept at spotting opportunities and immediately coming up with a brilliant idea to take advantage of the same.

For instance, who can forget that memorable instance when Captain Gopinath of Air Deccan saw his first commercial airline and thought to himself: "Someday I will make thousands of India's common people, the multitudes who have spent their lives in buses and carts and crowded trains, come to an airport for the first time and then stay there without food or water for well over a week because the plane is delayed due to unavoidable technical reason!"

Or when Venkatesh Prasad caught a glimpse of his first cricket ball, picked it up in his little baby fingers, and thought to himself: "One day I will take the Indian team to the world stage where, towards the end of a tightly fought match with just one wicket and four runs left for us to lift a cup, I will bowl a slow full toss outside off-stump to Steve Waugh."

And keeping in the spotlight this heritage, I would like to highlight a Great Indian Idea Person who recently emerged in the news.

He is Mr. Amarendra Nath Ghosh who saw an opportunity and immediately swallowed it.

Ghosh was born in Kolkata in 1960 and lived a rather unremarkable life for thirty years. Little did we know that in the early 90's he would swindle several national banks of over 20 crore rupees and make away with it to the sunny beaches of Dubai.

No one knows quite how he managed to slip away with so much cash but I have a theory: excess cabin baggage.

After a few petty jobs in Dubai he skipped off to the Vanuatu Islands where he pulled off a 300 million dollar scam in cahoots with the Prime Minister (of Vanuatu). By now the world was beginning to notice Mr. Ghosh who himself was seriously running out of luggage.

He then made his way to Germany by air. I am not really sure about this fact, but rumours are that he flew in First Class and then stole the entire cutlery they gave him with the dinner service.

That was the last straw.

Interpol immediately notified the world's police organizations about "the balding Indian gentleman who is a crafty swindler and was last spotted with a fork and several dessert spoons. Exercise extreme caution and serve only finger food!"

Then in 2003 the Germans caught him and decided to extradite him to India.

At this juncture Mr. Ghosh remembered something his grandfather had told all those years ago in Kolkata: "Never steal from anyone beta. And even if you do, immediately give up if they catch you. It is the honourable thing." Ghosh, while recognizing the inherent merits of such a noble approach, gave it the finger.

He then did what any young Indian man when faced with a police case does: he swallowed a four-inch long knife and cried hoarse that the flight to India would kill him. (Also there was no way he could make it through a metal detector.)

This screwed up things for everyone. For four years he chilled out in Germany. Well, he chilled out to the extent possible with a sharp cutting instrument strategically placed in one's throat. Soft music and strictly no roller-coasters and white water rafting is what I am thinking.

But the good news is that just last week the CBI in India were able to book an Air Ambulance (a plane fully equipped with beds and medical devices and a siren) to bring him back.

The plane will have Indian police personnel and doctors to watch over him.

"We have taken every precaution and will do everything in our power to keep him safe" they said, "including electrocution. The flight will be fun."

We wish the CBI all the best and hope they can finally bring Amarendra Nath Ghosh to justice.

We felicitate Mr. Ghosh on showcasing The Great Indian Idea and wish him a comfortable flight without turbulence.