Sunday, August 21, 2011

Anna Met Lalit

While the media was on a frenzy reporting on the Anna Hazare movement and how it had galvanized and united the entire country to fight against corruption, silently almost unnoticed, Lalit Modi the ‘Original King of IPL’ made a short visit to India. While none of the main-stream media even got a whiff of this (even though Modi is known to sport the most expensive and fragrant perfumes!); he couldn’t escape the ‘Roving Reporter’ – Sunstroke. Before you think ‘man this guy seems like this is a real journalist who doesn’t run after the stories that everyone runs for but has an art of waiting for the real ones and how he is the fresh breath of air that media industry was looking for etc; sunstroke actually did nothing ! Modi, apparently wanted to know who is the most low-key reporter in the city who can help him out without him getting noticed and the answer was unanimous! Sun-stroke. (Remember the good old Tinkle days when the tiger used to fall on Shikari Shambu, get trapped and Shambu used to get all the credit?; ya something like that!!!). To cut a long story short; Lalit met Sun and asked if he could get a meeting with Anna; yes Anna Hazare! While hearing this Sun almost lost his mind; but Lalit explained that he shares a lot in common with Anna, that they both were victims of corruption and he had some ideas to share and he wanted to do it quickly as he had a return flight to UK the next day! What follows is an excerpt of that discussion that took place in a coffee shop in an undisclosed location:-

Anna: "Aao Lalit, kaise ho

Lalit: Bas theek hoon Anna ji, wanted to share some ideas with you and hence wanted to meet you.

As he speaks he orders for 2 Starbucks coffee; 2 Cappuccino large he says, waving his hand…..

Anna: Lalit, tum pee lena; I am on a hunger fast till we get the Jan Lokpal Bill; you know how important it is and how this time I will ensure that I fast til the end and……

Lalit: Annaji..sorry I forgot about it; let me cancel it; I respect your sentiments and as a mark of solidarity I won’t have Cappucino either; I will settle for Hot Chocolate instead!

Lalit then went on to give one of the greatest motivational and visionary speeches’; excerpts of which are mentioned below:-

Annaji listen to me; while I understand that you are on a hunger fast for the Lokpal Bill, but I believe the issue is much larger. What you are targeting is a solution to a problem; what happens once the Bill is signed?

What is the roadmap for the next 5 years?

What are you planning to do next? In short Annaji..

”Where is the Vision, the Strategy”? I want to address all that.

1. Firstly, Annaji, I think this hunger-fast is a very old and “un-cool” way to protest. I mean why trouble your body like there is no tomorrow!. It’s more like a 18th century idea; It is like asking Suresh Raina to play test cricket; you got what I am saying?

We should sit in Ramleela Grounds for 1 month; we should mobilize the entire country-men, we should do everything that we are doing now, but with a slight difference! We should eat only Junk Food for the entire month as a mark of protest; so only pizzas, soft-drinks and burgers. For breakfast, lunch, dinner; only junk! Not only us, we should urge everyone supporting the movement to do the same. You see Annaji, whether you fast or eat junk food for a long period – the end result (damage to your body) is the same right? So we are not even compromising 0.001% on the core issue; just using a means that is more applicable for the 21st century India.

2. Can you imagine; this single move by you would help you garner support of the entire student community, IT, BPO working population and the every-growing, affluent Indian middle class! If not for the cause, I am sure it would give them a chance to gorge of junk food everyday!

3. Also, Annajiby doing this while this we ensure that the number of people participating in this movement would multiply in no-time, I will ensure that I speak to my colleagues in Pepsi, Coke, Dominos and Pizza Hut (The Kings of Junk) to see if I rope in them as sponsors for this event! Don’t get me wrong Annaji, it is not commercializing; but just a way to ensure that we are able to get the support of not only the ‘Common Man’ but also ‘Corporate India and the Shining Indians’. We can have a main-sponsor, an associate sponsor, a beverage sponsor and so on; you leave that planning to me Annaji; I will take it to closure.

4. Also Annaji, by doing all this I am sure we will get the bill passed! But we must not stop at it; that would be a huge mistake on our part; having built this franchisee we must ensure that we then take up the next issue and then the next. In fact if we can identify 5 to 10 major issues before I speak to my corporate friends, I can discuss on a long term contract with them; say for a 5 year period. I will tell them “See for the next 5 years, we will take up these top 5 issues of national interest; we will ensure that there is coverage by all the mainstream media for atleast 2 hours every day.” Once I give them a commitment and a long term view, we can get better deals from them. You get my point of the Vision na, Annaji. It is a vision for” National Interest”!

5. Also Annaji I have even more interesting ideas, but I will leave you with one final one; you can then think over them and I will send you the rest via e-mail once I reach UK. You know Annaji living in the UK has given me so much more exposure to the problems of the world; the crisis in Greece, the uprising in Egypt; the GDP growth issues in the US etc (since I don’t have any work here I have only been following all global news J ). I believe that if we restrict this movement only to India; we would again be “narrowing our vision”. Ultimately we are all the same people across the world right! Hence every year for 1 month we must take up top issues from across the world and raise similar protests for the same; to decide on which are the top ones we can have an elimination round or some process which again I would look into and finalize; and yes, for this as well I can talk to my corporate colleagues across the globe and we can work it out.

I have lots more to talk Annaji, like having an open and transparent bidding processes to pick the top 5 issues (process being audited by a Top 4 Global Firm) etc but as of now I must leave…Please do think about these and let me know…

If Anna Hazare has a change of heart, plan or mind in the next few weeks, you know whom to give credit for!