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   I am most impressed by people’s offices... (June 22, 1990)

I am most impressed by people’s offices. I mean, outside you see them at cocktail parties, holding a glass of whisky-soda and standing next to their wives, and you don’t give them a second glance. And then you go to their offices and you are stuned and realise what they are really worth.

Yesterday, in the latest issue of the Business Plus cassette (No.3), I saw the office of Mr. Manu Chhabria, the corporate raider. You enter it though a massive wooden door, the size you would require if you wanted to lock up the Gateway of India. Inside, there are captains, paintings, and a tall Chinese vase that looks like it owns the office and not Mr. Chhabria.

Mr. Murli Deora, who appears in the same cassette has a less affluent offic. There is a painting, a plant, and a desk in which he keeps ballpens, shaving razors and such other items to give to friends who drop in as gifts. In his case, hi house is more impressive than his office, but then his wife is a professional interior decorator.

All advertisement executives have fancy offices, but that is in keeping with the nature of their business where the image is more important than the substance (product). Mr. Sylvester do cunha’s office, at least the last time I visited it, had no desk. Instead, there is a narrow shelf, and when he works from that shelf, he has his back to the visitor.

I have not seen Mr. Frank Simoes’s office, but I am told he has cane furniture. This is hearsay, you understand.

Nor have I seen Mr. Alyque Padasee’s office. Whenever I have called on him, he has seen me in a sort of a private reception room that is attached to his office. Which is being very classy.

Mr. Bal Munkar has an extra-tall chair. And he puts his visitors on a low sofa. Which, if you ate a visitor, makes you feel like Mrs. Gita Piramal looking up and interviewing business executives.

Politicians inherit their offices, like they do their official houses, so their personality is not stamped on the office. So do newspaper editors. But Mr. Samir Jain, who is a proprietor and not an editor and so has a more permanent stake, has an office which looks like a spare store-room, where he has moved is a desk.

My own office is quite simple. When visitors see me there, they say: “My, what a simple man you are!” They do not know I am simple because I am not entitled to anything more impressive.

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