My friend, who lives on the 21st floor and has a company which is larger than the combined industrial empires of Tatas, Birlas, Ambasia, Godrejs and Mehras, is planing his annual general meeting.
"I was planning to have it at the Cross Maidan, but it would be too small. My shareholders," he told me.
"Everybody likes to attend your AGM and see if you are in good health," I said.
"I thought of combining the Cross Maidan and the Azad Maidan, remove the fencings of the two maidans, grow grass on Mahatma Gandhi Road, which runs between the two maidans, grow grass on Mahatma Gandhi Road, which runs between the two maidans and make it into one ‘composite maidan for the olding of my AGM," my friend said.
"That's a good idea," I said.
"Yes," my friend said, "the municipal corporation agreed to hand over the Mahatma Gandhi road to my company to develop it as a part of the maidan. But the Bombay Gynmkhana, which occupies one end of the Azad Maidan, is refusing to part with its grounds. It says it will have to call its own annual general meeting to decide whether it can give it away."
"A shame," I said.
My friend said: "Some of these clubs are very starchy about rules, I have a good mind to withdraw my membership from the Gym. But, never mind, I thought of having the AGM on Chowpatty beach. Pandit Nehru always used to have his public meeting there and hundreds of thousands of people used to attend it."
"Yes, I remember that," I said.
"Unfortunately, they have advised me against holding it on the beach during the monsoon season, too open to the elements," he said, "I thought of the racecourse the last time that they have sworn never to give it out again to businessmen, even if the businessmen are not politicians."
"Oh, dear," I said.
"Juhu would be too far," my friend said, "and there also this problem of the monsoon season and the proximity of the sea would come up. Shivaji Park is too small. I mean, it is all right for Shiv Sena and Congress political meetings, but for an AGM it is quite inadequate."
"I suppose so," I said. "There seems to be no place for you to hold your annual general meeting this year."
"There is," said my friend. "My company is reclaiming from the sea the entire area extending from Nariman Point to Cuffe Parade on one side and Malabar hill on the other. We will hold the annual general meeting there, then, the following day, start constructing high-rise apartment buildings in the area and present one flat each to our shareholders as bonus for 1985-86."