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   My friend, who lives on the 21st floor and has more... (December 17, 1987)

My friend, who lives on the 21st floor and has more wealth than the Scindias and Kashmirs put together before the government took away their money, is planning the marriage of his daughter. "It will be a simple marriage," he was telling me, "none of this ostentatious display of wealth and power like the Ambanis and the Doshis and the Hindujas and Asif Ali Zardari." "I am happy to hear that," I said. "Yes," said my friend. "The wedding invitations will not be printed in gold letters on art paper and they will not be accompanied by boxes of almond chocolates. There will be no invitation cards, instead, a gold-lined video cassette will be sent to each nvitee. He can see has been individually and personally invited by me. For those who may not have TV sets and VCRs, a set will be sent, which they may keep." "What about the almond chocolates?" I asked. "I cant afford them," my friend said. "However, each invitation will be accompanied by a card entitling a quiet dinner for two at the Oberoi's Supper Club with one glass of Indian champagne." "What sort of a barat are you expecting from the boy's side?" I asked. "I do not now, I have left it to them. But arrangements have been made to receive the barat on platforms 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Victoria, Terminus. The whole station is being repaved with marble and the beggars are being given new clothes to wear." "Nice," I said. "From the station, a fleet of new Ambassador cars, since the Premier Padminis and 118NEs are reserved for the Doshi wedding will take the guests to all the five star hotels that I have booked. The municipal corporation is relayaing all the main roads from VT to the hotels, the mayors gesture to me for my modest gesture to me for my modest contribution to the Vile Parle victory." "Where are you having the wedding?" I asked. "I did not want anything too big, so I am having it at the racecourse," my friend said. "The entire race-course will be used, then after the three days of the function, it will be restored to its original shape, as Mr. Murli deora had done after the Congress function." "You are expecting a log of guests?" "Not many, but members of parliament will have to be invited, and ministers, and, of course, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi," he said. "You are expecting a lot of guests?" "Not many, but members of parliament will have to be invited, and ministers, and, of course, Mr.Rajiv Gandhi," he said. "You expect Mr. Gandhi to come?" I asked. "I do," my friend said, "And, after he sees with what simplicity and modesty I have celebrated my daughter's wedding, he may, perhaps, make me railway minister."

 
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