Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Giant Ambani

So today at work I read a mention of a petrochemicals billionaire whose new 27-story mansion with heliports will rise in full view of one of Bombay’s largest slums; this being a Distinction because all the slums in Bombay are enormous. Tonight it occurs to me, as I’m continuing to “process" this homeowner's tale, that maybe he has it in his mind to be an Inspiration. That he’s thought it through and now he's thinking: They’ll see it and wish to become me—they’ll see it and think that it’s possible—and they will work harder and harder until some of them even get out of that slum.

So I spend another hour at home on the internet trying to get what I can on this guy and his house, which I must report that as far as I can tell isn’t finished since 2007—but I can’t really be sure because there’s nothing accurate and new enough out there about the matter. Nor can I learn enough about Mukesh Ambani’s mind to tell whether he’s thinking to Lead by Example. He appears to be somewhat ridden by his wife but that’s the one and only insight I’ve been able to glean. (And good for her, by the way!) Otherwise, zilch, more zilch, and repetitions: I’ve almost had it with Google tonight.

But the rich—right? Lording it over the rest of us! Forever and Still! Who cares what they’re thinking? Everyone knows what they’re thinking: Hey you down there! Work harder! That is exactly what is going through their minds and I don’t need to read this on the internet to know it for a fact. Because for all their flaws and blessings, the rich are just like you and me. Or me at least, judging by how often I think the same thing myself. Hey you Mister I Sit on an Overturned Bucket in Front of a Convenience Store with a Cup For a Living! Work harder! I would have built in Manhattan, though—or better yet, across the river in New Jersey, for the view. Build a dock and a private ferry line while I was at it.

Could still happen.

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