I am planning to build a house to live in. I am thinking
out-of-the-box and thinking big. Really big. I am planning on building a
50-storey residence for myself and my little family. You think that’s a bit big
for a single family? No, no, let me explain.
The first five floors of the building will merely constitute the
car park for all my cars and those of my guests.
The next five floors will be service floors that will house
various amenities such as a laundry and warehouses to stock food supplies, etc.
Then, the next ten floors will
be for my guests. There will be master bedrooms and massage rooms and Jacuzzis
and gyms and sprawling bathrooms and facilities for playing lawn tennis and
basketball and squash.
The next five floors of the building
will house a common library to provide intellectual stimulation to my friends
as well as me.
There will be five floors on
top of these devoted to entertainment. There will be 5 movie theaters with
various seating capacities.
There will of course be an IMAX theater in there as well. You see,
I just love watching the crazy stuff that these NASA astronauts do up there in
space. So, I would like to enjoy watching some of that on an IMAX screen.
The five floors on top of those will be devoted to gyms and
bowling alleys and an indoor golfing green. Of course, I like to play the odd
round of lawn tennis and basketball and squash at times, so, those will be in
there as well. You see, I have got only one life to live and I want to live it
There’s nothing wrong in that, is there?
And, yes, I am planning to take care of the environment in my
building by devoting five entire floors of it to indoor gardens. There will be
an entire floor growing organic roses of every color from every corner of the
world. The Mughal Gardens will pale in comparison.
And I will have an entire floor full of tulips – something to
surpass the best that Netherlands has to offer.
Of course, I will be doing all this with the use of indigenous
technology and expertise and manpower predominantly.
Then, I will have two floors’
full of banquet halls done up in different ways: neo-Gothic and antebellum,
Roman, Mughal, etc.
When somebody gets to attend
one of my parties, I want that person to remember that party for the rest of
his or her life. And if some guests happen to be frequent invitees, even then,
I want to make sure that there will be surprises galore in store for them as
well so that they don’t feel as if they have seen it all.
There will be two floors of
conference rooms with different seating capacities to cater to meetings of
There will be two floors devoted to lounges and two personal
floors devoted to bathrooms and bedrooms for my family.
The top two penthouse suites will have office chambers for me as
well as a small observatory so that I can indulge my hobby of star-gazing. It
occurs to me that there will lots of stargazers outside of my home looking at
this awesome 50-story monument to my achievement and admiring it and learning
the skill of dreaming big like me.
I think that sums up to 50
floors. Actually, the plan I have in mind is quite flexible and evolving at
this point in time. As the construction work begins, if we need more floors, we
could choose to go a bit higher into the sky, say 60 floors, and we can also go
a bit lower by building a few basement floors. But, really, I don’t want to
take away from the extraordinariness of this building by adding something as
cheap as basement floors.
Wait! An Eureka! moment just
occurred to me. What about installing a small nuclear power plant in the
basement of the building. That will make my house a net generator of
electricity and instead of having to depend on the vagaries of an uncertain
power situation, I would be able to lend some electricity to the grid and
appear noble in the process.
By the way, one day I want to conduct the marriage of my daughter
in the most spectacular way possible.
I have a few sites in mind. I am planning on hiring the lawns of
the White House in D.C. or the grounds of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. With the
rising influence of India and China, it could be a good idea to host the
marriage in India itself. I could take over the grounds of the Rashtrapati
Bhavan in New Delhi. I could hire one of our aircraft carriers from the Navy
and we could have the marriage off shore. Even just thinking about the
prospects and the options makes my heart rate go up to 200. The doctor has
advised me not to get too excited about anything as getting too excited might
result in my getting a free ride to heaven. I do think about my mortality and
about the poverty that still prevails in my beloved India. But, I don’t think I
can do much personally to eradicate it.
Some people did suggest to me
that my building project seems kind of grandiose but I just realize that not
too many people are as far-sighted or visionary as I am. So, I let people shout
and my response to incidents of that nature without fail is that when an
elephant walks, dogs will bark.
Some people have suggested that
I could have built 100,000 primary schools with the money I am spending on my
house. Some say, I could build 5 IITs to take on the MITs and CalTechs of the
world. Some say, I could have built 5 hospitals that would have been as good as
anything that the West has to offer, such as the Cleveland Clinic or the Mayo
Clinic or Johns Hopkins or Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Others suggested that I could have been a pioneer in the efforts
to develop new cures for cancer and AIDS. I could have promoted a new
scientific institution to delve into the human genome and try and understand
the causes of these dreaded afflictions and unravel the mysteries of such
debilitating diseases as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
I could have funded fundamental research in physics or astronomy
or rocket science.
But, I think, it’s not my responsibility to eradicate the poverty
and backwardness of India. I have achieved enormous success in my chosen
vocation and my wealth is merely a symbol of the tremendous faith that my
company’s shareholders have in my skills and abilities. There are millions of
people out there whose entire life savings consist of stock in my companies.
Moreover, I think I haven’t failed in my primary duty towards my
shareholders: that duty being to provide my shareholders the maximum possible
returns. There are countless millionaires in my large family of shareholders.
Anyways, I just wanted to ask
you guys: do you think it’s okay for me to build this 50-storey residence for
myself or do you think I should spend the money in doing something that will
contribute to the larger society in some way.
I am sure that you have
absorbed enough of my entrepreneurial genes to concur with my choice of
erecting a 50-story mansion rather than spread the money over many projects
which are without exception projects with a long gestation period and whose
returns are not clearly visible and indeed may not fructify before my demise.
What’s the chance for example that if I spend all my money to better the
primary education infrastructure in India, I will be able to see tangible
results from that investment in my lifetime?
So, I just want to extend a warm welcome to all of you to visit my
home. It should be complete in a couple of years from now. Although, because of
security concerns, I would request that you wait for my invitation card before
making the journey to my own Taj Mahal. Or, may be, I should not say that, as I
am building this to celebrate my own achievements and not to perpetuate the
memory of someone other than me.
A parting thought: it occurred to me that it would be great to
create an artificial island in the middle of the Arabian Sea and build villas
there and live on an artificial island. What do you think?