November 07, 2012

My Billion Dollar Building

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 fully.

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 different sizes.
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?

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