So my friend Mr Moneybags was getting his son married off to a girl from another wealthy family. He sent me a summons to come to his aid immediately. I rushed to his aid. Not just because he’s rich, but because it would be interesting to see what kind of trouble he had gotten into from which he could not buy himself out.
I went past the double security gates, the velvet lawns, the gelatine detector, the metal detector, the RDX detector, the eyeball scan, the fingerprint scan, two sniffer dogs sniffed me, I crossed lots of fluffy white carpet, skidded across a polished parquet floor, was led to Mr M’s study lined with leather covered books all the way to the ceiling. It looked like an exclusive English club with leather sofas and the aroma of perfectly bended Cuban cigars. Mr M was struggling with a list.
“Help me,” he said. “I need to make a list of items that invitees to my son’s wedding can buy as wedding gifts.”
“I don’t think the concept of a bridal registry has caught on in Goa,” I said, “And anyway these days everyone says they don’t want presents, just the invitee’s presence is all that is required.”
“Now that is silly, and maybe be okay for people like you,” he said, “but I am a pragmatic man and a wedding like anything else is all about income and expenditure.”
“Well anyway,” I said, “We don’t have any bridal registry that I know of where the couple can list the things they want with a chosen store.”
“What is the use of that?” he asked.
“Well the gift registry is updated and it has a system to prevent duplicate gifts. And the couple gets whatever they have selected.”
“No, I’m not interested in that,” he said. “I have already given them a penthouse apartment in Mumbai, a farm and farmhouse in Goa and a holiday home in the Bahamas. All are fully furnished and staffed.”
“Then just go with the ‘No Presents Please’ theme,” I said.
“What you think, money grows on trees?” he demanded. “Don’t you know how expensive living has become?”
“I know how expensive living has become. I finish all my earnings on groceries only. If I need anything else, I will have to shoplift,” I said.
“That’s the thing,” he said, “So I am making a list and I need your help. I need about 300 kg of sugar, 300 kg of tur dal, 500 kg of channa dal, 400 kg of moong dal, 700 bags of potatoes. 1000 sacks of Basmati rice, 1000 sacks of flour. You think flour makes sense? Weevils and things?”
“Isn’t that too much for the wedding banquet?” I asked, “Is the caterer not handling that?”
“Of course the caterers are handling that. I have 17 caterers handling all sorts of cuisines. This is the list of gifts I want the invitees to bring to the wedding,” he said.
“I don’t see guests dripping with silk and diamonds, staggering in with sacks of rice,” I said.
“I don’t know why I called you; you are no help at all,” he said. “Just give me some more items to put on the list and I will send a list with each invite.”
“You can ask for anything, garlic has shot up, onions, potatoes, carrots, oil, capsicum, brinjals too,” I said.
“No. No brinjals,” he said, “I hear they are growing BT brinjals in Goa without telling anyone; I want to live to see my great grandchildren.”
“Well then, dairy products, poultry, meats, fish! Oh my goodness, fish,” I said, “fish has become as valuable as gold today, but where will you store it at the wedding venue?”
“I will have reefer containers at the venue, so all perishables will be properly stored,” he said. “I will have a food inspector to check everything too. You know how some guests always try to palm off rubbish on the happy couple?”
“I know what you mean” I said. “We are still trying to get rid of the 99-rupee store stuff some people gifted to our family wedding.”
“I am not interested in your family wedding, I have my own problems,” he said.
“So you who are the richest person I know are also feeling the pinch of rising prices,” I said. “You will use this for cooking for your family and retainers?”
“Nonsense,” he said. “I will hoard all this merchandise and when the price is right, I will sell it all.”