The secret diary of V Mallya, aged 60


Pages out of the liquor baron’s private memoirs as he settles amidst the Red Coats

March 13, 2016

Depressed. I am living in poverty in the UK. All I have is 36 acres. Feeling cramped and claustrophobic, plus, how will I manage with just 43 Mercedes? None of them matches my pink shirt.

A secretary from the finance ministry called to inform me that they are misplacing the relevant files as quickly as possible. I told them to work faster. You have to give them credit, though. It’s been 40 years since my friend Bill invented the PC, but they’re still not using computers. People think I’m smooth, but look at them. They’re an inspiration. It’s because the IAS exam is so competitive.

Sid keeps whining about supermodels. He misses them. What can I do? None of them are taking my calls. Talk about ingratitude. Am shocked. Are they worried about not being paid? I don’t see why. I never paid them before.

March 14, 2016

Problems in the morning again. The ghost of my father keeps tapping on the bathroom window while I’m trying to do the ‘big job’. This happens every day. Sometimes he manages to get in. He moans and cries and keeps waving a calculator at me. From time to time, he raises his face to the chandelier and howls like a lost soul trapped in the lowest pit of hell. He hovers over the commode, trying to strangle me, frustrated by his lack of flesh. I try to get him with the comfort nozzle, but the water keeps going though him. ‘Son’, he whispers tearfully, ‘give me back my money.’ This is very inconsiderate. His sobbing is interrupting my bowel movement.

The bikinis were delivered. They were the wrong size, so I sent them back. Some of the high-heeled shoes were quite cute, though.

The oil painting of the State Bank chairman came in today. I am placing it in the living room, to remind me of the good times. Such a kind, sweet lady, and not at all hasty. She only declared me a defaulter in November 2015, because the State Bank of India does not like to jump to conclusions. The painter asked me for payment. I told him to come back next week.

Got another prank call. Some jackass at the other end just went mwahahahaha and then disconnected. I suspect Captain Gopinath.

March 15, 2016

Woke up this morning to find that my airplane-shaped pillow is missing. Am shocked. The security in this house is terrible. I may have to start paying them.

Called the Tirupati temple. Asked them to give back the three kilos of gold which I had donated to them in 2012. They said no. Perplexed. Had no idea that it was non-refundable.

Am debating the merits of a thong. Am in two minds. My ass will look gorgeous, but I worry about wedgies.

March 16, 2016

The ghost of my father got into my bedroom last night, still crying bitterly. Between sobs, he tried to give me advice. “Buy cheap,” he whispered. “Buy ch-e-e-e-a-p.” This is becoming intolerable. Called up Tirupati Temple and asked them if they could send over a priest, at least. They said no. It’s as if gratitude is a foreign concept.

Sid came over from acting school. He spent the whole evening sitting in front of the fireplace, whining. All my family members seem to be upset with me. I offered him some beer, but this made him even angrier. He wants me to get him a role in the next Karan Johar movie. After a while, he became quite abusive. He blamed me for blowing up his inheritance. He said my new beard made me look like a Bond villain. He was hysterical. I worry about him. He’s been like this ever since Deepika ditched him.

This is not the right time. Perhaps tomorrow morning.

March 17, 2016

The bikinis are all here, finally, so I called Sid down from his bedroom, where he was getting a foot massage. “Try this on,” I say, handing him a hot little number in fluorescent pink. He looks puzzled, like me when I try to do math. I put a hand on his shoulder. It is lissome. “We can’t afford supermodels anymore, son,” I say. “This means we have to model for the calendar ourselves. It was part of the contract. They were very insistent. This should teach you a lesson. Making money is never easy.”

To my surprise, he is not reluctant. Or maybe I should not be surprised. He was always a little swishy. As the sun sets over the green English meadows, the gardeners prune the hedges, we try on bikinis, father and son, striking poses and doing the duck face in the mirror. It is a rare moment of togetherness. My troubles seem far away. Finally, I am at peace.

Shovon Chowdhury’s latest novel, Murder With Bengali Characteristics, is set in a Calcutta occupied by China

Published on March 18, 2016



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