Opinion

It’s showtime

MANASI PHADKE | Updated on January 15, 2018

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The Sarabhais and the markets

That Sarabhai vs Sarabhai Season 2 is set to make a comeback after seven years has taken the public by storm, as the Governor discovered much to his dismay on a regular, boring working day in the RBI. Janet Yellen raised the rates and thankfully the markets, which had already factored in the move a week earlier, did not show a knee-jerk reaction. There was no major outflow from stocks, and the Governor found himself breathing a bit easy. “Let me see what news analysts are saying,” he thought, and switched on the TV.

“OMG! Yellen has raised the interest rates, Mummyji!” shrieked a spokeswoman of Franklin Templeton Investment Funds, in a Monisha-esque voice. “Sahil, mein ghar chhod ke jaa rahi hoon!” Sahil, who in this case is supposed to be the Sensex, reacted positively and went up a few points. “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” wailed Monisha Templeton. “Here I am thinking of leaving home, and your mood is upbeat. Now I know Indian markets don’t value me!”

“Gawd, what the hell is the matter with these folks!” thought the Guv and flipped channels to CNBC where Lata Venkatesh was looking at the Franklin Templeton move of selling on Indian bourses. “To sell and move just because Yellen has behaved predictably is Foreign Institutionally middle-class,” she said. “The least they could have done is looked at the UP story and what it means for the speed of reforms in India. What do you think, Rosesh beta?”

Udayan looked simply delighted. “I’ve written a poem on this, Momma,” he squawked.

“Janet Auntie has acted like a hawk / Now the markets will listen to Momma talk!”

Lata was now simply quivering with the effort, but didn’t react to the poem.

“And here’s another one, Momma:

US waali auntie, US waali auntie, kitna bha kar lo rates ko hike, hike, hike

FB par Sensex ko hi milenge like, like like!

Deafening silence on the show. “How is it, Momma?”

“Why don’t you take a break, Udayan,” said Anuj Indravadan Singhal, with clenched teeth, “before I break somebody’s head here. This show is called the closing bell, but any more poetry from you, and we’ll have the show closing before the markets do. And yes, Maya, let’s have a cheeseburger on the Breakfast Show today!”

“I thought we’re here to discuss the heavyweight stocks, and not ourselves become heavyweight, Indu,” said Lata, icily. “How about food for thought?”

“Here’s Maya in top form, folks! Why don’t you take a break while my heart breaks from the lack of sympathy on this show..”

“This is it! Everybody has gone complete nuts!” thought the Governor, switching off the TV as his special hotline rang softly. The ring tone was Mittrrrrron.

“Looks like politics is controlling economics, Urjit. Markets are up, Congress is down. I sometimes wonder about the NCP though. Can it pose a threat at the local level?”

“NCP? Unki ghadi kahaan kaam kar rahi hai?” said the Governor, before he’d realised he was being Dushyant. Horrified, he tried to cover up. “I mean, Sir, errr...”

But he was met by a chuckle at the other end. “You’ve been watching too much TV, Urjit!” the PM said laughingly. “ Yeh jo najar aate hain, Mittron, Yeh toh woh hain nahi...”

The writer is a Pune-based economist

Published on March 19, 2017

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