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Nitin Gadkari

I had a dream that the 2020 Olympics is being held in my home town, Nagpur...

Nitin Gadkari
Illustration by Sorit
Nitin Gadkari

I had a dream that the 2020 Olympics is being held in my home town, Nagpur. Of course, Suresh Kalmadi will still be the president of the Indian Olympic Association. And he will head the games organising committee. I am confident Sureshbhai will not spare any expense to make us all proud. Chairs will be rented for Rs 20 lakh each (cost price Rs 800), treadmills for Rs 30 crore and non-smokable cigarettes will be procured on a rental of Rs 500 (cost price Rs 1.50). RSS pracharaks will provide the security for which they will be paid in kind—Sureshbhai has promised them a flat each at the games village which will come up near the Dr Ambedkar International Airport.

That apart, being a man who plans ahead, the samosas for athletes have already been ordered by Sureshbhai from Manohar’s Japani Samosas, Lajpat Rai Market, Delhi. It will cost the exchequer Rs 500 a piece and will be flown to the venue by chartered flight. The tea served, I have been assured, will be the finest Darjeeling (Rs 10,000 per cup). Now, to be frank, I thought that rather expensive chai but Sureshbhai says anything cheaper will not come up to international standards. “We have to show that we are the best,” he said with infectious conviction. When I pointed it out to him that the Nagpur Olympics is just a dream, Sureshbhai shrugged his shoulders. “Boss, let me remind you of what Anatole France, the French novelist once said: ‘To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act’.” I said I could do both and actually had a soft corner for Bollywood.

Anyway, that is an insignificant  aside. While on the subject of dreams, let me visualise what I would be when the Nagpur Olympiad takes place? BJP president? Bah! I guess by then I would be the prime minister (surely, I will outrun both Sushmaji and Jaitleyji). In fact, in my mind’s eye I can see myself on the lawns of 7 Race Course Road entertaining guests and singing ‘Jeena yahaan, marna yahaan...’ (My favourite Mukesh song from Mera Naam Joker). I can also see myself on the ramparts of Red Fort hoisting the national flag and delivering my Independence Day speech about development-shevelopment. But, wait, the punchline will only come at the end when I look towards the Opposition and quote that line from Sholay—“Tera kya hoga Kalia?”

Anyway, to cut back to the games, if it’s held in Nagpur what would there be in it for me? Plenty, says Sureshbhai. “I know you own Nikhil Furniture and Appliances. It can rent out the chairs. And Empress Cooperative Paper Mills can supply the tissue rolls.” Well, I reckon all that is fine, but would India win any medal? “I have thought about that. You see, Suresh Kalmadi does not believe in problems—only solutions. Why, Gadkarisaab, we can institute new medals—copper, brass, steel, wrought iron, wood—for those who fail to qualify. So, rest assured, every Indian athlete will do the nation proud....”

(As imagined by Ajith Pillai)

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