By Sanjay Jha
A secret rendezvous for damage-control was recently held amongst Shashank Manohar (BCCI President), N Srinivasan (Secretary ), K Srikanth (Chief Selector ) and the former IPL Commissioner Just Suspended (Lalit Modi) at a luxury resort in exotic sun-kissed beaches of Goa. Here is the transcript of their discreet exchange in our exclusive sting operation .
Srinivasan: I don’t like this venue for our clandestine meetings, it is a straight give-away .Which idiot chose it?
Modi ( with a sadistic smile): I did.
The venue was called The Lalit.
Manohar: Good morning, everyone! I am glad ..
Modi (interrupts, sarcastically uttering with a wicked smile): It is 5 minutes past 12. It should be Good afternoon.
A thick impenetrable silence pervaded the chic conference room where a large glittering chandelier swung precariously from the ceiling, shaking like Shakira doing a Waka Waka from left to right.
Srikanth looked disconcertingly upwards and sneezed. Srinivisan gave him a dirty look for the bad omen, whispering in tandem: Om Shanti Om!
The atmosphere reeked of restrained animosity from all its venerable occupants. A stage set for a dramatic confrontation.
Manohar: Whenever you are around, everything is chaotic. Tense. Anyway Lalit, why are you washing all our dirty underwear in public?
Modi: Linen Shash, linen-that’s the apposite expression in the Victorian language! You know why? Because we are all VIPs remember? I am also planning to get the underwear brand to be our next sponsors after DLF. Imagine it will be called VIP IPL. That will be the wow factor! We can even sponsor streakers as a new revenue stream wearing VIP frenchies to protect Indian sensibilities. They will literally take the pants off the cheerleaders also.
Manohar: But why wash our dirty VIP linen…
Modi: Actually, I have a habit of cleaning things up, Shash. Completely. I am a man of high ethics and valuations.
Srinivasan: You mean values.
Manohar: And stop calling me Shash.
Modi: Coolio, if that’s the way you want it, Mr Shashank Manohar President-Not-Yet-Suspended of BCCI.
Srikanth sneezed, and the chandelier was now swinging rather dangerously. For the first time, even Manohar and Srinivasan looked at it suspiciously. Modi looked unfazed and seemed to be chuckling at their discomfiture.
Srininvasan: Lalit, I hope you have no foul intentions.
Modi: You guys are paranoid. I am no Phantom of the Opera. If I have to knock you guys out, I will not waste that awesome glass-piece on your thick-heads. It may not work on you all.
(Exasperated, Modi looked at his watch.)
Modi: Anyway, move on. We have just 10 minutes. Time is money.
Manohar: Why are you so sensationalistic? Always leaking news to the media?
Modi pointed to his see-through black shirt. Because I wear my transparency on my chest. They don’t call me a perfect show-man to the T for nothing. In fact, I accuse you of leaking away all the time.
Srikanth sneezed and with his little finger indicated he was taking a bio-break.
Srinivasan: (hollered back at Modi I make cement, Lalit. Breaking news is against our corporate philosophy. No leaks have ever emanated from me. Ever.
Manohar: Lalit, you have clear conflict of interest issues.
Modi: Wrong! I have no conflict of interest. I only have interest in conflicts.
Manohar seemed to have liked that confession. He nodded in acquiescence.
Modi: I am a patriotic fellow. The Americans called cricket like a game of baseball on valium. So I just changed it to Viagra. I am a genius.
Srinivasan: Creative destruction, I have to say.
Srikanth returned from the rest room and let out a loud sneeze to herald his arrival..
Srinivasan: Om Shanti Om!
Modi: Funny fellow! They call him Cheekha but he only sneezes.
Manohar: Thanks to you Lalit, we have become a laughing stock of the nation because of your shenanigans.
Modi: You are welcome! At least, I have made you a stock. Given you some value.
Srinivasan: But this stock will never see any appreciation, Mr Modi, all because of your vested interests.
Modi: Remember what Pawar saab said, we are like one big family. That’s why all of us have crossholdings. I can’t understand why you all are getting so cross about it.
Manohar: But why are only builders involved in all controversial stakes? .
Modi: Because we are still building the IPL brand. It is work-in-progress. We need specialists, for DLF’s sake, to make it all work brick by brick.
The chandelier swing had mysteriously subsided.
Modi: In fact, a perceptive company is planning a movie on my illustrated career.
Srinivasan: Illustrious, you mean.
Modi: That’s the problem with you Srini—. Exactitude. With rare exceptions like bank guarantees lapsing, of course . Ha Ha!
Srinivasan gulped a glass full of coconut water.
Modi: I am planning to give all of you roles in that film. You will play yourselves. But Shash, you will have to lose some weight. And Cheekha, you will have to stop sneezing and start shouting.
Srikanth: Cheeka, Sir! Really Sir? You are a good selector, Lalit Modi Ji.
Srikanth uttered his first and last words of the afternoon. And he did not sneeze.
Sush—-, whispered Srinivasan. I hear sounds. I suspect the media has sniffed us out. I suspect a sting operation. Be careful. I suggest we sneak out quietly.
Modi: Srini, stop Sush—ing. I don’t like you making things personal. Keep her out of it.
Srinivasan: She? Who? Where? What? Why? Whom? How?
Manohar (screamed like a vuvuzela in a South African football stadium): Enough! This farce is now suspended. Until our next farce, errr, I mean our next meeting.
Everyone dispersed using separate exit doors. As Srikanth departed using the kitchen’s spiral stair-case, a sneeze was audible.
Modi used the main door and walked out to a large battalion of press-and TV photographers shoving microphones into his wide mouth .
“Sir , what happened sir. Please tell us your Breaking News, sir.”
Modi started out by clearing his throat: This is brought to you by Vicks, a Proctor and Gamble company’s product.
Modi continued: At the end of the day……( Then he suddenly remembered the gag order of BCCI).
“Yes, sir, please sir. At the end of the day?”
Modi: At the end of the day…………….there is night.