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Monday, May 23, 2011

Labor pains..

While in search of our land, I came across a person who was into herbal extraction and exports. We got chatting about the project I was pursuing. I told him that I was seeking a large parcel of land which had good power and water facilities. He told me that he could help me out through a “political figure” from Dindigul area who is/was the wife of a serving state minister. My acquaintance was apparently her “advisor”. A retired bank manager engaged in herbal extraction and an advisor to a political person just did not seem right. Anyway, I did not question much and agreed to meet the lady. 

Cautious but inquisitive, I asked him to arrange a meeting with the lady who allegedly was politically affiliated. When I arrived at the location, I am ushered into her flat cum office in Anna Nagar. There was a Bolero parked under the stilts with number plate starting with TN 59 … which was a dindigul number , so we knew she was indeed from Dindigul.  We enter the flat and are greeted by a lady sitting behind a small desk. She was loaded with jewellery starting from her ears down to her fingers and everything in between. Couple of big gold necklaces adorned her neckline. She was flanked by 3-4 “side kicks” who were sitting in a straight line.
General introduction ensued and soon we get down to business. I tell her about my cultivation plans etc. I describe the benefits of the project socially, economically, and environmentally. Her frequent nodding of head gives me inkling she is excited about the project and or at least she pretends to! 

She assures me of full support and would help me in finding a good patch of land near Dindigul area. I feel pretty good about it since it enjoys fairly good weather year round and has good fertile soil as well. Towards the end of our discussion, she tells me that she does not want anything in return but would like to be acknowledged periodically through PR events organized by us. That did not seem to be an unreasonable request since I was planning to do a few PR events myself – including her as well would not make much of a difference. 

Then the stinker came when she said she would like to control the labor since it was her “area”. She maintained that she wanted to make sure her people are not exploited in anyway and are “looked after well” and are provided with offs during political events. That pretty much dashed my hopes of going any further with her. I told her that I would get back to her but I never did. 

Several months later, I saw the same ex bank manager at the Coimbatore Agri Expo. He had put up a stall for Chinese poultry and piggery enclosures. We exchanged pleasantries and I moved on to the next stall. I still do not understand how on earth does a retired bank manager start a herbal extraction plant, is a political advisor and still has time to import Chinese animal enclosures. I guess I need to learn from the master multi-tasker!  

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