Madness, megalomania, or hard-earned fruits?

Mukesh Ambani is the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries. The elder son of Dhirubhai Ambani grew up, like the rest of the family, in a chawl (vottara) in Girgaum. He is married to Nita and the couple have three kids, Akash, Isha and Anant.

The Ambanis—Dhirubhai and Kokilaben, the brothers Mukesh and Anil, and their families—have lived for the better part of the last two decades in a 13-storey building called “Seawind” built amid much opposition from neighbours and environmentalists, in Cuffe Parade.

Now, Mukesh is building a home of his own called “Residence Antilia” on a 4,532 sq ft plot on Altamount Road, also in South Bombay, where the land rate is Rs 75,000 per square foot. Last night, the Hindi television channel Aaj Tak ran a 15-minute programme on “India’s Most Expensive House”, full of the kind of details that so enthrall Hindi viewers.

# Mukesh new home to accommodate the six members of his family—himself, his wife, their children, and his mother—is going to be 27 storeys tall.

# Although the “glass house” will be 27 storeys on the inside, its actual height of 173.12 metres will be equivalent to that of a 60-storey skyscraper from the outside.

# The value of the land on which the building is coming up is Rs 350 crore.

# The total built-up area is 4,500 square metres.

# The building will have three helipads.

# The first to sixth floors will be a parking lot, and 168 cars can be parked inside the house at any given time.

# Four of the 27 floors will be for the six-member family, two floors for guests.

# One floor, possibly the seventh, will be the workshop for the cars parked in the building.

# The 8h floor will house a 50-seater home theatre, complete with a balcony and a garden.

# One floor will be a beauty parlour, another will house a swimming pool and a gym.

Agreed, Mukesh Ambani is an uber-rich man and he cannot be expected to live like plebs. Agreed, it is his money and he is free to do what he wants to do with it. Agreed, in South Bombay, you can only build vertically. Agreed, he has to make a statement. And maybe, the new building will be a great new addition to the skyline in the city of dreams.

Still, is this the kind of conspicuous consumption that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was targetting?