E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The competition between the Brothers Ambanis, Anil and Mukesh, is hotting up with no holds barred, be it at home or at business.
If the fight was over marbles and kites during their early years it is over planes, yachts and sky scrapers now.
The new toys they have procured (and are procuring) arouse so much curiosity and questions that finally the brothers agreed to meet the international media and answer queries.
“Your 400 crore yacht christened Tian is the talk amongst sailors right now. It is a hell of a toy. Aren’t you worried what might happen if you take her to the high seas with Somalian pirates on one side and non- state Pakistani actors on the other, scaring even the most peaceful sharks out there?” was the first question.
That was to younger Ambani, Anil.
“I have hired the services of US VI Fleet to guard us when we go out on a cruise. Tina and kids wouldn’t even feel anything going wrong around us. The largest Russian submarine will also be keeping a watch at handshaking distance.”
“What about the $50 million Airbus 319 you have presented to Nita, Mukesh? With jets and politicians making screaming noises in your region, how do you intend keeping Nita and children safe when they go around in the flying toy?”
“You can’t be sure of anything these days. When we enter Europe, the EU air defence system and NATO at Brussels will escort us as long as we are in Europe. Ditto, with US airbases giving us cover as we enter different territory. They will also do formations as we zoom along. Of course it will cost me a bit more. We want to make sure both safety and fun become part of our outing.”
“Your $2 billion 27-storey home ‘Antilia’ is really a 60–storey building that has hit headlines across the world, Mukesh. It would be quite a task overseeing maid servants when they clean and swab your place.”
“We can’t depend on humans any more, so we are getting robots to do the job for us. Robotics from New York will supply their machines. At the press of a button from the 27th, the robots in 14th and 9th floors will start dusting the sofas. I can spray jasmine room freshener for the 21st and rose for the 22nd from the ground floor.”
“Wow, that’s wonderful!”
“If we are coming back from vacation, say in the Bahamas, we can switch on all gadgets in kitchen, decide on the menu and get the dishes working so that our dinner will be ready as we land on the rooftop. Even champagne or lassi will be chilled to the right temperature”
“What about security?”
“Shabak, the Israeli security service, will provide internal security. We are also discussing with Scotland Yard and hope to have an agreement in hand soon,” replied Mukesh.
“What about you, Anil?”
“It’s in the drawing board stage is all I can say right now.”
“Can you share some highlights?”
“Well, basically, we are planning a home which will be a yacht in water, a jet plane while in air and a building with garden rest of the time. Depending on where we want to eat, go sightseeing, it will change accordingly. Something like, Sunrise in Tokyo followed by lunch in Thames’ waters in London or see the sun set as we fly into in Los Angeles is what we have in mind. The nitty-gritty will have to be worked out.”
The competitive spirit among siblings was truly overwhelming. As the reporters left the media conference, one of them was overheard saying, “What will they be fighting for, say ten years down the line? May be who controls Mars, Venus or who has already pocketed Jupiter or Saturn? Sky is not the limit for sibling rivalry.”
Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Mukesh Ambani