MIDWEEK MASALA: India’s greatest magician

On the day India’s “market regulator”—the Securities and Exchanges Board of India (SEBI)—finally came face to face with a man who had eluded them for nearly a month, NIKHIL MADHAV RAO forwards a joke that is on us.


Three famous Indian magicians are drinking at a “permit room” in Bombay.

The first boasts: “During my last show in Mangalore, I made two women from the audience disappear. Even the Sri Rama Sena couldn’t guess how I had done it.”

The second magician says: “That’s nothing. At my open air show in New Delhi I made the Qutub Minar  disappear. Even the National Security Guard couldn’t guess how I had done it!”

The third sighs: “You guys are so local. When I went to Paris and made the Eiffel Tower disappear for a full hour. Even Interpol couldn’t guess how it was done!”

Just then a familiar figure walks into the bar. The three magicians turn quiet, exchange furtive glances and begin to slip away.

The curious bartender exclaims: “Yaaradhu maraya, what happened? Who is that guy?”

One of the magicians whispers: “He is the Master before whom we are lowly amateurs. He has done the biggest disappearing trick of all time. His name is Byrraju Ramalinga Raju. He made $1.5 billion disappear from his company’s balancesheet in front of everyone’s eyes over seven years, and the entire world is still looking for it!”