Not only are they paying big money to cricketers and umpires to endorse Coca-Cola and Pepsi, but they are also paying money to ordinary citizens if they drink the stuff.
I realised this when I went to a restaurant and ordered a Coca-Cola. The waiter told me: “If you drink Coca-Cola, they pay you Rs. 500, but if you drink Pepsi, you get Rs. 1,000.”
“One minute, one minute,” I said. “Are you trying to tell me that if I drink these, I do not pay for them, but the companies pay me.”
“That’s right,” said the waiter. “If you drink Coca-Cola and allow your photograph to be taken, you get paid
Rs. 5,000, but if you drink Pepsi and get your picture taken, you get Rs. 10,000.”
“Ten thousand is a lot of money.” I said. “Imagine the number of Pepsis I can buy in Rs. 10,000.”
“You don’t have to buy them,” the waiter said. “If you line up 100 Pepsi bottles in front of you and drink them one by one, they pay you Rs. 20,000.
However, if you drink one giant bottle of CocaCola, the kind they roll into the cricket grounds during drink intervals, they will present you with a cheque of
Rs. 40,000, and Tony Greig will interview you during the presentation ceremony.”
“I don’t understand this,” I said. “Why should they pay me all this money for endorsing Pepsi or Coca-Cola, I am not a cricketer?”
“Are Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai cricketers!” the waiter said. “They also get paid.”
“That’s true,” I said.
“If you drink Coca-Cola in the company of Aishwarya Rai, you get paid Rs. 50,000, but if you drink Pepsi with Sushmita Sen, you get Rs. 1 lakh.”
“Is that the highest they will go?” I asked.
“Well, no, if you grab a bottle of Pepsi from Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli, after jumping over desks and tumbling over benches, you get Rs. 2 lakh.”
“1 thought Azharuddin did that,” I said.
“Yes,” said the waiter, “but if you grab the Pepsi from Azharuddin, you get Rs. 5 lakh.”
“That sounds interesting,” I said.
“Then 1 must tell you, if you grab both Pepsi and Coca-Cola from Azharuddin, plus a pair of Reebok shoes, you stand to make Rs. 10 lakh, cash down,” the waiter said.
“There seems to be no limit to this,” I said.
“If you break the windscreen of a Pepsi truck, you get a bottle of Pepsi, but if you break the windscreen of a Coca-Cola truck, you collect Rs. 20 lakh.”
“Nobody gives away money like that,” I said. “There must be some string attached to it.”
“ 0,” said the official, “there is nothing official about it.”
“What happens if I order a Limca and sing Limca, Limca...,” I inquired.
“You pay for your Limca and customers are not allowed to sing in the restaurant,” the waiter said.
March 19, 1996
With so many new restaurants opening, my friend, who lives on the 21st floor, is planning to have a restaurant of his own.
He was telling me about it: “It will be a cross between China Garden, Khyber, Jewel of India, Pratap Lunch Home and The Golden Dragon. The architects will be Charles Correa and I. M. Kadri and the interior décor will be done byParmeshwar Godrej, Elizabeth Kerkar, Zarine Khan and Sunita Pitamber.”
“It will be a beautiful restaurant,” I said.
“Yes,” said my friend. “There will be a team of chefs from Bangkok, Hong Kong, Paris, Rome, plus Indian chefs,
“Of course,” I said.
“The bar will have only foreign liquor, except for a case of Indian rum to be kept aside for Mr. Ramesh Sattawalla.
The bar stools will be horses….real horses. All types of cocktails will be prepared by a bartender from Raffles Hotel bar in Singapore.”
“Wow,” I said. “Will there be music?”
“Not in the bar or the restaurant, but in the washroom, where you go to wash your hands after eating butter chicken with butter naan. Everytime you turn on the tap, the music will start. It will be a live band from the Bay View Bar,” my friend said.
“And the restaurant - will it be brightly lit, with lights reflecting on white marble, as per the new trend started by
Mr. Nelson Wang, or will it be romantic soft lights and dark shadows, where you do not know whether you are eating non-veg or veg, as at the Rendezvous?” I asked.
“Well, I could not make up my mind on that, so I have decided to have the restaurant on two floors, one floor will be bright and one floor will be dark,” he said.
“Anything else?” I asked.
“Yes,” said my friend. “The glasses will be Austrian cut-glass, the knives, forks etc. genuine silver, and the ashtrays will be gold. Each ashtray will have written around it, in letters embedded with rubies and pearls, the words - Smoking is injurious to health.”
“That’s fair enough,” I said.
“There will be flowers on each table, flown from
Holland and Israel each day. I will be using my own plane
to fly them in daily, since Air-India flights are not very dependable. Mr. Singhania has offered to fly for me daily, in record time.”
“What about service?”
“The head-waiter will be from France, naturally. That is the job the French are meant for. The other waiters will be locally hired,” my friend said. “The uniforms will be designed
by Mrs. Bhanu Athaya, the Oscar winner.”
“With a restaurant like that, customers will be pouring in,”
“What customers!” my friend said. “I am starting the restaurant so that I can eat in it every day. I can’t afford
to go out to these fancy restaurants and pay Rs. 65 for a
July 22, 1988