How Not to Lose Your (Jet)Privilege: A Letter to Naresh Goyal from Vijay Mallya


How Not to Lose Your (Jet)Privilege: A Letter to Naresh Goyal from Vijay Mallya

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

My dear friend, Naresh Goyal,

First of all, congratulations! Welcome to the club. As an expert on failing at the airline business and being the trendsetter of the bhagoda campaign, let me guide you on how to be the King of Good Times even when the chips are down – for your employees and everyone associated with your company, that is. I didn’t mean you, lol.

Before you get too worked up, it is important to remember that you have only defaulted on a few thousand crores. It’s not like you’ve been caught with beef or refused to stand up for the national anthem. Also remember the wise words of Rahul Gandhi: Chowidar chor hai. So please do yourself a favour: Pour yourself a nice big pint and kiss the guilt goodbye.  

Remember, having a clean conscience is very important, because only then would you be able to enjoy making public appearances at cricket matches and roaming in yachts with supermodels while your staff stages protests about not receiving their salary for three months.

As I’d predicted, the first thing you’d be asked to do is to step down. Now that you’ve quit, remember there is no shame or humiliation in resigning – I watch RCB resigned to losing every match. In fact, I have been asked to literally step down many times after I ended up drunk on the Kingfisher building terrace after a party. After resigning, you might lose power but don’t lose focus. And don’t get arrested. Keep your friends close, your politicians closer. (I know you love netas, the way I love supermodels, but just sayin’.)

Dear Naresh G, you’ve stepped down with dignity. But I think you got to go with a bang.

I have so many more years on you. And now I realise it’s important to have connections across the political spectrum. I had friends in the Congress, BJP, and JD(S) whom I would send the Kingfisher calendar every new year, and in return they would tell me which date I should flee the country to avoid being arrested. There is no shame in being a bhagoda either, ask Nirav Modi and Mehul bhai who followed my advice.

Right now, it looks like you’ve got things covered. But you never know. In case there comes a time when you have no choice but to flee, keep investing in assets to show you are a #TrueIndian. That is the reason I bought Force India, the first Formula One team to have a country’s name in its title. Even though we finished in the bottom half of championships, I managed to put Indian colours on a racing car. I went ahead and also bought Tipu Sultan’s sword at an auction, so I could slit my wrist after watching Virat Kohli succeed at everything other than bagging an IPL title. Believe it or not, I am the OG nationalist.

Dear Naresh G, you’ve stepped down with dignity. But I think you got to go with a bang. Skirt the law, fly out of the country and watch the drama unfold from your million-dollar mansion in Europe. And then claim on Twitter every day that you are ready to co-operate and payback your dues. Kanoon ke haath lambe hai… magar itne bhi lambe nahin hai ki London pahunch jayein, hehe.

If shit gets real and the authorities approach the courts demanding extradition, you must channel your inner NRI uncle and start talking about what a backward country India is and how terrible the prisons are. Bring up human rights. This trick never fails. Your safety is assured once you can prove that you will not be safe in your own country, where you made all your money, and whose people you cheated and ran away.

Goyal sahab, pilots may be out of jobs, engineers may not get salaries, public sector banks may struggle, the aviation industry might suffer a jolt, passengers may not be able to use the accumulated points on their tickets, but you must always remember that it is people like you and me who have the (Jet)Privilege of doing what we want. What’s the point of running an airline, if you let your wings get clipped by bankruptcy. Run Goyal Run.

The King Of Good Times