Its budget time and one person that Mumbaikars miss is Nani Palkhivala. Nani, as he was affectionately called, had a fan following running into lakhs. His sharp analysis of the budget was heard by people in rapt attention, with many of them even taking down notes like media persons.
The venue was the sprawling lawns of the Brabourne Stadium at Churchgate which was choc-a-bloc long before Nani climbed onto the dais clad in his trademark white suit.
The Tata board member had all facts and figures at his fingertips and he used them with devastating effect.
Peppered with generous quotes from English literature
If it contained absurd proposals, he would rip the budget apart with great irreverence. His speech would be liberally peppered with generous quotes from English literature.
Once he quoted the famous poet A.E. Housman today, “The nightingale gets no prize in a poultry show” and this remark was greeted with thunderous applause. The Forum of Free Enterprise, with which Mr Palkhivala was associated, would print the text of his speech in the form of booklets which had subscribers all over India.
After the speech, people would make a beeline for ice cream at nearby Rustams, or have chilli cheese toast and Orange Pekoe tea at the Tea Centre across the road or have a ‘pani cum' chai at Stadium Restaurant.
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