Condoms & Chapter 11: The story of protection

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I swear this is a true story. I was at a lawyer friend’s when Swami Nithyananda sauntered in, robe and all. He wanted to understand whether he could file for Chapter 11. After all it provided blanket (pun unintended) bankruptcy protection and you could stretch it to spiritual bankruptcy surely.

“I have been victimised. I was merely exchanging a freely tradeable commodity since the kamasutra days, viz. body fluids. My customers paid for quality of my ‘service’. Now my business is bust and I need protection.” He went on to read out the general provisions …

When a business is unable to service its debt or pay its creditors, the business or its creditors can file with a federal bankruptcy court for protection under Chapter 11.

In Chapter 11, in most instances the debtor remains in control of its business operations as a debtor in possession, and is subject to the oversight and jurisdiction of the court.

“Look carefully at the last line,” he said, “see it even allows the judge to be a voyeur.”

Apparently the court must ascertain that the person seeking a stay (nothing to do with overnight) has used every prudence in the conduct of business, even protection if needed. Ashutosh, my lawyer friend asked Nithyananda if he had.

“I conduct my business in a condominium.”

“Ah. Then we should be okay.”

The phone rings. It’s Kalmadi wanting to know if he can file for Chapter 11. “I need a stay till the CWG is over. I simply cannot understand why they’re after me. My family has been in the paper business for generations. Toilet paper, currency notes, tender awards — they’re all paper aren’t they.” He  explained that ever since paper money was invented, politicians were freely trading in the commodity and generating so much employment in the suitcase industry. Political bankruptcy ought to have Chapter 11 protection. It would also be a great precedent for the Leadership bankruptcy in the world. I was thinking about Sukhram, Bofors and even Mani Ratnam’s ‘Guru’. Made sense to me.

Ashutosh quickly hung up and ushered Nithyananda and me to the pantry. He signalled to us to wait quietly as he rushed out to the ante room. I could hear muffled voices and strained to make out what was going on. I tiptoed across the room and peeped through the blinds. There was a bald guy, back to me, gesticulating wildly and another younger rubbery frame contorting as he spoke. I heard the word ‘Kites’ being used many times. I wondered if this was another Chapter 11 discussion. Turns out it was.

Rakesh and Hrithik were trying to convince Ashutosh that the stupid masses did not appreciate nu-age cinema. Kites was the first film ever that reflected true globalisation. Just because it didn’t have a story the public had rejected it. Now he needed time to restructure his company and re-launch his son. Chapter 11 it was and artisitic bankruptcy deserved equal protection.

I plan to ask Ashutosh if the all encompassing Chapter 11 could also protect India’s educationists some day.

I swear this is a true story.

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