Indian companies Musk should buy

In the space of one week, Elon Musk went from one of the most respected billionaires, to someone who has all the business acumen of Anil Ambani.

Published: 09th November 2022 03:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th November 2022 03:44 AM   |  A+A-

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Elon Musk. (Photo| AFP)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The last week was particularly bad for American celebrities. Kanye West became a millionaire this week (he was a billionaire earlier!) for his anti-semitic remarks. But Elon Musk’s metamorphic transformation from hero to villain was a bit of a shock.

For years, Musk enjoyed the reputation of a real-life Iron-Man – someone who takes on his competitors with sheer brains and willpower. Like Iron Man, he comes from a line of rich millionaires – his parents were accomplished businessmen in apartheid South Africa. Every social media platform had hundreds of pages dedicated to how smart and cool Elon Musk was. But alas, how the mighty fall! 

Illustration: Soumyadip Sinha

In the space of one week, Elon Musk went from one of the most respected billionaires, to someone who has all the business acumen of Anil Ambani. It was shocking that Musk would want to buy Twitter. Twitter is a platform that rewards you for being a troll. A platform where even the most benign message can turn you into an anti-national, a rice-bag convert, or a privileged bigot. If social media is the hub of toxicity, Twitter is ‘samudra-manthan’, where it all originates. Twitter is the last place you’d expect someone like Elon Musk to hang out at, leave alone try to buy the platform. But I can understand Musk’s confidence. Once you’ve taken on the American car conglomerates, nothing must seem out of reach. 

But if taking over companies and turning them around is what Elon Musk is going for, I have a few suggestions of my own. There are a number of companies in India that could benefit from some overhauling. Firstly, thanks to last week’s horrific experience (kindly refer to last week’s ‘Urban Bourbon’ column for the ghastly details), I wish Elon Musk took over the travel agencies that operate intercity buses. Kindly take over these companies and completely ban semi-sleeper buses. Convert them to sleeper buses and add toilets to every intercity bus. 

If buying a company and completely burning it to the ground is what Mr  Musk is going for, may I kindly recommend he take over India’s many gutkha companies. Gutkha is not only insanely dangerous to consumers, it is also instrumental in people painting the town red when nobody asked them to. Travel through North India, and you’ll find the red splotches of death across buildings and roads. If Musk takes over Indian gutkha companies, at least we won’t have any more ‘Manikchand Pan Parag Filmfare Awards’. Today, every popular Bollywood actor endorses some or the other form of gutkha or paan masala. It will be fun to watch them all disappear into thin air. 

If Musk is interested in any more Indian companies, may I also recommend he take over Bollywood film production houses. While the world has moved on to electric vehicles and attempts to send humanity to Mars, Bollywood films are trudging along like bullock carts. Every month, a new South Indian film takes the nation by storm, while Bollywood films are still peddling stories about urban romance that is watched by mosquitoes in empty halls. If Musk wants to change lives, he could begin by changing the lives of millions of audiences around the country every Friday. 

Or Musk could try driving one of his Teslas on Indian roads, to see roads filled with potholes that would put Mars and the moon to shame. Or perhaps dabble with mosquito repellents, an industry that has unlimited potential in India. In fact, as a growing economy, India is rife with opportunities for Musk to 
take over.  

(The writer’s views are his own)


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