'Faming' Arindam Chaudhuri

Anybody writing a book on Arindam Chaudhuri ought to be sued – for writing it at all. I mean, he runs some fancy management coaching classes. Are there books about Aggarwal classes or Ghate’s? Now, Chaudhuri has gone and filed a defamation suit against Penguin, Google and The Caravan magazine, the latter two for spreading the bad word and using an extract from the book. He has valued his tarnished image at Rs. 50 crore.

Since only bits are available it is not possible to decide on the defamatory nature except that the title is so long-winded it could qualify as defamatory to language and further to the middle class, success and all sweet smells. Here it is in its full monty form: Sweet Smell of Success: How Arindam Chaudhuri Made a Fortune Off the Aspirations - and Insecurities - of India's Middle Classes.

This sort of reminds one of how AB Corp was accused of taking token signing amounts for their projects from people and then Amitabh Bachchan shrugged and said he had hired the wrong managers. In this case, Arindam is the owner-manager-management guru-dean of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) and he is also a film producer. A sort of Baba Ramdev of the faux elite. It is only natural for people to be upset by what is written about them. Does that make them right? If there is evidence against him or even a discussion about how the management bubble bursts then stuff of this nature can be written. He is a public figure; he markets himself as the institute.

Chaudhuri dotting his 'i'?
A bit of digression here: Call it coincidence or whatever, but last month when I saw this picture of Chaudhari I could not take my eyes off it. I downloaded it and marvelled at the blatancy. What? The first lines that flashed through my mind were how linearity is limiting but what about symmetry? Don’t we look for some order, a pattern to fall into place? Indeed. Then, why does the symmetry of what Mr. Chaudhuri is wearing so off?

I am no fashion police, yet it was beyond amusing. This is the man who is about creating an impression and the impression one gets is that he is trying too hard to fit in (his ponytail is not rebelliousness but being ‘with it’). The blue jacket in a shiny fabric is tight and everything is co-ordinated in the linear fashion. Striped trousers and polka-dot tie and kerchief in pocket? The flap pockets and lapel have white piping while the shirt collar and button front have blue piping. The rims of his shades are white; I am surprised the lenses are not blue. The shoes are not visible, but I’d be damned if they were white or blue.

This is symmetry gone bad. And it is also a metaphor for thinking. This is not revolutionary management that pushes the envelope and thinks on its feet, but a straitjacket.

Part of the problem of any public discourse these days is linearity. Good is all good. Bad is all bad. The context is missing.

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