Sssssay now … what we have we here?" hisses Kaa the snake in The Jungle Book, smacking his lips over Mowgli. "Jusssst you wait till I get you in my coils!"
Corruption certainly seemed to be strangling the Incredible India magic this fortnight. It began with nationwide conniption over corruption as Anna Hazare broke his fast and the government agreed to set up a joint committee to draft a new Jan Lokpal Bill. It ended with the unedifying spectacle of five senior telecom executives charged with complicity in the 2G spectrum case heading into Tihar Jail.
Along the way came news of inflation hitting nearly nine per cent in March, and industrial output growth slowing to 3.6 per cent in February. Over at Infosys, there were actually signs of ruction ahead of an April 30 announcement of a new leadership team. But wait! All is not woe. The cheerleaders are whooping it up at the Indian Premier League cricket matches, and we have a case study on how Mahendra Singh Dhoni's cool, simple and instinctual management style has led India to the pinnacle.
At Business Today we try to interpret the markets as they rise and roll in a turbulent world. We bring you a crisp analysis of how, thanks to good trade numbers, the rupee has held steady and bucked rising global oil prices.
You will also be cheered by one of our annual favourites - the listing of some of India's best young executives under the age of 40. This is the seventh time BT has run this popular roll-call, and as always, our team of writers had a lot of fun writing about these achievers. We started with a list of 25, but three of them had to hide their lights under a bushel thanks to publicity-shy employers. I was looking through our archives and noticed that our first listing of HYEs in 2002 had to raise the age limit to 42 because the numbers fell short.
Nine years later, with a younger and more confident India starting to take charge, we don't have the same problem. But one characteristic has disturbingly not changed much - the gender imbalance. We have only three women in our list of 22 this year, only a little better than one in the original 25. Read all about them and enjoy the great pictures, many of them shot by Photo Editor Vivan Mehra, who also photographed the first group.
But the promise of great advancement that stories like these hold out can easily be sullied by an amoral political class. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah writes in a wise essay: "Politics must rise above politics of vengeance, politics of retaliation and politics of hoodwinking people." If only all the politicians who stood for election in several states in April would pay heed to words like these. By way of contrast, consider the rebellious Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh, whose assets ballooned tenfold to nearly Rs 366 crore in just one year, while over in the United States, the first family reported their income had actually fallen about 68 per cent to $1.7 million (about Rs 7.65 crore) in 2010, the second year of Barack Obama's presidency.