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Butt-Get

Today is a big day. I come to an unusually packed office buzzing with activity and excitement early morning (our new boss is also at his enthusiastic best). Finance minister P. Chidambaram has done the annual honours of announcing the budget. In all newspaper and magazines of the country, budget is an occasion to remember. Reporters are busy chasing ministers, experts, analysts, corporate honchos for their views, asking them whether it is populist, anti-women, anti-poor, or common man friendly. It is also the time when in-house designers are competing with the rest in the industry to stand out among the myriad publications. Plus there is the 'edible' free dinner for all and sundry.

Former Economic Times editor Jojo (now the Times of India editor) is known for some of his best budget presentation in the newspaper. But I remember TOI, in the past, overdoing it. In one, they even had the whole Bollywood theme playing around the budget. You can imagine how funny that must have looked on a front page. But Vineet Jain loves Bollywood and love can be blind and dumb too.

Like any average individual, I understand very little of economics. In my endeavour to enlighten myself, I asked my friend Lotty what she thought of the budget. With a straight face, she told me she does not think of such irrelevant matters. That is funny. I think we think alike. My other friend Deepika is on the other end of the teether, spewing venom at poor Chidu. A typical ex-international studies student from the prestigious JNU, she is telling me over gmail chat how Chidambaram is the worst finance minister this country has had. “Without social security, how can one live?” I ask her no more questions… except “but he speaks so well!" There goes my inane argument again.

Now, of the budget highlights I see everywhere, three things catch my attention: reduction of duty on dog food, shoes and umbrella to become cheaper. I am happy for Dylan's nutrition. A colleague says “oh it is so women friendly.” But I am no Imelda Marcos and I don’t fancy opening a museum of footwear and show off 500-odd collection of shoes or more. Wonder what Chidambaram was thinking. Will this help the economy? I am no economist and I dont want to rack my brain. So it is back to work and bug reporters on their pieces before I can edit them, think of headlines, sit with design, look at the layout, sign off the pages and give my little brain some rest.

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