Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sleepless Death

Something which was celebrated last week on the 20th of November has rocked everyone’s senses in these financial depressing times and the new age belief of the riches of Dubai grew new roots. The $1.5 billion Atlantis - The Palm was opened up by, hotelier and gambling tycoon, Sol Kerzner who made his money solely from evading taxes in South Africa. As a developer of gambling resorts, he has been investigated for corruption a number of times, none of which has resulted in a conviction. This was made in the man-made island, Palm Jumeirah which is shaped like a palm tree. This 1.5 billion dollar hotel was inaugurated with the most expensive private party in the world at a cost of around $20 million, and one-off private beach concert by Kylie Minogue. Miss Minogue just with 10 songs and a mere 45 minutes performance, pocketed a cool $4 million (Rs. 20 Crores), inarguably the highest paid per minute performance by a singer ever. The guests, 2000 in number included who’s who of anyone and who is anybody, from supermodels to actors, to royalty. All were given off a cool 4 day stay and a return flight from where ever they wished to join up. A spectacular firework display was the word around which included a release of radio-controlled rockets from all the rooms in the hotel and 226 floating structures covering almost 40 locations in approx 27 miles of water along the palm like design of the island.

Now let’s look at the figures. The cost of the hotel is almost one billion dollars - approx Rs 5000 Crores which is only half the cost of the total provision for the National Infrastructure Highways Development Program (NHDP) in India for the financial year 2008, which also includes the road-cum-rail bridge over the Brahmaputra at Bogibeel, Assam.

It would come as a surprise to many but there are only 497 billionaires in this world (approximately 0.000008% of the world’s population) and almost two in three people lack access to clean water and who survive on less than $2 (Rs. 99) a day, with one in three living on less than $1 (Rs. 49) a day. We have to consider that a dollar will buy the same amount in all countries and understand that if an average person in a poor country who lives on a dollar a day relocated to the U.S. with absolutely no changes in their income, they would still be living on a dollar a day. Now, another interesting factor - Almost 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 (Rs. 499) a day. The suites in Atlantis costs $25,000 - $30,000 (Rs. 15 Lakhs) Dollars a night. Ironically, according to UNICEF, 26,500 - 30,000 children die each day due to poverty. So if one person can survive on $1, did Shahrukh Khan who hosted a party with the likes of Hollywood's biggest names - Robert De Niro, Wesley Snipes, Kylie Minogue and Charlize Theron at the Atlantis Bridge Suite which costs $30,000 a night kill 30,000 children who keep his crumpled picture under their heads while they sleep?

But who cares? Many eject out due to a minute of lust and they die ever so quietly far from the prolonged look and the conscience of the world. Just being spiritless and weak in their miserable life makes these dying multitudes even more unseeble in death.

No comments: