Ambanis’ Power and Gas rescue Birla’s Units

J W Marriott, Mumbai.

As I drive past the security after the mandatory checks, I notice the artificial waterfall approvingly. The success of the Marriott at Juhu, in spite of its less-than- average cuisine, is a testimony of the success of the right Feng Shui whether intentional or not.

I am meeting Shruti Birla (name changed to protect the identity) at this hotel. When an NGO figures in the headlines, its power and clout is a given. Shruti's NGO has constantly been in the news and if I added a a few descriptive lines, everyone would recognize her. She loves being written about, but our meeting today is off-the-record.

Shruti is punctual. In her, glamour, fame, power, money and politics are woven together in a beautiful tapestry. Their prosperity began when Reliance started supplying gas to their starving unit.

Reliance reminds me of Dhirubhai Ambani, the legendary businessman who rose from being a Shell Service Station worker in Aden (Yemen) to being India's first Corporate Icon whose group, even after the split, stands the tallest with assets worth hundreds of billions.

News related to this story: India fertilizer companies signing gas deal

I remember the first time I met Dhirubhai Ambani. It was in 1981. Reliance Textiles Industries was estimated to be worth around Rs 300 crores - a very impressive figure at that time - and the entire industry was jealous of the Ambanis. Dhirubhai had come out with three successive public issues in three years and had collected over Rs 40 crores. The issues were oversubscribed seven times!

I had spent a few minutes in the waiting area, as Dhirubhai was busy consulting his guru, who seemed to get priority over everyone else. Someone who had been waiting for over two hours, said that the guru arrives and walks in to meet Dhirubhai without waiting.

The very first image that forms in my mind, is of a typical Gujarati businessman with a broad grin spread on his face. He rose in his chair as I pushed open the door of his ultra-large office. My shoes sank into several inches of thick, plush carpet, as I moved ahead.

I recollect that the Feng Shui around him was just right. Born on 28th Dec, 1932, Dhirubhai was a West group person and he indeed sat facing West. But more important, going by different schools of Feng Shui,  his impressive desk spread out across three sectors - Wealth & Good Fortune, Fame & Glory and Power. This explains his charisma like nothing else can.

It was his Heaven Luck that everything about him - even the high-back chair was the right Feng Shui. High back symbolizes backing, support and patronage from high places. The kind of support Dhirubhai had from the government and beaurocracy is almost  unparalleled in our country.

I have seen similar things - just the right Feng Shui - in the case of many others, including Dilip Piramal and Nari Hira. I observed all such examples as case studies before starting my study of Feng Shui. Later, I even wrote about the right Feng Shui of Nari Hira is publishing empire in my book, ‘Feng Shui for the Bold & the Beautiful, the Rich & the Famous'.

The Ambani saga is a legend today, and though no politician will officially say it, the Ambanis play a major role in forming the government.

But this article is about power: Feng Shui for Power.

Let me first of all say, categorically, that Feng Shui for Power is not meant only for politicians. We all need power. Power gives you us a high.

Some get it by becoming secretaries of their housing societies, and the others get it from their uniforms. People who are more ambitious get it by contesting elections and remain in the quest of power until their last breath.

L K Advani, number two in the BJP regime, still nurtures the dream. And it is for this that Advani was keen to oust the coalition government. His face showed dismay when Mayavati seemed like a probable Prime Ministerial candidate, and the BJP pulled its punches to let SP rescue it.

The swagger in the gait of encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma when he was in power and the droop in his shoulders and the sag in his mouth after his dismissal recently speak volumes about the importance of power.

When the power draws too much attention, rivalry and jealousy ruins your peace of mind. This is perhaps the reason why pragmatic businessmen prefer access to the powerful. I personally know of several big industrialists who give a donation to two or even three political parties. I would not like to mention names, but a major industrialist I know gives huge donations to the Congress, the NCP and also the BJP.

"Vilasrao ho ya Narayan Rane, kee faraq painda yaar," he told me. Whether it is a coveted piece of land from the ruling party or peace with the opposition-ruled union, he has an edge, he has the clout.

The power that the Ambani brothers have is much more. Interestingly, it is their power and gas that solved the problem of Prashant Birla (name changed on request).

Prashant had several problems in business. Ironically, the problems were similar though his interests were in two different products he produced in two different locations - Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. In Andhra Pradesh, the problems were related to gas and in Navi Mumbai, with the power. "Till these problems are sorted out I cannot grow," he told me.

He had started his business in Andhra Pradesh hoping to capitalize on the finding of natural gas a couple of years ago but the production has yet to reach him and benefit his business. He thought that, in the meanwhile, his successfully running business in Navi Mumbai would keep him and his partners happy. It didn't. Power cuts affected the production.

I gave him the usual Feng Shui advice to corrected and enhance the nine Life Corners. My focus, though, was on Wealth & Good Fortune and Helpful Friends & Backing corner. The world had to help him. The authorities had to be useful.

Months later, Tushar acknowledged that Feng Shui benefited him but he did not go in details. However, later he wrote to me "... my wife has become a source of further power. You must meet her and write about her. She started an NGO and is in the papers..."

This is how Shruti met me at the Marriott.

She spoke strictly in confidence, but it seems that thanks to the political connections she developed because of her NGO, the power related problems in their Navi Mumbai units were solved. Along with her benefited their neighbouring units too. 

"And, for our units in Andhra Pradesh, gas has been made from Krishna-Godavari basin thanks to Reliance," Shruti concluded.

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