Life's a twitch, Mr Gupta, and there's no denying it

Ideas

Life's a twitch, Mr Gupta, and there's no denying it

For years, the Guptas took from us. This week, at last, they gave something back

Columnist

When the Hawks swooped on the Gupta compound on Monday, they came away with a dazzling variety of goodies.
Because I was born in the late 1970s my yardstick for extreme wealth is someone who has a SodaStream machine and an Atari game console, and so when I imagine the raid, I picture agents high-fiving each other as they leave, holding three bottles of homemade creme soda and a sack containing California Games and Tetris cartridges.
In reality, of course, what they came away with was title deeds to 46 properties, 45 cars, aircraft and even earth-moving equipment.
(At first I couldn’t work out why international parasites would need earth-moving gadgets, unless it was to bury their swag, but I think I've figured it out: Every time they screwed South Africa they would lie back, light a cigarette, and murmur: “Did the earth move for you?” and their lackeys would rush out and shovel some dirt around to make it true.)
Of all the gems to come out of Castle Gupta, however, one towered over all the rest.It wasn’t a plane, a train or an automobile. It wasn’t even a hydraulic digger-slash-sex aid. It was a simple sentence. And it was completely priceless.
It was delivered by the Guptas’ lawyer, a certain Rudi Krause, shortly after he dismissed the raid as nothing but a temporary setback for his paymasters.
“The apparent victories are illusory,” said Krause, “and will not last the twitching of an eye.”
The twitching of an eye.
I've heard some Freudian slips and cries for help in my time, but none have come close to the sheer perfection of that rhetorical flinch. You can almost see a small vein pulsing in his temple as he edges into the plush living room in Dubai.
“Why is your eye twitching, Rudi?”
“It’s not, Mr Gupta, I’m totally fine, I swear.”
“What has happened, Rudi?”
“It’s nothing. A small setback. I’ll appeal.”
“Rudi, it tells the truth or else it gets the hose again.”
“They – they took the SodaStream machine! And the syrups! It’s all gone! All of it!”
“Rajesh, fetch the hose.”
Yes, the Guptas have taken a great deal from our country. But this week they gave back. Thank you, Mr Krause. That was perfection.

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