Monday, May 25, 2009

Work Meeting- Desi Style

‘But, but..’ I said, unsure where to begin. There is so much work to be done before opening our gallery- sourcing, framing, marketing, physical space, financial backing. God, I need an optimisation routine.

‘Let source artwork first.’ Gul suggested.

We had gathered in Gul’s house, our makeshift office, sitting on her cushy sofa, discussing and planning our art gallery business.

‘We need a space first’, I said tetchily.   

My eyebrows did a vertiginous Kanchenjunga climb. Such blasphemy to be blasé about real estate matters in Mumbai.

‘What about securing funding?’ I was thinking of how to supplement our seed fund. At what stage could we approach a venture capitalist? We needed to plan, plan, plan. Optimise. Revise plan again.

‘Since when has lack of funds stopped a good idea?’ Gul was on another trajectory.

I choked on my nimbu-pani. An Optimist. That’s what I needed!

In my best cautioning voice, and with my best I-have-been-in-Finance-and-I-Mean-Business look, I said, ‘Gul, be serious. We need to create a spreadsheet, figure out the starting budget needed and create a Financial Plan. Find a space. Only then we can go looking at artists’ portfolios.’

‘Lunch is served, Madam’, Gul’s maid announced.

Over a lunch of spicy Chicken Chettinad and fluffy appams served on silver plates, we continued talking about art, and the major expense categories we needed to consider.

After lunch, we retired to the sofa again, and I started creating a spreadsheet, adding expense categories, looking at possible revenue scenarios and cash flow projections and the time needed to break even. Two hours of staring bleary-eyed at the laptop, one thing was clear. Space was going to be the crucial factor.

‘Tea?’ Gul said, and tinkled a silvery bell to call her maid.

I stretched back against the sofa cushions wearily.

‘We’ll figure it out, Tara’, Gul patted my hand. ‘While we worry about the financial plan, let us not forget- good art is what its about. We need to find it, and then sell it. Details will take care of themselves.’

I felt none of Gul’s airiness but it was something to think over.

Gul’s maid brought in the tea tray, a posh presentation of elegant china cups and saucers, tiny silver stirring spoons, selection of imported tea bags, teapot with hot water, jug of cold milk, sugar cubes in a matching bowl and a plate of digestive ginger-anise biscuits.

Pleasures of India, I sighed, keeping down the brainstorming paper. 

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