Bengaluru, Dec 20: What do you expect when some of the best minds (current and former) from India's premier business school -- the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore -- come together for a two-day-long leadership summit in the city?
One would expect them to discuss and debate the hot topic that is demonetisation. But instead of scrutinising the 'game-changing' move, the captains of industry, both greenhorn and old hat, decided to focus exclusively on the words on marquee: leadership.
Perhaps it a conscious decision to stay away from the controversial topic.
For even guest speakers such as Union minister Piyush Goyal and Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, made only a passing reference to note ban. Both of them reiterated the stand of the government that demonetisation was for the greater good of the country.
"We are going to gain a good deal from demonetisation. The gain will be shared with all -- for the welfare of the people -- especially the poor," said Goyal.
"Demonetisation is the biggest disruption India has seen in recent times," echoed Kant.
An uncanny silence
On both the days, even during tea, lunch and cocktail breaks, nobody spoke anything about the note ban, which took popular opinion across the country by storm. Rather, the participants preferred to talk about Deepika Padukone, 'the' guest at the event.
When this reporter asked one student of IIMB about his take on demonetisation, his first reaction was "this is not the right time to speak on the subject".
On further prodding, he spoke, but requested anonymity. "It has thrown the country out of gear. The worst affected are the poor and those working in the informal sector. The Modi sarkar has no right to ruin so many lives, but it did and without any warning. The government has taken a decision without any planning and it has resulted in severe cash crunch across the country."
How to beat Bengaluru's notorious traffic
If you want to work around Bengaluru's traffic woes, simply host the event close to the airport. The second edition of the IIMB Leadership Summit 2016, organised by the IIMB Alumni Association, on Saturday, was hosted at Hotel Taj, bang opposite Bengaluru International Airport.
This allowed visiting celebrity guests like Goyal and Padukone to work around the city's notorious traffic and reach the venue on time, revealed Kiran Majumdar Shaw, chairperson of IIMB Board and chairperson and managing director of Biocon Limited.
Take a quiz to fight waiting blues
The event was delayed by almost an hour as Goyal's flight was delayed. However, instead of complaining the time was spent joyously by engaging the viewers in a quiz, which included questions on hit US TV show -- Game of Thrones.
Deepika lights the stage up
Wondering what Bollywood babe Deepika is doing in a leadership summit? Don't take us too seriously, is the usual answer from IIMB alumni. When Bollywood's numero uno actress took on to stage, whistling and clapping, especially from her male fans, reverberated the auditorium.
Her fans even booed journalist Shekar Gupta, when he asked few "unpalatable" questions, like why actors don't speak on political issues, to Deepika. Gupta was the moderator for the first day of the event.
Day two or the staid affair
The last day of the gala function was rather "unadventurous". The crowd was minimal and the enthusiasm displayed by delegates on the previous day was missing too. All these things were taken care of by one man -- former Indian cricketer Javagal Srinath. The former baller won everyone's heart by speaking honestly about what ails cricket and sports in general in the country.