Obama: “ I screwed up!”
This column appeared in Bombay Times on 9th Feb
Last week Barack Obama stunned the world by declaring, “ I screwed up,” on national television. What an admission! That too coming from the President of the United States of America . Look at his choice of words – ‘screwed up’ is as colloquial as it gets. It is the kind of teen-slang students use when caught by the authorities for drunken driving or some other misdemeanor. It is also a politer version of , “ I f#@*#d up!” Imagine a man in Obama’s position officially using street-speak to tell the nation he had made a mistake. Well, Obama is such a ‘today’ person, this phrase may just be the one that sets the tone for the rest of his term, and his informal style of functioning. He has already broken a couple of golden rules, such as appearing in the Oval office dressed in shirt sleeves and not a formal day suit. He also shows up for work at a respectable hour (9 a.m.), unlike his predecessor, who has been described as an early to bed and early to rise President. The new, relaxed atmosphere seems to be working just fine. But it is the ‘I screwed up’ phrase that his supporters are praying, doesn’t become the anthem that defines his years in the White House.
Closer to home, one wonders what will happen if all our netas start apologizing and confessing! Hey bhagwan, there will be no end to the screw ups…. imagine the long list of those blunders, starting at the top. Which of our chaps hasn’t screwed up at one point or the other? From politicians to corporate honchos, screwing up is a national sport. Maharashtra’s record in this area is spectacular – how many c.m.’s are we going to haul over the coals for screwing up big time? Ramalingam can also borrow Obama’s phrase to defend himself. So can Narendra Modi, and a whole host of others. But will they ever admit they made a single mistake? Naah.We prefer cover ups to acknowledging screw ups. That way, everyone is protected. Perhaps, we need to learn a few valuable lessons from Obama. Conversely, can you imagine the irony of the same confession had Bill Clinton made it??
There’s something awfully tacky about high profile ladies who insist on revealing what their companions\boyfriends\partners\lovers have gifted them on their respective birthdays\anniversaries\Valentine’s Day. The two from Bollywood who issue weekly bulletins via their respective p.r. agents are Ameesha Patel and Shilpa Shetty. By now, we know that Shilpa’s ‘partner’ gifted her 75 crores to buy a stake in a cricket team. She described it as a pricey Valentine’s Day present. Wokayyy! Next came the clarification that it was actually a business deal more than a gift. So much for that. Earlier, we were treated to details of this guy’s other acts of generosity, be it a sprawling flat, a spiffy car, surprise weekends in Dubai,a yoga video,a perfume or a lavish musical featuring his lady love.
Ameesha’s gift list is pretty impressive (and comprehensively catalogued by her). It includes Victorian style diamond jewellery and other limited edition goodies – handbags, watches, haute couture gowns etc etc. I’m sure these high maintainence ladies deserve all this and more from their besotted suitors. But really, girls, it is most déclassé to catalogue every bauble that falls into your kitty. But dearies, do remember, well brought up ladies never but never go public with such intimate revelations. For one, it is considered vulgar and crass to do so, for another, the tax man is monitoring every claim.
There are wedding cards…. and there are wedding cards. These days, it is all about how one packages the big day. Last week I received three impressive invitations for shaadis that are going to be celebrated over the same weekend ( end- February). One was a classic, simple announcement ( Nina and Rajan Kilachand) of their son’s wedding in Dubai. The other was an elaborate effort, put together by the bride herself ( Veranica Reddy), with a Shakespearean sonnet to round it off ( the wedding is in Hyderabad). While the third was an inspired culinary triumph featuring melt-in-the-mouth macaroons perfected in a Mumbai kitchen after painstaking research conducted in Paris. This unique ‘card’ was sent by Swati and Ajay Piramal,for their daughter Nandini’s wedding to Peter in Jaipur ( elephant polo will round off this celebration!). Phew!! Would love to split myself into three and attend all!! Par, kaisey??
Incase you guys are interested , do check out http: \\www.youtube.com\watch?v=dJADzrRnzw8