Blogdosts, this has appeared today in the Asian Age \ Deccan Chronicle.
As you will discover, I had the best time writing it....ha ha...
I haven’t paid a crore of rupees to acquire the rights to what has rapidly become the nation’s anthem - Jai Ho! So, sue me guys. I must hand it to those smart Charlies who handle the image business of the Congress party. That was a clever move – excellent timing, too. Now I hear they’ve roped in the bachchas from the award winning movie to sing and dance for them at various poll stations. Don’t know what is more ludicrous – Mayawati’s idea to put up gigantic statues of elephants across her state, or to parade these slum kids as a vital part of the Incredible India campaign. The next elections? The pits. The absolute pits. Nautanki at its worst,in terms of strategy – when all else fails, pull out the jokers! I remember an Italian diplomat snorting disparagingly into his vino as he recalled his encounter with Mayawati in Lucknow last year. What he couldn’t get over was the handbag-statue!! He had yet to see anything like it in all his long years of service, and at any of the many destinations he’d been posted to. “ Why is she so attached to her handbag? Even the Queen of England loves her purses, but one doesn’t see statues of her hanging on to them for dear life.” I assured him it was a deeply symbolic representation invested with layers of meaning, and left it at that.If Mayawati and her bag can never be parted, doesn’t it say something? He drank the rest of the vino in one quick gulp and disappeared to ponder over the remark. I bet he was thinking, “Mama mia! These Indian women…. they are quite crazy.”
‘Crazy’ is likely to be the operative word in the next elections. Seats are being sold like peanuts…. very, very expensive peanuts , of course. ‘Paisa lao. Ticket le jao.” Cash and carry. No fuss. No nakhra. And most importantly, no bulls*#* either. Nobody is even trying to pretend this is about competence and qualifications. If you have the curves and the cash – you are in! Nagma – yes, Sourav’s Nagma, also wants to serve the country all of a sudden. I want to tell her, “ You already have, honey. You really have.” Sourav’s game improved radically after his brief liaison with the bombshell. There are several other glam dolls who are keen to serve the country. In what capacity? Don’t ask. Preity may. Which is not a bad thing. There’s not much of a career left in Bollywood for the talented lass. Cricket and politics make great bed fellows, as Pawar will tell you. Tomorrow, it may be Rakhi Sawant’s turn. Or Monica Bedi’s. Molls welcome, ji. They know how to survive in jungles. And if cop rumours are to be believed, Monica is sitting on one hell of a lot of dosh – never mind that Abu Salem is getting increasingly antsy about it. The logic is simple, as Amar Singh has pointed out – glamour sells. People will vote for anybody they can recognize. This only goes to prove the absolute and total power of Page 3. And television, of course. If you are seen frequently enough, you really don’t require any other attributes. The next parliament is likely to be the most photogenic one in India’s history. Packed with movie stars, models, tv presenters, anchors, reality show judges , lawyers and other ‘been there, done that’ types one visually encounters on a daily basis. It’s a good time to be photogenic. And invest in Botox. Seriously.
The scarey part comes in when criminals (official and non-official) get into Parliament. There are several from the current crop with criminal records. We also know many other M.P.s who are even bigger crooks.But there’s nothing on paper to nail them. The monies involved are staggering, and chances are the forthcoming fights will be fiercer than anything India has witnessed earlier. Political sleep- ins have become so shameless, that even the raunchiest madams in the world’s sleaziest brothels would blush at these strange, even perverse couplings. In Mumbai, the party has just begun. Assorted ‘concerned citizens’ are busy organizing wine and cheese evenings for their chosen candidates. Excuse me, is it a store opening? A fashion event? An art show? Same thing, yaar. Most of the questions raised are as faltu and fake as the candidates themselves. But that hardly matters. There is talk of Poonam Mahajan revving things up. Tomorrow, the other more notorious Mahajan (Rahul) may throw his hat into the ring , too. That should be fun. Surprise, surprise - Mumbai has suddenly discovered it’s a part of India, after all. It is most amusing to overhear earnest conversations about which ‘brother’ is backing which candidate. There are only two ‘Bothers’ in India, right? Overnight experts have sprung up, and all of them talk rubbish. People walk upto complete dolts to ask, “ So…. Which party do you think will win?” The dolts look extremely worried, as they pronounce their verdict - “ Mayawati is too corrupt. On the other hand, the others are no better. Everybody is corrupt. But we must not give up hope. This is the time for systemic change.” Yeah?? No kidding!Aaaaargh!
Frankly, there should be a two party system in India - Bollywood and Cricketers. That will make life so much easier for voters. We are nearly there. We just need to go official with the agenda. Nobody wants to consider those thakela stalwarts, who look ready to shift to a better place in heaven, where they can finally rest their tired bones and give up the good fight. They’ve all had their innings…. done their bit…. served the country, but in significantly different ways than Nagma and her ilk. Bahut ho gaya. Atalji, Manmohanji, Advaniji, Pawarji – take five, you guys. We worry about those stents, the hardened arteries and twisted hernias. Why push it beyond nature’s kindness? Give the bachchas a chance. Because the folks we call ‘bachchas’ are well into their forties. Just like Barack Obama. And look where he is today. Do we really want our Young Turks to be seventy before we think they are old enough to run the show? Let’s face it, Omar may spend more time on the ski slopes in trendy gear than in addressing other issues in his beloved valley. Rahul Baba may decide to visit Dharavi and go for a ‘Slumdog…” photo –op with Jamal and Latika in tow. But at least these guys look good. Talk good. Like John Abraham or Ranbir Kapoor or Hritik Roshan. Do they know what’s going on?? As much as Uncleji or the next Johnny. Do they have bagmen to collect the loot on their behalf? Come on, they’ve learnt something from the oldie goldies, surely. Are they capable of converting India into a land of milk and honey?? Is India safe in their hands? Arrey baba, don’t make me laugh.India has been on auto pilot for years. God knows who’s in charge, who calls the shots, and how we’ve survived. I believe in karma. So must we all – that’s all we’ve got!! Jai Ho!! Jai Hind!