Pappis, Jhappis and Thappads…
Oh me, oh my… Phase 3 of the Great Indian Circus is over, and there are so many people one feels like giving jhappies, pappies and thappads to. Let’s start with a pappi. Mine is reserved for the Princess of India, Priyanka Gandhi ( forget all the Vadra-Shadra business – Gandhi she was, and Gandhi she remains).Clearly, the Congress backed the wrong Gandhi. Rahulbaba, the Dimpled Darling is sweet and likeable ( gelato or jalebi ? You decide). But Rahulbaba is not a patch on Princess Priyanka when it comes to people skills. She is a natural crowd pleaser, and her brother is no match for her when it comes to handling trick questions or diffusing tense situations. See how deftly Priyanka dodged Narendra Modi’s Budhiya\Gudiya barb, or deflected criticism aimed at the P.M. Unlike her mother’s scripted speeches and rehearsed responses, Priyanka speaks minus prompting or notes, adopting an endearingly direct approach that disarms her most virulent critic.Her naughty reference to her grandmom’s nose must have brought an instant smile of recognition to several faces. Which raises the million dollar question - why did Sonia push Rahul the reluctant debutant into the fray, when Priyanka ought to have been the obvious choice? Maa ki mamtaa? A mother’s blind spot for the beta? It may remain one of those annoying mysteries. Can, Rahul, the nominated heir to the Gandhi gaddi ever deliver? How long is the seat going to be kept hot for the political greenhorn?Meanwhile, let us throw in an extra pyar ki jhappi for the charming sis who campaigned convincingly, sincerely and tirelessly for the son who may or may not rise. Priyanka’s theme song should be , “Pari Hoon Mein…”
There are far too many thappads waiting to be distributed ( though chappals are easier). Somehow, the sight of Jaswant Singh got everybody’s goat as he went about recklessly supporting demands for a separate Gorkhaland. This, after distributing notes and sharing opium jalpaani with the unwashed masses of his constituency. Equally annoying was the sight of Karunanidhi on a hunger strike, after all that scarey double speak about Prabhakaran being his best buddy. Both men were playing a dangerous political game with potentially lethal consequences at a particularly sensitive time in the country. Behenji Mayawati may have spurned Sanjay Dutt’s offer to give her one of his specials and threatened to throw the actor into jail for his audacity. But better a jhappi from Sanju Baba than thappads from those who are still reeling from her tongue lashings. Strange, but Mayawati still remains the number one player in the race, with all eyes on her every move. Being a master at the numbers’ game, she, along with Amma in the South, may topple all the Kingmakers around, and become the pivots around whom India’s future revolves.
No matter how it all adds up in the end ( forget the bookies – this time everything is up for grabs, including the prime ministership), the just concluded Phase -3 of the election, has rightfully grabbed world attention on the basis of sheer scale alone. Just the logistics involved in putting the complex machinery into place and conducting such an ambitious operation sans a major hemorrhage, is worth countless jhappies, pappies and more.Every single cog in this gigantic wheel deserves our unconditional praise. Of course, there will always be glitches when the task is as monumental. But let us be more generous and forgiving about lapses – so far, at least, nothing terribly embarrassing has happened. And for the most part, voting has taken place in comparative peace and safety. Enough to generate genuine shock and awe.
When India votes, the world holds its breath. With reason. It is democracy at work in its most naked avatar – look ma, no hands. Behind the maneuvering, the votes-for-notes, and several other dirty machinations, there is still a great deal of transparency, innocence and hope. If millions of Indians turn out to get that black dot on the middle finger, it is because they continue to believe that their vote matters. There is an unbreakable bond of trust that makes the exercise not just worthwhile but worthy. As we continue our tryst with destiny, the only prayer is that the 543 people getting into parliament,who will be controlling it from this point on,will uphold the faith of over one billion people. It is a huge responsibility….but also a huge obligation.More importantly, it is a pact that must never be broken.India itself deserves that jadoo ki jhappi. Now more than ever.
This appeared on Sunday.... and look how far the Dimpled Darling has come since then. The Rahul Factor seems to be the only factor being discussed across channels.... and opposition members are frothing at the mouth denying any deal in the offing. Nothing is impossible in politics - left becomes right, right becomes left, left and right become the centre. The kite flying and horse trading have just begun.
Tomorrow will see me at the screening of last year's Cannes winner, " The Class." I am so looking forward to it... and the award winning films that will follow. The long, hot summer has yet to begin... but most of us are baked and broiled already. The glorious gulmohurs are in full bloom - wild bursts of flaming red at unexpected corners. The air is heavy with the heady fragrance of summer blossoms - raat ki rani, chameli, mogra, jui, champak. I can't resist buying half-a-dozen gajras at traffic signals. I dream of eating malai kulfi and drinking khus\rose sherbet. Summer can be sensuous and enjoyable - if only it wasn't so bloody hot!!