Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sheetal Moofatlal and Kalavati....ki kahani

Politically Incorrect : This appeared in Sunday Times today....
A Tale of Two Women…..

On the surface it would appear Kalavati and Sheetal Moofatlal --- oops …. make that Mafatlal, have nothing in common but their gender. Think again. Last week they were both in the news and the media couldn’t get enough of them. Their lives are not all that dissimilar – they make headlines for the wrong reasons. Sheetal once declared that she’d gone into mourning after reading about couturier Gianni Versace’s murder. She told the press she only slept on Versace sheets. Kalavati has no sheets. Or so she claims. Both ladies are media savvy – they have perfected their soundbytes. Sheetal boasted she was more Page 1 worthy than Page 3 material. Well, during last week’s fiasco at Mumbai airport, she made it to both spaces. But Kalavati remains one- up on Sheetal when it comes to mega coverage, particularly in Delhi. Kalavati is discussed in Parliament.Sheetal is discussed by Parliamentarians. According to media investigations, both ladies are broke. But in reality, that does not appear so. Kalavati parades her abject poverty and foreign journos gobble it up. Sheetal flaunts her flamboyance and has any number of takers – from bling- worshipping paparazzi stationed to catch the front row action of Fashion Weeks in Milano ( her emeralds made it to international glossies), to local flash bulbwallas focusing on her jumbo rocks. Of course, rocks have a totally different meaning in Kalavati’s dreary life.
What is interesting about both their stories is the question that begs to be asked : vamps or victims? In Kalavati’s case, fate picked her for a pre-election role she had nothing to do with. India’s bonny Prince Rahul decided to drop in for a cuppa – and discovered there was no cuppa! It was Rahul’s aaha moment – his discovery of India. Moved by her desperate plight, our man promised to wave a magic wand and repeat the Cinderella act. Kalavati claims she got zilch. But Rahul’s boys insist lakhs and lakhs have been given to her. Not counting a cow with a generous fodder allowance. Like Oliver, the former share cropper from an obscure village in Vidharba wants more. Free electricity and the BPL card are clearly not enough. Sheetal has always wanted more, like any self- respecting Material Girl – more of everything - solitaires are a woman’s best friend, remember? From solitaires to a solitary night in a prison cell ( definitely no Versace sheets in this dump), it has been such a long journey for the curvaceous socialite who became a poor little rich girl with no friends, virtually overnight. The most ignominious part of L’Affaire Sheetal has been the demeaning admission that all that glitters may not be sterlite… oops--- sterling , and those rocks may be just that - valueless stones! Fakes and the super rich?? But of course . Sheetal may live down the rest of the disgrace, but to be caught ‘smuggling’ anything less than 24-carats is perhaps the worst crime in the social register.
Somehow, one can’t but feel there is something awfully amiss in the way Sheetal’s case was handled. Her ‘crime’ was that she did not declare dutiable luxury items. By all means punish her for that by fining her. Follow the book. That is the standard procedure for offenders in any case. But why describe her as a ‘smuggler’ and send her to jail for an offence several high profile individuals have been equally guilty of ? They were allowed to go home and pay up later. She was treated like a petty criminal. Two sets of rules for the same breach?? Not fair.
Kalavati and Sheetal stand tainted by the system. Kalavati did not ask for largesse – it was thrust on her. She is being used and positioned as a Slumdog Millionairess to suit a political agenda. Kalavati makes good copy. So does Sheetal. Mrs. Mafatlal’s reversal of fortune may make her a Millionairess Slumdog. Rahul urged his co-Parliamentarians not to laugh at Kalavati when Lalu joked about her. Sheetal has still to find a powerful enough champion to defend her. Kalavati has her cow ( at least on paper), Sheetal needs a cash cow to bail her out. A woman’s life is never easy. Kalavati and Sheetal – two sides of the same coin. Two faces of resurgent India.
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Got back from Alibag in a bit of a stupor. Perhaps it was the intense heat, the call of the koel or the two movies I watched there ( Ang Lee's Lust:Caution, and " Notes on a Scandal''), but my brain is at rest ( very rarely does that happen!). It is Raj Thackeray's birthday today,as also my brother Ashok's. And yet, I cannot find two more dissimilar individuals. So much for Sun Signs. Can Linda Goodman be this wrong?? All along the route back to Mumbai, I spotted gigantic hoardings wishing 'Raj Saheb' a very long life. In the library of our home in Alibag, hangs a fantastic cariacature of Prince Charles. It is a water colour painted by none other than Raj Thackeray! My husband had bought it years ago at an exhibition. By any standards, it is a first rate work. It got me thinking about the Thackeray family's many talents. Uddhav is an excellent photographer. And Balasaheb, as we all know, a superb cartoonist. My husband has his work as well. Adolf Hitler's water colours were soft and sensitive. Art and autocracy, it would appear, have much in common.

18 comments:

Roshni said...

Nice comparison of the two women!do u really think that Mafatlal bahu was treated in an unfair way.....imagine how many times she would have done this before and escaped ....

obssesor said...

I really liked the article and the similarities you've drawn...raj thackery's bday! such a yawn!

The Panorama said...

Very nice and I love the similarities you have drawn between Sheetal and Kalavati.

Samiran Ghosh said...

Was down with fever since couple of days. But your article on the paper surely was quite funny and refreshing. I was griped by your sense of writing and of course your gift of comparison.

kala said...

Why didnt she commit sati when versace died? Our own Paris Hilton?
As for kalavati, she should contest in the next election assembly or parliament. Rahul will personally campaign for her.Thackerays and Art. Why not? As every other human being, they must have some talent along with their marati thing. The raingod is playing truant and our cricketers have scripted a defeat. When there are no clouds, there wont be any silver linings. I am glad next year there wont be Jodhaa Akbar to get all the awards undeservingly.

ZiLliOnBiG said...

I feel in india, we are so much obsessed with poverty that we get almost some maniacal pleasure when bashing the rich.

I feel Sheetal too has fallen victim. No, i dont support her, she must be punished, but as you said why brand her a smuggler?Cheers

krish said...

hi thr...

Alibag is blazing hot...girl...anyway....i loved yr kalavati vs sheetal moofatlala comparision....apt....as u sum it up 2 sides of resurgent india.....but i am sure kalavati story wud sell more ..vast ............Just wish the Thakerys bring thr talent in a more constructive manner to benifit the society ........i took sonam kapoor comment abt yourself in bad taste.......(60+ porn writer).........we love u for wht you are........keep it up girl...

luv u

Kris

My space said...

Don't have high hopes of you replying back..but still..your columns are my motivation so i'll try..could you tell me if my style of writing blogs is good ..
please point errors..i wanna improve...thanks

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Art - a gift by God to few people.

Manish'sMom said...

Trust you Shobhaa to say it the way it is! You just hit the nail on the head! Love...love..love your writings and your guts to be politically incorrect! God bless!

anamika said...

Calling Sheetal a smuggler was really a surprise from our very own media.They can make any person a devil or a hero by there unthoughtful words.Anyway sheetal it crime was something which almost all the riches of India do without any guilt at all leaving behind few ofcourse.Its just that it was not sheetal day.

kala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kala said...

Sometimes praising someone's art who treats non maharashtrians as untouchables is like adding salt to the injury. You are regarded as an all India person having married a bengali, having a bihari driver or servant and many non maharashtrian friends. Yes. You have subtly hinted by naming Hitler too for whom Thackeray has high regards. They can make caricatures and make fun of others. But will they give the same liberty to others ungrudgingly? Karunanidhi can write fantastic dialogues in Tamil. But that does not make him acceptable to all.While some of the grievances against non M are genuine, yet the hatred and violence unleashed against them is still fresh in the public memory.

numerounity said...

Ms de pl remain “Politically incorrect” and loved the sheetal “Moofat lal” expression. Well, on second thoughts she could have been called sheetal mooh-fat-lal!!! Lolz…Don’t have high regard and the incident in another nail on the coffin.

Also loved-
“Kalavati is discussed in Parliament.Sheetal is discussed by Parliamentarians”

A good read after such a long time!!!

pooja raathore said...

I liked your article.Linda Goodman is not wrong , the reason being every sun sign has positive and negative qualities it is upto the individual whether to enhance his positive qualities or go for the negative ones, like there are good and bad people but there are what they are because of the choice they make...Free will.

introspection said...

The write up in Sunday times was great, but who cares abt Raj Thakeray's birthday....!!
Praising Thakerays in some way or the other is unbecoming on your part. You are a racist & castist if you support Raj in any way. Dint expect YOU doing this. But you scandalise your readers in more ways than one. Always. It's how you roll. It's good to be honest if you feel that way abt Raj; but you are an Indian writer of tremendous standing; and expected to know your responsibilty before you put pen to paper. tut tut

Sidhusaaheb said...

Ms. Mafatlal is just another smuggler and Ms. Kalawati expects to be paid just because Rahul Gandhi dropped by her residence. I care two hoots about either of them.

BTW, I have a friend who shares his birthday with Adolf Hitler and am yet to discover a similarity between the two.

:D

gb said...

hi madam
u have said correctly: who knows what beast lurks beneath the veneer of a gentleman? shiney ahuja may be your idol but he is mortal man and can have weakness for young fresh girl. it is no wonder. after 15yrs of married life one naturally gets tempted to freshness. he must have committed rape in his excitement for sex.we all r products of excitement.
g.b.p.