Monday, September 21, 2009

Tweeter.... and be damned!

From the Chattering Classes to the Twittering Classes, the transition has been seamless. Today, the world is divided into ‘Those who Tweeter’ and ‘Those who Tweeter not.” Shashi Tharoor belongs to the ‘Oh to twitter, now that autumn is here! I twitter, therefore I am….’ Category. But S.M. Krishna doesn’t. This is leading to a bit of a situation.A diplomatic impasse, that needs Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention once again. Poor Pranabda. First he had to boot out our Seven Star ministers from their five star dens. And now, he may have to curb the enthusiastic tweeter addict in Tharoor. These two fancy gentlemen ( Krishna and Tharoor) have added so much panache to boring briefings. When it comes to the beauty stakes, Tharoor ( younger and prettier), has the clear edge over Krishna.But, sartorial stakes? All those of us in Mumbai who interacted with S.M. Krishna, know that at heart, our dapper Foreign Minister is a closet fashion designer who loves his trendy gear enough to seriously consider launching his own line of men’s wear. This is not a dig or a joke. In a way, both these guys represent a new breed in politics. And we should welcome their kind. So what if they chose to stay in plush suites with staggering tariffs? As Tharoor promptly twittered, “ I would be ashamed if I was spending the people’s money. But I am not. I am spending my own savings.” Good boy. Krishna was equally forthcoming when he retaliated, “ I have made private arrangements.I will continue to do so till I get my house fit enough to be occupied.” Right on, buddy.Yeh log aam aadmi nahi, balke raja aadmi hain. Give them credit for being upfront about their creature comforts. Tharoor has two basic requirements – a state- of- the- art gym ( staying pretty is not easy!). And privacy (but of course – public figures are entitled to their personal lives). Fair enough. Why should these two high flying chaps hole up in some shabby bhavan without basics….. like a bidet? Or room service? There’s a huge difference between a valet and a ‘ramu’ who can’t tell between cutting chai and a fine Darjeeling. Really, Pranabda… you are being too mean. Not everyone can be a Rahul Gandhi and spend nights in jhopdis sleeping uncomfortably on chattais, eating frugal farmer fare. Give these guys a break!! They are handling Foreign Affairs – positioning is everything, ya!!
Seriously though, isn’t it monumentally hypocritical to make such a big number out of such a maamuli incident? Even if these two were shelling out a lakh of rupees per day to stay in the style they are accustomed to, so what? So long as they were footing their own bills, nobody has the right to object. In any case, if one digs deeper, what’s the bet those other ‘holier-than-thou’ pseudo-Socialists in government spend an equal amount on their lifestyles, but not as conspicuously. Who knows where that money comes from?Or how kosher the payments are? I recall breakfasting with the ultimate Gandhian, Shri Morarji Desai, many moons ago. I was staggered by the lavish spread of satvik items, including badam-pistas, assorted fruit platters, fresh butter and goat’s milk. For as austere a person as Morarjibhai, this was a repast fit for a king! It is time we stopped wasting our time on such meaningless exposes. Let’s face it, our netas are the new royals. They live far, far better than the people they claim to represent. We, the tax payers, provide the funds that keep them safe and well- fed. We don’t grudge them their perks. So, why harrow just these two shaukeen, high profile men who believe that living well is still the best revenge? For some odd reason, politicians have built up a strange case against what is cutely called the ‘Five Star Culture’. Yet, they are the ones who revel in it the most – and worse – expect us poor suckers to pay for their excesses most times. At least Tharoor and Krishna are being entirely upfront in this regard. They are posh people, and they make no apologies for it. If they refuse to reside in those Bhavans, as suggested by Pranabda, they are entitled to do so. And if the real worry is about the ‘wrong signal’ their five star lives may send to the unwashed masses, give us a break! Does anybody out there really give a damn? What people want is deliverables at any cost. And this is where my case weakens. Krishna and Tharoor have not exactly covered themselves in glory in their sensitive posts. Perhaps the temperature of the water in the hotel jacuzzi was not quite right??
Let’s hope their new temporary digs are comfortable enough . No khatmals in the khatiya. No frogs in the loo. Now if only Tharoor would twitter less and do more, all will be forgiven. Promise!
Is it wits who tweet.... or twits ? You decide!
I have had a long day.....but a productive one. I inaugurated 'ETHICUS' wearing one of the most exquisite sarees produced by master weavers from the Kabini reservoir area and dyed with eco friendly, organic dyes . The weaver, Shri K.Nagaraj took four days to weave this 'ethical' saree, and it is truly a masterpiece. I felt so proud of our rich textile traditions which go back centuries, when I lit the ceremonial lamp and met the talented weaver in person! In case you are interested in learning more about this label ( I call it a movement ), visit
It may interest you to know that the label has been launched by a third generation cotton family from Coimbatore, involved in sustainable agriculture.


Anonymous said...

Talk less.
That is future.

narendra shenoy said...

Agreed with every word of this article! Except the saree bit of course, of which I have little knowledge. I find the term 'ethical saree' droll, however. What would be an unethical saree? But that's nitpicking. As you said, the textile tradition of India is really worthy of good old fashioned pride.

Gajendra said...

s m krishna twitters tooo

A Stoic said...

Men of integrity, finally?

Latha said...

Hi Shobhaa,
Truly said. I appreciate every word that you have written.
Afterall star hotels are meant to be stayed in. If the citizens of India can stay in them why not the netas with their own money ?
'Gym' is something our pot bellied politicians will not understand. May not have anything to do with it rather ! So they think it is a luxury ! Moreover how would they divert our attention from the price of Tur dal selling for Rs 100/Kg & carrots selling like gold & siver....& the farmers in Vidarbha committing suicide. So where does the money we pay go ? Who are the middlemen ? Will Pranab Babu explain this to the aam janta instead of making a show of austerity.
We know Pranabda has spent in crores 'our tax money' for his innumerous foreign tours when he was in SM Krishna's shoes as the external affairs Minister.
SMK was IT savvy when he was the CM of Karnataka ages back & answered all the e-mail complaints with action within 24 hrs. Now which Minister can claim that kind of sincerity ? Now if his chela Shashi Tharoor is accessible through the internet to the public on a daily basis, why should these politicians who do not even understand 'cattle class' & 'holy cows' who will be accessible to the people only for 'Main aapke vote mangne aaya hun' once in 5 years get irritated ?

kala said...

Krishna and Tharoor. If they can spend that kind of money so casually, voters would like to know the source and other details. Politicians must practice austerity to set an example. Careless twittering must stop. And overreactions to such twitters must also stop. Why renovations when ever a new occupant moves in? Is it genuine renovation or catering to individual tastes wasting crores of taxpayers money? Are those structures in such a dilapidated condition? If gym is such a dire necessity, let everyone of the taxpayer be provided with one. A brisk walk and frugal diet will do what expensive gyms promise to do. And be frugal when employing numerous domestic helps. These people do not even want to get their own glass of water and they want gyms.

maglomaniac said...

All in the name of so called austerity.The other day at Barkha's show the debate ensued on and on and finally even coming to the point of "Oh why so lavish Indian wedding".
All I feel is that(in both the cases-weddings and Tharoors)-why the fuss,when its their money.
And like the joker says(courtsey BATMAN)-I am burning my half(of the money),you do what you want with yours.


cmpershad said...

"Seriously though, isn’t it monumentally hypocritical to make such a big number out of such a maamuli incident? "

we have lost sense of humour and cannot laugh even on sad situations- when people are treated worse that cattle- a Bombay train is living example:)still passengers make merry!!

kala said...

And if they are so flush with funds, why dont they pay for all the renovations and why dont they rent their own bungalows? It will reduce some burden atleast.

Anonymous said...

brilliant... so well said!! Tharoor and Krishna have become the new flavor of the season.

Btw, i read some bad reviews of Dil Bole..., but you seem to have loved it, now i'am thinking of havin a look too...
Oh btw, dont know if you read in the papers, Ms. Rakhi Sawant has sent her firang fiance "Elesh" back home to toronto... apparently she couldn't understand his fluent "ANGREZI"..... hahahahaha

Anil Kumar said...

This whole drive of saving money on economy class looks bogus idea.

If you really want to save money then remove their security cover and provide each politician a auto-rickashaw (without driver) for local travel and free rail pass for travel across India.

This is the only way to make our beloved politicians class an aam-aadmi.

Rhett said...

Just a thought: Reading the first paragraph I was getting the impression it is a teenaged girl blogging about her angst dyed in her rich humour.

Peter Williams Amalraj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
*Aham* said...

kuttay kameenay, main tera tweet shift delete kar doonga.....

this could well be the gaali of tomorrow.

Or may be, Om shanti on types

pranab baabu " ek chutki tweet ki keemat tum kya jaano pranab.... "

how silly and how sissy can pranab babu be. We have lost our sense of humour completely, but in contrary, the senses of our ministers are quite humorous by itself.

Austerity, What austerity, its just a new word that has lived and has died, now speaking about austerity would be outdated and outlandish.

Its just cleaver advertising by sonia maino and dimpled chasmish.

Its good a strategy as compared to caste politics by our chaste politicos.

And austerity, i define it as the art of wearing a khadi dhoti outside, and tommy hiflier chaddi inside. LOL.

Lonely Guy said...

Hi Shobha,

I am a great fan of your's since my college days when i read your "Sultry days". Thanks to internet i have a chance here to write to you. Like always you article on shashi taroor was well written with plentiful dose of humour thrown in. Thanks and keep rocking.


mahatru said...

I agree Lataji

Where is aam adami's hard earned money deposited to the Govt. in the form of taxes going? Every month the grocery bills increase exponentially :) phir farmers commit suicide coz of their inability to pay debts :(

Its my gutt feeling that Shashi Tharoor will prove to be a good and ideal Minister if only He does not become a scapegoat to our minister's dirty politics......

Ragarding that saree link visited the site, very heavy use of flash so tooooo slow in loading

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Theyoginme said...

Those who can legally spend their own money for 5 star accommodations -should. I think its time to "shed" this old charkha philosophy for show and end this hypocritical behavior. I wonder how much of the 70 lac crore indian origin money stuffed in swiss bank accounts belongs to the charkha class corrupt politicians. And this is in no disrespect to the Gandhian philosophy of life, HE LIVED IT!

parwatisingari said...

well written Ms.De one should appreciate Tharoor and S.M,Krishna for being their natural self they are definitely of greater worth than the synthetic bhaiya-lander Rahul Gandhi.

Sidhusaaheb said...

If they paid the hotel bills out of their own pockets, no one should have a problem. I agree with you on that.

maha said...

ya i too agree on that fact....

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