First, a little note on the pics. Those pitch black elephants you see aren't born black - they are painted black!! Why? " To look better in tourist pictures," our honest guide in Angkor Wat confessed unself-consciously, adding sweetly, " If you rub them hard, they are grey-brown - just like your Indian elephants." But let's face it - black is beautiful - and these guys do look a whole lot better. More photogenic for sure!
Those gorgeous bachchas are as used to the cameras as the elephants. Not only do they pose like absolute pros, they charge like them, too! No money, no pics!
The Jaya Jaitley column evoked mixed reactions.... but the one I cherish came from Jaya herself. So.... for whatever it's worth, here it is.....
In praise of the other woman…
I don’t want to beat around the bush with this one – my subject for this column is Jaya Jaitley – why resort to silly alibis or anonymity? Jaya is not the garden variety ‘other woman’ in any case. She is a special woman with several extraordinary talents. It is indeed a pity that she has found herself in the eye of an ugly storm that focuses on just one aspect of her multi-dimensional life – her over three decades long relationship with George Fernandes. Come on, all you moralists out there. Jaya never made a secret of their friendship, so what’s the fuss about? I’ll tell you what – money and property. George is too frail and feeble ( physically and mentally) to be in a position to conduct his daily, routine affairs.But there is a lot of lolly at stake – more than 12 crores in assets if one goes by the records.All eyes are on Jaya, his faithful companion, and most fingers are pointing at her. Why? Because she is the ‘other woman’, and there is a wife on the scene. Never mind that the wife was nowhere to be seen for all these years. I won’t go into the reasons for her absence , mainly because I don’t know them! Does an outsider ever really know what goes wrong in a marriage , or, for that matter , even what goes right! The factually accurate position is that George was wife-less all this while. But all of a sudden, he is not. While he struggles to stay alive, his estranged wife has chosen to come ‘home’, along with a son who has lived overseas for a long, long time.
These things happen. Especially when twelve crores are involved. George, the old socialist\trade unionist who was rarely seen clad in anything more fancy than shabby pajama-kurtas in coarse khadi, is now being viewed as a wealthy landlord! What irony. And it is Jaya who is being castigated, even though she has challenged her critics to prove a single charge of misappropriation or manipulation. Nobody wants to hear this. Jaya has been pre-judged and condemned as a conniving female out to exploit a weakened lover, now that he is in no position to clarify or defend his lady. Yup, the same one who has been by his side and seen him through thick and thin, while his legit family was busy elsewhere. Those who have witnessed this awful drama in Delhi, are shocked at the viciousness of the campaign launched against Jaya.Yet, legally there is little anybody can do at this stage. Jaya is a strong, capable woman with her own set of loyal supporters. But given our hypocritical society, the odds are stacked against her – she doesn’t stand a chance in hell of exonerating her tattered reputation, once her detractors are through with her. For starters, nobody even knows her exact status vis-à-vis George. Were they lovers? Or just ‘good friends’ ? It really shouldn’t be anybody’s business, but you know how it goes. Assuming they knew each other intimately, the only person who had the right to object would have been George’s wife Leila Kabir. Perhaps she did object – but that’s another story.
As of now, it is not a fight over a man – but a fight over his money. And he doesn’t even know it!Jaya has been denied access to the residence that was as good as her own home for such a long period of time. I am sure, as and when the time comes, Jaya will not be given the chance to say her final goodbye to the man she looked after and by whose side she faithfully remained. Once he’s gone, the vultures circling overhead, will descend ferociously to attack the rich pickings.
Jaya Jaitley really doesn’t need George Fernandes’ money. But she alone can claim the right to his legacy. I doubt she’ll be allowed even that.