The story isn't over till the Fat Man sings. Welllllll..... the Fat Man ain't singing. The song is off key, anyway. And now that the guns are trained on Tainted Modi ( Shashi Tharoor was neatly disposed off) , there are several bigwigs running for cover. Behaving like machchar being pursued with a can of mosquito repellant.
Shilpa Shetty has given Modi a clean chit from her side, declaring his innocence and requesting the media not to make this any murkier. Unfortunately, our journos behave like purring pussycats in the presence of Bollywood types. Nobody challenged her.... nobody asked pointed ,well researched questions about her own involvement, where she had got the money from.... whether she knew who the other investors were etc. She grandly said her piece and swept out of the venue. Anywhere else in the world, her syrupy words and impertinent references to the press, would have led to a barrage of uncomfortable questions. Instead of squirming under scrutiny, she smirked and stuck to her prepared, well rehearsed script, about the IPL generating revenues for the country, bringing glory to India etc etc. AAAARGH!
This column appeared in the Bombay Times yesterday....
There are people in Mumbai who remember partying with a tall, pretty woman called Sunanda Pushkar, who at that stage ( a few years ago) claimed she was Canadian. From all accounts she was striking enough for those admirers to goofily recall the heady evenings when Sunanda served delicious Kashmiri specialities, especially cooked by her. “ She was such a sweet and simple person,” they now exclaim, staring at the pictures of a brassy, brazen blond who has inadvertently opened a Pandora’s box and spilled far too many dirty secrets about the sleazy IPL shenanigans. So….. what happened to that sweet and simple Kashmiri-Canadian beauty? She turned into Sushi!! ( Sunanda meets Shashi – geddit?). Nothing was ever the same again. The wheeling and dealing days of Sunanda’s influential friends - the IPL high fliers - are clearly over, now that the excreta has hit the ceiling. But what will become of Sunanda – the femme fatale at the centre of the controversy? Will the dashing Tharoor make an honest woman out of her once the divorce from his second wife ( another Canadian!) comes through? Will the two of them ( Sushi) lie low and stay away from the spotlight till the muck settles down? Will Sunanda jump on the first flight back to Dubai? Will she continue to run her beauty business and spa? Or will Delhi society neatly absorb her the same way it does numerous other dodgy men and women? Strangely enough, nobody in Dubai’s small and close- knit NRI social circuit recalls coming across Sunanda at the innumerable parties this crowd is known to throw. A rather puzzled lady from Dubai, visiting Mumbai over the weekend , wondered aloud about Sunanda’s mysterious credentials, saying, “ It is such a small community of Indian and Pakistani expats living in Dubai, everybody knows everybody else. Someone as attractive and ambitious as Sunanda would have been hard to ignore or miss.”
If she is indeed such a mystery woman, it is all the more surprising that our suave ministerji ( External Affairs, at that) was indiscreet enough to get mixed up with someone like her. It is a sensitive post in a sensitive ministry. Tharoor maybe a comparative stranger to desi political life, but he’s no spring chicken or greenhorn. Public life is not new to him, given his earlier United Nations posting. Assuming he fell for Sunanda’s undeniable charms and said ‘to hell with the consequences’ ( it happens), it is incredibly naïve of him to have got her and himself mixed up in the Kochi conundrum. People were openly laughing at the way he was done in (presuming he was taken for a ride, and not the other way around). But look at it another way – Sunanda may have done everybody a favour. Had it not been for her very visible presence during the past week’s scandalous developments, would anybody have bothered to dig as deep? Thanks to her quotes ( and Shashi’s, of course), one thing led to another and now the sinister plot is known to all.Though, it is said what is known so far, is but the tip of the iceberg – the complications are just about beginning to unravel. Not that it will go much beyond the point it has reached – there is too much at stake, and too many sacred cows involved ( you’d be amazed at some of the names being thrown around). With such heavyweights ( literally and figuratively) in the picture, chances are they will find a fall guy to take the rap, and everyone will go home happy. Lalit Modi? Ha! He has survived criminal charges as a student in the U.S. – this is a piece of toast for the guy. As for all those very high profile people ( Bollywood jodis included), who partied nightly in his penthouse suite at central Mumbai’s posh hotel, well….. they are sure as hell running scared right now. Who knows what sort of witch hunt will follow? From income tax raids to drug busts to match fixing charges – anything is possible.
But it sure was fun while it lasted…..