Monday, November 15, 2010

Amma Knows Best!!!

I am in a zombied out state. Just back from a magical trip to Hyderabad and the opening of the spectacular Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel. Yes, the Nizam made it to his own party!! Nothing short of a miracle, exclaimed the overawed Hyderabadis as the old boy ( with two exceedingly handsome, gracious sons) made a slow but majestic way up to the stage to receive a handsome book chronicling the history of this jewel of a palace from a modern day emperor - Ratan Tata himself. It was a historic moment - almost like the meeting of two eras, different centuries, differing ethos.... but oh so sweet.... like the famous 'meetha' of Charminar City. It was such a pleasure being in the company of truly cultured, old fashioned aristocrats dressed in their antique finery. I have been 'adaab-ing' away for the past two days.... and am planning to make it my greeting for the season ahead. It is a refined, graceful and elegant way of showing respect and humility. Just like 'Namastey'.
This appeared in the Sunday Times...

Why ‘Amma’ always knows best…

Let’s hand it to Amma – she is nothing if not a force of nature. J.Jayalalithaa with her calm, Buddha-like expression, and the slow, measured speech, is a phenomenon in the murky world of desi politics. And…trumpets! bugles! – the Caped Wonder from Tamil Nadu is back in the game once more…with her entrée, the stakes have suddenly gotten sexier. Written off, diminished and lying low for a while, she made a dramatic reappearance in the political arena by offering an exclusive interview to Arnab Goswami on Times Now. If her calibrated quotes were designed to cause major ripples in Delhi, they certainly scored big, with partners in UPA’s assorted bread basket scrambling for cover. Ostensibly, Amma was after Scam Meister 2G Raja’s head. But was that her main or only objective? Analysts think not. The 2G scam has been around for a while. Amma had refused to get drawn into it at that stage. Raja brazened it out and laughed all the way to various banks, even as his countless critics thought the nation was diddled out of something close to two lakh crore rupees. It is a number most people would find next to impossible to fathom. How much those 122 licences issued during the auction could have fetched… should have fetched… remains in the domain of conjecture. By demanding his sacking at this critical point (when the Congress party is sweeping its stables clean of notably corrupt netas), Amma caused a mini-quake. Her serene and controlled demeanour as she outlined her plan to save the UPA and India from a possible mid-term poll, was perhaps this ex-actor’s most convincing performance to date. Not a muscle moved on her face as she went through her game plan emotionlessly, listing out her reasons for going public with her outrage. She spoke impassively while expertly crunching numbers and assuring everybody she could produce the 18 MP s needed to fill in the gap if the DMK withdrew its support to the UPA. She refused to reveal the identify of the ‘friendly parties’ on stand by, but it was abundantly clear Amma was on a roll! And there are very few politicians left who can match Jayalalithaa in full flow. She speaks eloquently and with complete authority that does not tolerate a single interruption ( for once, the garrulous Goswami was rendered speechless). She refused to get cornered on a single issue, including the prickly one involving her far from cordial relationship with Sonia Gandhi (Amma’s response was mild and philosophical). Jayalalithaa stayed resolutely focused on corruption – mega corruption - and didn’t shy away from naming names ( Ashok Chavan, Suresh Kalmadi). The message got through - when Amma means business – watch out!
What was remarkable about Jayalalithaa’s scintillating interview ( monologue is more like it), was the politically incorrect content she opted for. Blunt. To the point. And refreshingly outspoken, she delivered punches that were perfectly on target. Her bombshells had very little to do with Raja per se. This was Amma telling her admirers and opponents she’s done with sulking in the shadows and licking her wounds. She’s done with being pushed around and marginalized in her own state. And most importantly, she’s done with being petulant vis a vis the Madam in Delhi. Jayalalithaa is ready to rock! And people who know the lady insist she is one tough customer. Known to be ruthless and unsentimental when it coming to decimating those who stand in her way ( loyal friends included), this is Jayalalithaa’s moment to recover lost ground and reposition herself at the state and national levels. She candidly admitted she’d taken a few hits in the past, but asserted quickly she was ready to go into battle with renewed ferocity. She spoke about ‘weak leadership’ ( Oh- oh…. Manmohanji!), and our soft stand while dealing with Pakistan and China ( hear! hear!). She also mentioned her desire to pump up defense budgets since our army was nowhere close to China’s in terms of strength and sophistication ( too true). When was the last time we heard a politician state something as explosive on a national channel ? Jayalalithaa’s decision to go public with her politics is a staggeringly bold one. In a single shot, she conveyed several messages that will be hard for the Centre to ignore. She also issued veiled threats in the bargain – suggesting the rise of people power that could trigger off an unstoppable protest movement. Amma grandly offered to lead it if Raja’s head was not delivered on a platter soon.
While DMK bosses go into a huddle, and others wait and watch, Amma has already achieved her objective. “ I am back!” is Jayalalithaa’s war cry. Weak hearted ninnies are busy ducking and looking for places to hide. Oh…. about Raja and the multi-zulti crore scam… all lines are busy on this route. Aap qatar main ho…


anamika said...

Now when Jayalalitha is back in action please check out this also and have a hearty laugh

as rehman would say it -
Jaya ho!!!! :D

Gaurav said...

Just remembered an incident from my school (Hyderabad Public School) when I was made fun of for my faux-pas. I used to think 'Aadab Arz Hai' was 'Adaa Barse'. Thats how it sounded most of the times when friends and family around me said it.(all the time) Thats when my friend corrected me. Its like the Frech say Aurevoir. But the way they say it, sounds like Auf-va.

Also notice, when people in Hyderabad give each other a hug when greeting each other, they always hug thrice. Again, I was used to this and when I gave a hug to my friend in college, I turned for additional 2 hugs after the first one. Again, everyone thought I was crazy.

Subtle things in life which we take for granted and actually so different to others around you. I guess this then forms part of an individual's culture and upbringing. Always, fun to do things differently.

Gaurav said...

...( for once, the garrulous Goswami was rendered speechless....

...( Ashok Chavan, Suresh Kalmadi)...

...( monologue is more like it).....

Ms. De,
I don't intend to knit-pick, but have you noticed, when you write stuff in brackets (), you give an extra space before the text? I admire your near perfect writing and thought should bring this to your notice. I maybe wrong. If so, gustaakhi maaf huzoor. :-)

Radhika Gupta said...

Jayalalithaa... bold n gutsy!!

cmpershad said...

It's amma's gesture which kicked out raja and made him a bhikari:)
I hope u liked Hyd. with its unseasonal barish and its congested roads, which looked so broad in the bygone days :) AADAAB!

obssesor said...

Falaknuma is grand, the jewel of the city. Hope you enjoyed the view from the Gazebo.

harcharan bains said...


Harcharan Bains on Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 7:40pm
Note: I had posted a part of this story some days ago. I had wanted to assess then if virtue meeting a tragic end is more touchng than a virtuous but tragic protagonist battling against and winning over adversity. I am posting the full story below. Will be grateful to rreceive comments giving comparative assessment of the two versions: .

"Said a nightingale to a snake: "There is a little poison in my heart too. When its pain stings sharp, I sing and feel light as a feather. Why do you never sing?"

A cuckoo heard the nightingale, smiled and said, "Snakes have no ears and he can't hear your words."

The nightingale became pensive and said to herself,"How sad he can't hear my songs. There is no music in his life." And she wondered if that was why the snake had to live with so much poison in his soul. "I must find some way to help him sing," she found herself mumbling, and the melancholy strain in her song filled the valley.

The snake slithered into a dark hole. This saddened the nightingale even more. The valley reverberated with her pain all night. In the morning, the sun searched every branch, but the nightingale was nowhere to be found. Said a little flower to the sun,"She has gone to some unknown valleys to get some music for the snake who lives here."

"Amen !" said the sun, and went about his work, too sad deep within his heart as he had seen something that looked like a nightingale's body lying peacefully still close to where the snake lived. But the sun did not want to violate the innocence of the the little flower, and remained quiet.

A distant star, who had been watching all this, rubbed his eyes under the glare of the sun and shouted from afar, " She sang incessantly all night, and that drilled a hole in her throat. Her last song before day break was a promise to fetch music from strange lands for the snake and others. She left as she had lived -- singing."

The thorny plants that infested the forest did not believe the star. "The nightingale had been the cause of too much noise here , sang for the snake alone and did nothing to solve the problems of the poorest among us, " they complained to the sun.

The sun looked at them, smiled and moved over from the forest. "Did the nightingale sing for the snake alone?" he murmured to himself. He glanced over his shoulder and looked at the thorny plants, who had already forgotten their complaints against the nightingale and were lost in their daily fights against one another. "The snake did not hear the nightingale's song because he could not. But the thorny plants have ears," thought the sun, and his heart was filled with pity for the plants.
As the sun prepared to set over the darkening jungle, he heard a soft tune he thought he had heard many times before. It was a song overflowing with love and compassion, and it seemed to waft over the gentle wings of the breeze. Suddenly, the sun could see a luminous ball of feathers flying across the horizon. It was glowing with strange light that remsembled neither his own shine nor the cool rays of the moon. His heart was filled with happiness the like of which he had never experienced before.
"The stubborn little girl can never stop singing songs of love. She mocks her destiny. I fear for her life," said the sun to himself, but in the heart of his hearts he was happy, and he knew that there was nothing to fear for the nightingale. But he wished the thorny plants would understand the nightingale's song. "Perhaps then they would have less of the hatred in their hearts which they have come to enjoy but which consumes them day and night."

Suddenly, he was reminded of the power of innocence, and he went on his diurnal journey with peace in his heart.

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