This appeared in the Asian Age \ Deccan Chronicle today....
India needs a Santa to clean up the mess…
Santa Baby, this is an SOS…. hurry down the chimney…we need you. This has been a year of serious golmaal, and as 2010’s credit titles roll, the fate of the masala movie called ‘India’ at the international box office, looks khalllasss! When mega blockbusters bomb big time, everybody suffers. But those who suffer the most ( apart from stake holders ) are people – the all-important audience. Those trusting, optimistic viewers who come away feeling cheated and disillusioned. We are a nation of ‘paisa vasool’ types. We definitely want a big bang for our buck. When that doesn’t happen, we get angry… we sulk. Right now we are sulking big time. 2010 was supposed to deliver. India was on a roll. Good things were happening… the economy was expected to boom ( Pranabda – you promised!). Overall stability was taken for granted, and no great upheavals were on the cards.But something went horribly wrong at some point. Script ka problem ho gaya, boss. And not all the so-called superstars of the political firmament could put India back on the track as 2010 drew to a close.
Obama’s visit counted for little. It was a very expensive photo op, that’s all. He came, sang and danced with school kids in Mumbai ( Michelle’s moves were hotter), got his bheja fried by a cheeky student who brought up the P-Word ( Pakistan), and went off to impress Dilliwallas with his teleprompter oratory. We were expected to keel over backwards because the mighty President of the United States of America knew who Vivekananda.Hello!! But we were the bakras who ended up paying through our noses for his visit ( he went back with billions of dollars committed by us – we got ‘illey’ in return). Our fashion designers sniffed at the First Lady’s wardrobe and everybody declared Mme. Sarkozy as the undisputed winner of this sartorial race ( I thought Carla was dressed like a prim school marm and could have flashed more cleavage). Of the two presidents, my vote goes to Sarkozy, who was far more spontaneous, forthcoming and direct. Besides… we got something more than a vague promise of a permanent seat somewhere in the far distance out of the Frenchie. We are unashamedly crass in India – we only understand ‘rokda’ ( “Show me the money . In cash! Now!!” ) Then came the Chinese premier with a WenWen agenda on his mind. Our reception to him was far more restrained, which is really kinda stoooopid, given that we could do with some PDA with this guy who has designs on India and needs to be wooed with something more than just a traditional, thanda welcome. I wonder if someone was dumb enough ( lots of Dilliwallas to pick from) to offer Wen our second favourite national dish ( after murg massalam) – Chicken Manchurian? And did Wen puke at the sight of it? We excel at making such faux pas. And then we crib when Brit hosts offer us ‘Indian curry’ ( an astonishingly disgusting yellow paste) when we visit London. Perhaps Santaji can help us to reclaim Arunachal Pradesh from China and sort out other highly vexing issues with the fire breathing dragon next door.
But even Santa will forget his ‘ho ho ho’ in a hurry and clamber right back up that chimney leaving his sack of goodies behind when it comes to domestic messes. 2010 stands out as the Year of Corruption. It wasn’t just Munni who got badnaam this year. And as for Sheila’s ‘jawaani’ – well, the Delhi c.m. demonstrated she had a lot of it left in her when she took on all her detractors during the CWG scam… and sailed through without a scratch. In this Champions League, there were just too many top players all vying for the Crook of the Year trophy. With the spotlight on Kalmadi, most people forgot all about Modi. And by the time Kalmadi waddled back from the Asian Games, we were already busy with a brand new mother of a scandal… the one that featured a Raja. And a Rani! The timing couldn’t have been better. As more and more dirt emerged, and the Radia tapes vomited out names ( oooof! What names!), everybody was left shivering in their underpants, stripped off credibility, dignity, modesty - totally nanga in public! How many fig leaves can poor Santa carry in one sack?
As we sing X’Mas carols next week, let’s spare a thought for the aam aadmi and the aam aurat of India. We have been conned big time by the very people we’d invested our faith in over all these many years. People we have been foolish enough to elect. People we have naively trusted. The scenario for 2011 is looking bleak. Politicians, bureaucrats, cops, journalists, army men, corporate leaders…. and horror of horrors, judges, too, are suspect. Virtually everything is bought, rigged and finally sold to the highest bidder. Sleaze is the single common denominator dominating today’s India. But – hallelujah - there’s one small hope left as we get into the new year. Santaji should hand over his garb to Manmohanji immediately. If Singh wishes to remain King ( of hearts), he needs an image make over – and fast! Oh oh – what am I saying - the best in the business of make overs has just gone bust. Or has she ?? Only her Secret Santa knows for sure ! Ooops… have I said something wrong?
Santa honey… don’t bother to slide down the chimney this year…. it’s clogged with soot. And India doesn’t have enough chimney sweeps to unclog it!Aayi baat samajh main?
Merry Christmas readers, and a transparent New Year!
I admire people who give themselves generous gifts on their own birthdays. Today is Vijay Mallya's janamdin, and we went to his birthday brunch as we do every year , only to find the most exotic and beautiful creatures floating around the place. Vijay had clubbed two celebrations - the launch of the Kingfisher Calendar ( a drool worthy effort) and his own big day. Models with impossibly long legs, dotted the lawns like so many birds of paradise or flamingoes. It was all rather surrealistic and wonderful. God bless Vijay. I know he is the King of Good Times , with his understudy (young Siddhartha) doing his bit as the Prince of Even Better Times, but Vijay's unflagging enthusiasm and energy exhausted his guests.... not him. At sundown, he was preparing to sail out of the harbour in his magnificent yacht. Destination : Goa.
It's a hard act to follow. And nobody should attempt it....