Blogdosts. I am off to Karachi tomorrow. Am a little excited. A little nervous. The programme sounds fascinating. But to be at a session titled 'Superstar Author' without dying of embarrassment ( secretly tickled !), will be a major feat! I may or may not blog from Karachi. Tempted to take the iPad, but would rather people watch and ahem, this time I am definitely going to attempt a bus ride - I love the public transport in Karachi. The buses are moving works of art - delightfully kitschy and colourful. The last time I suggested it to my local hosts, they nearly fainted and locked me up!!
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A ‘Suitable Man’ for Oprah…
Strike me dead for saying this, but who will marry Oprah??She is larger than life, physically and metaphorically. She is , perhaps, the largest woman on earth. While I’m sure it’s tough being Oprah, it is well nigh impossible for anybody to be Mr. Oprah. I cannot think of any man in the public domain who could play that role. Oprah is seriously scary. Her personality is overwhelming. And she definitely does not carry all that weight, that baggage, lightly. Oprah is exceedingly self-aware. She knows she is Oprah Winfrey. And she wants you to know it, too. That’s a pretty tough call to take in a meaningful relationship between equals – which is what a stable marriage is all about. And it is not just her formidable size or reputation. A ‘suitable man’ will have to deal with much more. It’s called the ‘Oprah Package’ – the entourage, the fans, the roadshow. Because, the fact of the matter is, Oprah is blissfully wedded to herself. And to her life- long show. There is simply no space for another. At least, that was the impression conveyed during her breezy stay in India, during which she managed to pack it all in – from seaside mansions to chawls, widows in Vrindavan to socialites in Mumbai.Which is fine. Perhaps, she is not really looking for a suitable man any more. Perhaps, she knows another human being in her life would crowd the space which is designed to accommodate just one person – her. And she is perfectly happy not having to share even a micro second of her fishbowl existence with another, especially since she herself belongs to the world – to those millions of global fans, who believe implicitly in the Oprah Magic.
Oprah, of course, is unique. But she’s not alone in experiencing such a life. The other woman who comes to mind is Mother Teresa – who was also appropriated by her followers during her lifetime, and had consciously ‘married’ God, devoting her hours to the service of humanity. Both women display similar traits and characteristics : charismatic, magnetic, powerful, giving and hugely influential. Both reached out to people across continents in a way that no other contemporary could or did. Both remain adored, revered figures capable of moving masses through their words and deeds. Mother T. is no more. But her legend lives on. Oprah continues to exercise an overpowering hold over her flock. Having met her, albeit briefly, it’s easy to understand why. Oprah, Like Mother T. instantly connects to the person she is talking to. She exudes unadulterated love and concern. Her emotions are out there… her eyes are kind. Occasionally, they brim over. But mostly, they dance with joy. It is her exuberance that is most infectious. Combine that with a spontaneous touchy-feely attitude, and what you get is an irresistible human being you have to fall in love with – as most people do. But that’s different from marriage, right?
The only other female contemporary world figure in a similar league, who has been married to the same man for a record number of years, is Hillary Clinton. But then, her husband, Bill Clinton is no ornery fella! That’s why the marriage has endured, despite scandals galore.Oprah has more in common with Bill than Hillary, including a rough childhood. Early deprivation combined with an astonishingly high I.Q. have made super heroes out of both individuals. Rising magnificently above adversity has toughened the two , taking them to dizzy heights in their public life. But the biggest common factor has been the undeniable people skills they possess in abundance.These outweigh any other attribute. Reaching out in remarkable ways and touching countless lives is a God-given gift. For an iconic talk show host and a much reviled yet, equally admired former President of America, it is this very gift that has found them a permanent place in history. Oprah is the richest self-made woman in the world. I wonder what those riches mean to her in real terms. Despite all the fame and glory, there is still a hint of loneliness in Oprah’s expressive eyes. For a woman who grandly claimed her ‘whole life is a Taj Mahal ’, it does seem a little ironical that there is no ShahJehan in sight!