Friday, May 4, 2012

Manohar P....while the Goa-ing is good.

Blogdosts... I have gone back to the old format. Jai ho! Am looking for other columns that I'd written during my Monaco break. It's going to be a steamy summer in more ways than one!

Randy Andy ( Prince Andrew) is older and appears like a middle-aged traveling salesman ( well, at least to Delhi's miffed journos after he refused to speak to them). At the glittering soiree I'd mentioned in an earlier post, the Prince was minus any Showgirls ( no Marilyn Monroe clones that night!), but in terrific spirits. Must have been the Dom.

Last night at Mumbai's most loved, most coveted club, the posh and snooty Willingdon, I enjoyed a relaxed and delicious dinner with the children. And then came the pleasant surprise - we spotted Magna ( and my former) boss, Nari Hira having dinner at one of the tables overlooking the golf course. He was looking wonderful, and has promised to make a date with us next week. I so love him!


This appeared in Sunday Times...

While the Goa-ing is good….

“ Can you believe it? He came to this dinner by cab!Yes, he actually took one of our Mumbai taxis. Oh, that’s him… the guy in that simple, blue linen shirt.No body guards, no entourage.” The ‘him’ in question was Goa’s newly minted Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar. And the reason Mumbai was gasping is easy to understand. Shri Parrikar travels light. In every sense of the word. This was his coming out party, in a way. He was to be introduced to the movers and shakers of Mumbai by Shaina N.C. at a high profile dinner on the lawns of her father,Nana Chudasama’s seaside bungalow. While other guests rolled up in swanky cars, dressed in their party finery, Manohar Parrikar’s well calculated move to dress down and hop into a local cab, did not go unnoticed. Invitees fawned over the chief guest, exclaiming in wonderment, “ This is so refreshing. He is so informal and approachable.” A starlet gushed, “He’s really cute… and so real!” If Manohar Parrikar was aware of all the flattering comments floating around, he did a pretty good job of playing dumb, mixing easily with a cross section of Mumbai’s elite. Businessmen and brokers made a beeline for the man who is expected to clean up the sorry state of Goa. Everyone was looking for a few seconds of face time with a person who comes to the job with good credentials. But what Mumbai’s groupie-style, near-delirious response to Parrikar established is the rather unfortunate but fixed image people have of politicians across the board . We expect politicians to be sleazy, pompous and corrupt. Most of them live up to their terrible reputations. Then along comes someone who breaks the mould and defies the stereotype. That’s enough for the jaded junta to go into raptures over the person.It’s sad that citizens have such a low opinion about their leaders.

It’s much too early in the game to go gaga over Parrikar.That he means business, is evident. That he is well-educated (IIT) and erudite is equally obvious. As good leaders ought to be! Since that isn’t the case in India, a Manohar Parrikar attracts extra attention.Combine that with the silly ‘People Like Us’ urban syndrome, and you get the drift.Overheard that evening were comments like, “ He speaks good English! He is articulate and soft spoken. He doesn’t chew paan or pop paan masala into his mouth. Why, he even drinks beer! He is one of us.” The verdict was unanimous : Parrikar is kosher - a man of the world. A sophisticate. Someone who can be safely invited to a glamourous soiree without the hosts worrying about any faux pas being committed. Plus, he has a sense of humour - he joked about the billionaire quotient on the lawns. Manohar Parrikar was the surprise package for a lot of the invitees that night, most of whom had not heard of him till they arrived at the party to socialize and schmooze. That Parrikar was happy to be just another guest, and made no attempt to network with the VIPs present, added to his appeal. Some of the other politicos present must have felt diminished in his presence, since nobody bothered with them and their hefty bodyguards.

Shouldn’t Parrikar’s conduct be the norm in any case?Should we really be astonished to meet a regular, no fuss, no frills chap who is confident enough to discard outdated protocol?Isn’t it about time we dumped this ridiculous and very expensive drill? It’s tax payers’ money that goes into those massive security operations. It is we who pay for the half-a-dozen escort cars and cops. These extravagant privileges belong to a bygone era.Today’s leaders should be treated like professionals from any other field. They are there to do a job, and deliver results .That’s it. Why treat them like demi-Gods? If Manohar Parrikar behaved ‘normally’, we should not be surprised, nor should we applaud. If anything, we should insist on all the other high-and-mighty C.M’s behaving ‘normally’, too. We are equally to blame if we fawn and fall over backwards in their presence… using social opportunities to suck up to elected representatives, like they are royalty, and we their humble subjects. Manohar Parrikar has shown the way. It’s a class act worth emulating. Are other netas listening??


Ambika said...

Well, Pondicherry's (Puducherry) ex CM, N Rangaswamy travelled everywhere on his bullet - minus the body guards - even in the market place. (This was a news report)
And, I have heard stories of Sharad Pawar who in the event of his car breaking down on the middle of the road during an election campaign, got into another jeep and drove himself to the next venue.

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Desi Babu said...

So....why don't you simply elect more such politicians? And, through your widely read columns, why don't you write a good word or two about more such Manohar Parikars?

Ms. De, what you are seeing is another consequence of globalization, in the coming days I expect to see more such no-nonsense politicians replacing the goondas we have filled up our assemblies with. This will happen because we will see more of the west, and the ordinary pedestals their politicians are given, devoid of security.

However, I feel that Lallu Yadav should still get a full security detail -- a live comedy show and traveling circus does deserve its frills, doesn't it?

And oh, did Mr. Parikar come wearing a chappal? You might like my latest post!
Chappal Kumar and Shoe Sahib

Desi Babu

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