Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The SDe book imprint launched at the JLF

What a Lit Fest! I had a BRILLIANT time at the just concluded JLF. Got back exhausted but exhilarated late last night after launching my imprint, the SDe Book, on the Front Lawns - the hallowed top spot at the JLF, which was packed to capacity for my session titled ''Çelebrate Shobhaa', ably moderated by the very competent Ashok Ferrey, the talented writer from Sri Lanka.Do note my vibrant Socialite Bag, a merchandising tribute from my publishers, a bow in the direction of my very first book, 'Socialite Evenings'. I love it! And it matches my mad caftan, too!
This appeared in the Asian Age on Saturday....

                                                      Rahul Baba – Maa da Laadla
Coronation of a Prince....

Now that the deed is done, let’s pump the lad’s hand and get on with it. Wait a minute. Did I just use the word ‘lad’? Ooops. Rahul  Gandhi at 40 plus is no lad. Laadla, yes. Not just his mother’s, but, as the Congress grandpas are hoping, of the entire nation’s too. Don’t laugh. It may yet happen. Anything is possible in this pathetic scenario with the acute paucity of leaders. But before we start singing hosannas and rush out to anoint the Dimpled Darling, we really need to get a few things right. For starters, can we stop this nonsense of referring to him as a Youth Leader? Or a Youth Icon? What youth? At his age, Barack Obama was a Senator from Illinois, already eyeing the White House.Today, at 51, Obama has just been sworn in for a second term as President of America. And our Rahul (just 9 years his junior)

 has yet to take his first few baby steps in the big, bad world of politics. Even so, compared to the fossils in his party, it is understandable that they would want to propel him forward as a youthful leader who could then become the youthful prime minister – just like his Daddyji before him. Perhaps his stubble and disheveled appearance are a part of that construct. Perhaps his minders have decided that’s the look which will click with Youngistan. Maybe they are right. And maybe his critics are totally wrong when they mock his speech after this week’s dramatic nomination and elevation. I have a feeling even that ( babalog speech) was a part of the overall positioning strategy. Here’s the possible scenario : Diggy and gang went into a huddle after the Reluctance Prince had been talked into accepting the number 2 position in the party.  Once that tiny detail was out of the way it was decided that Rahul Baba should make an untutored, straight from the heart speech after the mini-coronation. Sceptics who  may have pointed out that it was not the best idea given our Baba’s…. ummmm, lack of political experience, were haughtily dismissed by Diggy and everybody went home happy. Then came the ‘cold and dark’ night which saw Rahul Baba in an agitated frame of mind. He thought long and hard about the most difficult decision he has ever taken and several thoughts ran through his head. Bingo! His speech wrote itself! He confessed he had watched his mother cry just once.  Earlier, she had surprised everyone by hugging him in public. He  too had  allowed himself to blush, dimple and hold back tears. The moment of truth was but a few hours away. What on earth would he say to the waiting world?
Aha. India found out soon enough. We discovered through our Prince that power was actually poison. But the good son was willing to drink poison for the sake of the country. There was a Christ-like message in the imagery. The chalice was in place. Rahul had no choice but to do the noble thing, as several members of his family had done earlier – and take a swig. During his Garden of Gethsemane moment, he remembered his late father (“ the bravest man I know’) and the tears in Rajiv’s eyes when his mother Indira Gandhi was assassinated. And now, here he was,  Rahul the dutiful son, ready to embrace his destiny and take charge of India. I have to confess I am a sucker for sentimentality. Never mind the Doubting Thomases who scoffed at the naivete of  Rahul’s childish speech, I fell for it hook, line and sinker. My motherly self reached out to the lad ( yes, at this point he had regressed and become an endearing lad), and my tear ducts went into over drive. I told you I’m an absolute sucker! What to do?
Political analysts insist Rahul Baba wasted a golden opportunity. Instead of a mature, well thought through State of the Nation address a la Obama,  Rahul converted the occasion into a maudlin Gandhi family melodrama. That is true.  So he did. But why not? How smart of him ! Rahul is no Obama. He is Rahul. A pretty simple minded chap, incapable of grand standing or brilliant oratory. It was clever of him to discard any official speech that may have been prepared for him, and decide to speak from the heart instead. At least the guy sounded genuine! But, hello! Was it smart of him to also indulge in much needed party bashing ? I think so. Rahul merely said what others have been voicing for the longest time. He had the guts to articulate popular sentiment and say it like it is. In the bargain, he did sound like a class monitor scolding naughty students . But frankly, better that than a  Sermon on the Mount.Rahul talked about reaching out to Young India in a more meaningful way. That was pretty cool. What wasn’t as cool was his reference to those leading an ostentatious life and depending on their privileged positions to protect them. His digs at Delhi’s Lal Batti culture must have reddened the faces of  several of his own party men.  Khair,Rahul sounded really cute when he made that remark. Mainly because he himself is probably THE most privileged person in India right now. Was it then , a wasted opportunity? Did he look like a wimp when he went on and on about his tete a tete with Mummyji? Yes, he most certainly did. But let me tell you, every desi mother watching him on tv that day must have wished fervently, “Beta ho toh aisa!” Let’s start counting those female votes, folks. The numbers are pretty awesome. Which is what makes me believe that the chweetie pie  speech was no accident. Whosoever designed it deserves loud applause. Taaliyaan ! India is a country of over emotional Matajis. Rahul managed to tug at several thousand heart strings in one go. He is no intellectual. But this one time, I for one think he got it right! Rahul was spot on! Chew on that, Narendra Modi.


Manjiri Kale said...

Socialite person with socialite bag..good one.

Gargi Bose said...

This Rakhi a pleasant surprise is waiting for my brother. Thanks to www.rakhitoindia2013.com> for their lovely gift collection. It has simplified my task to a great extent.

Pooja Rathore said...

nice pics,i loved your sunglasses(the first pic holding the book ).yep also socialite bag.
Nice post on Rahul ..he comes across as a nice person with goodintentions to serve the country...but politics ,somehow once you get into it...cant say...or i just want to be optimistic that rahul will remain the same...iam positive.

Jas said...

What a sweet little chutki on Rahul's infant cheek. As if he hadn't been slapped hard enough by the we-know-it-all brigade. Surprise then, the smothered laadla is still standing upright. If only his speech-writer could be a pen-wielding striker,his political destiny would have been struck off, atleast more ceremoniously.But what an interesting read of an article Shobhaji; definitely more sartorial than Sethji.

Anil Kumar said...

Rahul Baba looks innocent but the sad part is he is tutored by likes of Digvijay Singh, Ambika Soni, Rashid Alvi's and other crooks in congress. The way he is worshipped by the Congress Chamchas - for their own good - makes it very difficult for this laadla to carry India forward. You need a mind who can think independently and at the same time not blinded by chamcha's showing him rosy pictures.

You confirmed that you indeed have soft corner for him. I hope you are not benefitting by taking a little biased view on Rahul and Modi. Modi has a record of accomplishments - good and bad. Rahul's answersheet is still blank.

Russel Ahmed said...

well speculation. thanks!!

Jyostna said...

Rahul to me is still naive n childish. He may be prince charming for a princess but not really n may be never really a warrior prince to stand up n fight for the country

Tinu srivastava said...

very nice comment ,

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Aditya said...

Nice blog
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