I have succumbed! Finally! And acquired a new phone (Samsung Galaxy S 111). It is much, MUCH smarter than I am. Which is a good thing. But It is so darn smart that I can't use it! Well.... here are a few family pics I shot as soon as I got it. I am very pleased with the results. About other apps.... do I really care?
This appeared in Asian Age...
The real fight will be between the two Gandhi Babas
In what is being seen as a masterstroke by Narendra Modi, Varun Gandhi, the volatile and articulate son of Sanjay and Maneka Gandhi has been promoted to Class Monitor, after being treated as the Class Bully. There is good reason for this altered status. For one, Varun has done his share of standing on a bench in front of the Principal’s office. For another, he is a chip of the old block ( blocks, actually) and carries his Gandhi legacy with as much arrogance and chutzpah as his parents. Sanjay Gandhi’s style of functioning during the peak of his power, makes Narendra Modi look like a docile lamb reciting Baa Baa Black Sheep. Sanjay was far more in your face - an unapologetic tyrant with a weak voice and a loud manner. There was nothing ambiguous about his attitude. The man meant business. It was his way or the highway. You crossed his path at your own peril. His loyal coterie bowed and scraped in his presence in a manner so pathetic, it makes Mayawati’s fawning admirers look good. But that was Sanjay for you – Indira Gandhi’s adored son, who could do no wrong. His widow Maneka ( famously referred to as the kutta-billi mimister) has mellowed somewhat, but you don’t want to mess with this lady either. Varun is the product of fiery parents, who ( decades ago), had shrewdly capitalized on a turbulent environment to establish their own political credentials. Unfortunately for the little boy, his father Sanjay was killed in a chopper accident. His mother was thrown out of the marital home. And his reticent pilot-uncle, Rajiv Gandhi was compelled to fill the vacated position created by Sanjay’s death. India’s history got rewritten, as it were, virtually overnight – and a new monarch was born. A monarch who also had a young son to occupy his throne someday.
It is interesting that both Rahul and Varun are creatures crafted out of enormous personal tragedy. Rahul too lost his own father in equally tragic circumstances, leaving him to take care of a grieving widow ( Sonia), much like his cousin Varun before him. Rahul was fortunate enough to also have a loving sister to cushion the tragedy. Priyanka’s presence may have provided the much needed salve to both, Rahul and his mother. Varun had nothing and no one to fall back on. The few friends Maneka had when Sanjay was alive, soon drifted off to find new patrons. Varun was left to pursue his poetic passions and sent overseas for a formal if lonely education. That he was (and remains) the most political animal in the Gandhi family cannot be disputed. That his IQ is far higher than Rahul’s is known to all. That he is far more aggressive than his mild cousin, is pretty obvious. Now all that remains to be seen is which of the two Gandhi men will impress voters in 2014.
Rahul’s start to woo a picky electorate has been pretty dheela and shaky. Varun is clearly waiting for his big Debutant Ball. But his recent elevation within the party cadre has already sent out several signals. Rahul’s minders are gearing up for a major showdown as the election wars hot up. There are rumours of a Gandhi Vs.Gandhi maha yudh in the offing. Modi campwallas are betting on their Saffron Gandhi taking the pants … err… pajamas, off the Congress Gandhi. Varun’s fire and brimstone speeches have got him into hot water earlier. Today, he presents a more sober side to the world ( perhaps marriage has mellowed the man?) and minds his language during public discourses. Rahul’s oratorical skills … well, let’s leave those for now, boss! He has much harder tasks ahead of him than to invest his energy trying to impress CII types with his schoolboyish vision for India. How this star rivalry between high profile cousins pans out in the coming months will be fascinating to monitor. One Gandhi is a mild mannered, dimpled darling, with a limited attention span and a self effacing manner that pleases but does not impress. Let’s describe Rahul as a cuddly cocker spaniel. The other Gandhi is hot headed, with a volcanic temper and unapologetically rabid views. Let’s say he most resembles a pit bull terrier. Both men will be used and exploited by the propaganda meisters of their respective parties. Maneka will be pitted against Sonia yet again, albeit in dramatically altered circumstances. This time it will be a lethal fight to the finish with the winner taking it all. In terms of charisma, both men are well-matched. Rahul has his fan following of fida female voters…thanks to his single status. Varun is admired by asli mards… and, of course, women who like their men married and macho.Rahul has a free run of the party. Varun still has to toe the Modi line. If Varun doesn’t allow his ego to get the better of him, he will willingly suck up to Modi and play second fiddle for now. Varun’s time will come later, much later. But Varun is smart enough to know all eyes will be on him as he takes on his cousin and aunt. But Rahul still has the trump card in his hand. It is Rahul who can say, “Mere paas maa hai…. aur behen bhi.” Priyanka Vadra will be the biggest game changer in 2014. But that master stroke is obviously being saved for the dhoom dhadaka finale! Till then, let’s just enjoy the Gandhi Vs. Gandhi show at prime time.