This appeared in Sunday Times today....
Rantings of a drunk, frivolous, Page 3 ‘Bai’….
Remember that lovely song? “Mujko yaaron maaf karna… mein nashey mey hoon…?” I have been singing it all morning. And even as I key in this column ( between noisy sips of local daaru), I am hiccupping away. Maybe all my favourite Mumbai netas are thinking of me? Hic! Must invite a couple of them to the next Page 3 party along with other socialites, just to ‘utaaro’ my nasha, as promised. I believe they are feeling left out and sulking. Hey Bhagwan! This Page 3 life is so difficult to lead. I wish these netas would understand. We have to consume free daaru night after night, do ‘ulti’, and then face charges of being ‘frivolous’. It’s really not easy being a socialite these days. Netas have it better. Much better! Pata nahin kyon, but our netas get very, very uptight and upset by people they call ‘Page 3’ – the elite, according to them ! They use the word ‘elite’ as a gaali. Maybe, they also want to be elite and on Page 3 ? Drink free daaru? No, that can’t be the reason. They have been drinking free daaru all their adult lives in any case. But they are still so obsessed by Page 3. Jealous ho, kya?
Let’s face it, our dynamic netas have made more money in a short, short ( shorter than the skirts starlets wear at Page 3 events) period of time, than most of our very successful industrialists. That too, without putting up any industry! And they have more houses, bungalows, malls, multiplexes, even townships, than the most prosperous people in India. In fact, netas pay for nothing at all! They own fancy cars, luxury watches, yachts, jets, pata nahi aur kuch kuch, enjoy lavish foreign holidays, possess kilos of gold, priceless coloured diamonds and much, much more. Sab kuch phookat mein. Gratis! But they continue to point fingers at others and crib, crib,crib. Look at the track record of some illustrious leaders in my own State of Maharashtra. You name it, they’ve done it! Cheated, looted, corrupted, raped, even murdered. Kisiko kuch hua?
Ours is indeed a strange country. As India rolls towards its 66th Independence Day this month, it is worth reviewing what has really changed during the past dramatic decade. In a word, it’s something called ‘sharam’. There is none left.The political class has become totally besharam . Nothing shames nor embarrasses our elected representatives. And these are the people who want to ‘teach a lesson’ to others. What sort of a lesson? As I look out of my window on a gloomy monsoon afternoon, I can see a police van and a posse of cops. The lobby of the building we live in, has some more cops sitting around waiting for hired mobs to arrive. They are there to ‘protect’ me. And I am thinking to myself – how shameful that it has to come to this! What a waste of public money that these over worked officers are idling away their precious time to protect a ‘Bai’ who is being intimidated and threatened. Surely,our city needs these men to be doing something far more productive. But this is what it has become – an absolute farce! It makes me wonder which raw nerve was touched by that innocuous tweet in the first place?After I read what those netas said in response, I was embarrassed. For them. For all of us. Can they do no better than launch cheap, personal attacks on a woman? Not that the attacks per se bother me. It is the syndrome that disturbs.
I love my Sauvignon Blanc. And am happy to pay for the best. Isn’t it far better to get ‘drunk’ on good wine occasionally, than to be permanently drunk on power? This ‘Bai’ is a staunch ‘Mumbai chhi Bai’. And proud to belong to what was once a great city. Today, it is crumbling and collapsing into itself. Because those very leaders who are debating its future, have zero interest in saving Mumbai and creating a truly world class city India can be proud of. Yes, this is a view from South Mumbai. Unapologetically so. It’s a pretty good view. It will be even better when the cops leave. For that will prove there is still room for civilized dissent in an increasingly hate filled, polarized , aggressive city controlled by bullies.
And now… on to the next Page 3 party. I am sure I’ll run into half the Cabinet there. Of course, all those poor chaps will be drinking nimbu paani. Cheers!