Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Big " O" - Optimistic India!

This picture was taken at the Flamenco- Gypsies Festival. 3 days of magic under the stars!
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This appeared in Asian Age...
                               The Big ‘O’….
Okay, here’s a chhotasa clarification for the innocents and prudes out there who are reading this: Bluntly put, the Big ‘O’ stands for  ‘Orgasm’. And unlike Diego Maradona who gushed, “ To beat Brazil in the final, in their own country, would be an orgasm’, this column is not about football. And the Big ‘O’ here stands for Optimism.  Desi optimism.There’s just no getting away from that blessed word these days. India is on a high. And every uncle one meets socially is busy dancing a jig and talking in rapturous terms about  this khaas optimism.Of course, the new, elevated mood has to do with the new government. Narendra Modi is here! And he will be leading the country out of a decade of darkness. Ironically, of course, soon after the Modi sarkar said, ‘Let there be light’, the power failed in Delhi! Never mind the depressing start to a century of  dazzle, poor Piyush Goyal was forced to go into instant damage control mode and resort to the oldest trick in the book – a trick that had been mastered by the Congresswallas – passing the buck. While Delhi cursed and sweltered in temperatures that would have been murderous even without the power cut, BJP  Netas assured agitators  they would fix the problem in two weeks, after pointing out it was all the fault of that wretched storm which brought down a couple of towers. But mainly it was the fault of the wretched UPA government. Granted, Piyush was not too far off the mark there, but one hopes buck passing is not going to become a regular feature of the new government. For, don’t forget, the key word to keep throwing around these days is ‘OPTIMISM’. And optimistic people don’t blame others. They tackle problems head on themselves.
At one of those dreary diplomatic functions ( warm wine, smelly suits, lousy food and fake conversations), three fellows walked up to ask whether I was also feeling – you’ve guessed it – optimistic.Never mind my answer! Later, at an informal dinner, close friends kept knocking back Camparis and saying how ‘optimistic’ they were feeling. At my favourite Bhaji (vegetable) gulley in Colaba, the mood was equally optimistic. The vendor selling lichees ( not the tainted ones from Kolkata, he kept assuring me), also told me about his optimism. My regular silversmith ( Gujarati) offered me a plate of dhokla with oversweet tea saying he was optimistic business would look up soon. A fancy educationist who runs a successful  commerce college, squeezed my hand warmly and cooed, “ I am so optimistic… my students are so optimistic… the young in India are so optimistic.” Great! Happy for you, honey! But why does nobody want to specify what he/she is so optimistic about!
With so much optimism going around, is there any space left for a teensy-weensy reality check? Is that even allowed? These days, it’s better to ask in advance what’s allowed and what isn’t . I mentioned this to one of India’s most successful industrialists, and he looked miffed. “ This is the time reserved for optimism.  Only optimism. We have to remain optimistic and focus on development. Look at the Sensex. Look at what’s happening across the board.” At another gathering of  ‘those who matter’, a few business people shuffled off when they sensed a slight dip in the optimism levels of our small group. Someone said, “No cynicism,please. India is rising….” Mild applause greeted this remark. “ Overall development is the need of the hour. We must remain optimistic,” an earnest aunty commented. Suddenly, I felt like we were all a part of Salvador Dali’s world. Or participating in the 21st century adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. To me, this kind of optimism is scary. I mention this as a response to a long letter I received from a gentleman who wanted  me to take back my words ‘for the sake of optimism… the young in India need optimism.”  His unsolicited advice was polite but somewhat menacing.
It’s come to a point I gag each time I hear the word ‘optimism’.  I want to shout, Hello! I  AM an optimist, okay? Have always been one. If I choose to articulate what I am observing / feeling / thinking / living…  does that make me less optimistic? Or more?? I would say more. For, I am optimistic enough to believe we still live in a vibrant, free environment that respects all kinds of divergent viewpoints and opinions. Am I wrong in thinking that? Am I the only one living under the false illusion that free speech is still a deeply cherished attribute? Or that democracy will protect individuals who don’t always conform to the diktats of  the majority in power? The simple answer is ‘Yes’. I do believe India values my freedoms as it does the freedoms of all its citizens.  I would say, this non-negotiable position makes me the ultimate optimist.  Perhaps, it’s time to redefine the true meaning of optimism. As of now, there is just one interpretation, one version. I wouldn’t call that optimism at all. A better description for this all-pervasive emotion which is dominating our lives right now is wish fulfillment. A billion plus wishes are posted on a long, long list. Even if a fraction of those wishes are granted, then perhaps we can truly go from being a not-so-Incredible India to a euphoric Optimistic India!
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12 comments:

Latha said...

Indeed shobhaa there is a lot of optimism & rightly so. First of all the CON party is thrown out lock stock & barrel in a humiliating defeat (there is nobody to sit in the opposition !). Second of all we do have a govt which goes full blast in modernising & developing (I know this word is oft repeated) this country which was almost killed by the CON party. Madhu Kishwar says Modi is a workaholic, patriotic, Gujrat is vibrant. I believe in all that. But nobody is perfect. Nobody is God. The IB's attack on Greenpeace & the total lack of an environment ministry baffle me. I had written a comment in TOI, which reds..."Yes. I agree that there may be NGOs getting money from foreign nations to stop our development like the koodamkulam project. But there are also genuine cases which have to be addressed. We cannot paint all NGOs with the same tar. We should separate the chaff from the wheat & pay heed to the genuine ones to avoid another Bhopal or Chernobyl. How do they manage in advanced countries ? They pay heed to the environmentalists, take the necessary steps to provide land for the dispossessed, & do everything to save the environment from disasters. I think we should learn from them". And TOI refused to publish it saying, "You can't post this comment as it contains inappropriate content.". What kind of yardstick do they have ? What inappropriate content ?

V said...

Bluntly put.. O! This lady is looking hot.. Hotter than Delhi's Heat!!

Haddock said...

That is a coincidence because three guys in our sabji mandi said that "ache din aane wala hai" I thought to myself "tere muh mei ghee shakkar"
And I think what you said is very true - These days, it’s better to ask in advance what’s allowed and what isn’t.

Syd Acid said...

Dear Ms Shobhaa,
The Big 'O'??? Oh My Lord!!! First the definition, then you're definition, followed by a series of your nomatophobic encounters. Why??? How is this informing me or entertaining me? And too much of the Big O makes You wanna gag? Really honey? You wanna be that obvious?? I don't really see the ingemination of the Big 'O' adding even feculance to a fellacious moment... and with so much optimism going around, is there any space left for a reality check? Is that allowed or are you allowed to spew anything since it's You articulatinge??? evs
Always,
Vineeth
Ps-Yr article lay waste a perfect Sunday Morning Joint!!!!!!!!

Pooja Rathore said...

I liked your take on Priety Zinta.i have always admired Priety as one of the dignified actress,its sad whatever happened but as u said u need guts to do what she did and there will be consequences then what should a woman do if she is abused shut up or stand up,stand up is the right choice,I support priety ,no man no matter what his position or power should not believe that he can behave as he wants and get out of it.About India not being kind to woman who stand up is an ugly fact,whatever if u abuse u got to pay for it...hope justice is done.
As for u De I liked that u stood for right and via foresight predicted consequences yet I feel u should do what is right thing to do.

Hackdeals Gurgaon said...

Great Story from Orgasm to Optimism. Both are reciprocal to each other. And then be optimistic to checkout http://www.hackdeals.com, because it can save you lot of money when you do shopping there.

Divya Virmani said...

Well put! Even people in my surroundings are going ga ga over Modi's win...assuming things will automatically fall in place because Modi took charge.
Will Modi actually walk the talk?? Only time will tell...

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