Sunday, November 13, 2011

Get 'Diggy' with it....!

I came back from a whirlwind trip to Amdavad last night. I was there to deliver the keynote address at the National Colloquium for Women Writers, organised by the Sahitya Akademi and the English Department of the University of Gujarat. Twenty writers... and terrific local interest, made for a successful occasion. I was honoured to deliver the address which I had titled : ".... and where do we go from here?" If any of you can provide an answer to that intriguing question, I'll attempt the impossible and write you a poem! Take a crack at it, Blogdosts! Do it in 250 words or so....
Amdavad is such a transformed city, I could have been in Hyderabad! All our cities look alike these days, and I hate the conformity. But at least one thing has not changed in Amdavad - the food! I went to 'Rajwadu', an amazing destination spread over an acre ( the owners grow their own vegetables and fruits and everything is organic) . Ably conceived and run by the portly and popular Manishbhai, the restaurant-cum-cultural centre serves the best Gujju thali I've ever eaten outside a Gujju home. More than that, it honours Gujarati writers and poets in the charming bookstore attached to the restaurant, not just by selling their books but displaying posters featuring quotes from their work. I was delighted to find two of my books (Gujarati editions)on the shelves.
This appeared in the Sunday Times of India today...

The Importance of being Rahul Baba…

“We need Rahul Gandhi to look after all of us,” declared Digvijay Singh without cringing or blushing. Digvijay is 64- years- old.And Rahul, 41 .What exactly was Digvijay Singh thinking when he made that rather astonishing statement? And who is ‘we’? The people of India? The Congress Party? Digvijay Singh’s immediate family? What sort of ‘looking after’ was he referring to? Physical and emotional well-being? Spiritual succour? Political leadership?Who knows? Diggy has spoken! And going by his recent, unchallenged utterings , it is safe to assume he speaks for ‘the family’. And that includes the extended family around Rahul Gandhi.As the officially designated Good Shepherd, Rahul is expected to provide the much needed booster shot to a party that is dithering and struggling to hang together. Too many brains, too much ambition and lots at stake.Plus, the rather grim possibility of a couple of heads ready to roll in the near future. Takleef ki baat hai - no leader, no rudder. Just a good looking, earnest young man trying hard to fit into a role he doesn’t particularly enjoy. It is almost as if all this responsibility is being thrust on the poor chap and he is being force fed on a daily diet of sycophancy to make everything seem better.For all his good manners and charm, Rahul looks and behaves like a well- meaning apprentice working in a PSU. An intern learning the ropes under the critical gaze of a billion people. It’s tough being Rahul Gandhi. But then again, what choice does he have?
If Sonia indeed does slide over to ease sonny boy into her own, highly privileged position, there won’t be a squeak of protest. If that happens and Rahul gets to cut his teeth on steering the shaky party (with a li’l help from mama) to safer ground, will Rahul get promoted to the next level, and have India’s prime ministership thrust on him? Zero resistance guaranteed. Even from those ministers who are spending more time these days on fixing each other than on earning their keep. Better a Rahul, than a rival! Corporate India will be overjoyed as well. Rahul is seen as ‘one of us’, and everybody is comfortable with him. Besides, as business honchos have shrewdly concluded, rather a wet- behind- the ears Rahul, than any of the Maciavellian present lot gunning for the top job. Poor Rahul is no ‘game changer’. But he is a welcome distraction. The media loves him – he is photogenic, young and reasonably articulate. He is no threat to anyone. And it is understood, Rahul can be ‘mananged’ quite effortlessly, if handled right. So far, ‘Team Rahul’ is lying low, perhaps waiting to test the waters before unveiling ‘The Plan for the Prince’. It’s the right strategy.Playing it cool is definitely the way forward, and Rahul’s minders are making sure he doesn’t overstate his case or credentials. For a person who has no real qualifications, has not held a ministerial post, moving to the top of the heap may prove to be a little tougher than envisaged. But throughout history, there have been inexperienced young princes groomed and licked into shape by senior courtiers and family elders. Again, comparing Rahul’s trajectory to his father’s is not fair. Rajiv was plucked out his comfort zone and thrust into a brand new role because of a ghastly personal tragedy. The mood of the nation was gloomy… India was grieving. It’s a different story now. The only grief we know has to do with corruption and poor governance. Is Rahul Gandhi the right person to lead a frontal attack against both? Can he play the Knight in Shining Armour and fix the naughty boys within his own party before tackling the rest? Today’s young Indian is impatient, aggressive and demanding. Deliver or else, is how it works.Rahul Gandhi has to deliver.Dropping in on unsuspecting, poverty stricken villagers to break bhakris with them can only take Rahul this far. If he does indeed take the leap of faith required to lead India as prime minister , he will have to do much better than that. As reality shows go, there can be no better concept than India itself. Today, we have a Sushil Kumar , the toast of the country after winning 5 crores on KBC. Sushil Kumar has The Big B to thank for his luck turning overnight. But The Big G ( Rahul) has it tougher by far. He will have to hold out a comparable promise to an entire generation of hungry Indians waiting to hit the jackpot.
In case Rahul Baba gets stuck, who will bail him – and us – out? Any answers, Diggyji??


Anonymous said...

I agree with the point that he seems least interested in what he is doing. Politics does not seem to be his cup of tea, as far as articulation goes, well so much of politics in genes can certainly make you articulate if not anything else.

It would be interesting to see how nation reacts when this man sits firmly on the chair.

Chintan Gupta

SEPO said...

Eagerly waiting for your review of Rockstar!

Mouthful said...

...where do we go from here?
Well, this is my belief and something allows me to make it with 'firm airs'. As far as literature is concerned, the expulsion of stories from mainland India is going to do the rounds. With more and more writers being inspired from all sort of sources, Shobhaji, the ten years from 12 to 22 will belong to India and its stories. The texture of the language is going to be jumbled and experimented with though if it would be conducive to the taste of continuously passing sagas of writers will be heralded by the 'throats of time'. When the victim himself becomes the writer, equipped with knowledge of his own and a tacit understanding of 'English', he/she won't need the services of a third-party writer to write for his/her plight. Wounds be the their self-lawyers. And when this would start happen, no rule of language would hold true. 'Literature', ebbulient from this flare-up, would fidget for a couple of years but would soon be relaxed. A decade would belong to Indian writing. Verses haven't been alloted the poetry of Indian soil; the tales of land, women, girls have been insufficiently told; the arenas of intellectual ambit were never thundered with gladiator-spirits. So, 'there' is where we are going from now; that is what will be achieved. "Those who had given the tools of English, will now see the best creativity and design ever possible out of their use." "The language will be seduced enough to develop an infatuation with INDIA."

Tsomo85 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tsomo85 said...

Hungry Indian? lol I look at almost all the leaders in India & they all look so unhappy & looks like they didn't get any good meal for ages. Same thing with their journalist friends, complete dust! On twitter, it's all occupied by half Internet Hindus & half secular_silent killers. Haha It's amazing, the noise that they make there. God bless them & India. In an age like this if you want anything to do with INDIA, best is to relay on & enjoy 90s bollywood movies & Madhuri Dixit, rest of the country is depressing. Yuck! No wonder all your Maharastrian people moved here in US. We're lucky to have these good people. Ting

Neha said...

Review of Rockstar plss

Harb said...

Any idea what does this mean, it was trending on Twitter early morning but then removed: "Diggy is a sexy beast" also "Diggy is a sexy beast, mindless behavior is mega fine?"

If not here is my research. I am sure you will find it interesting: Sorry if you do not give the link then of course you can forget:

PS: Somewhere in the post your name also crops up, pl let me know if you have any objection, for then I will remove it.

francislmonteiro said...

We want govt who can serve us like soldiers who lay their lives for their country .Let Rahulji punish the culprits of his own and then others without any disparity .Annaji should bycott all political parties and should fight each and every election by his good ,educated Brigade like Subash Chandra

Farah Beal said...

My Dear Shobhaa,
I religiously read your blog and it is through your blog that I learned through your blog that I learned of the sad passing away of Dev Anand.
I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting him twice to interview him for the newspaper "Current" (whose kind,gracious and princely owner, the late Dr. Ayub Sayyed has also sadly passed away).
The first time I met Dev Anand at his house. He entered the living rook with the famous puff hanging over one side of his forehead and looked half his age.
In the course of the interview he told me that when he had come from Lahore as a young man to seek fame and fortune in Bombay he had slept on the sidewalk for a week.
It reminded me of his son who had recently acted in a film directed by his father.
I told Dev Anand "It is a shame that your son has been born to privilege and has not experienced the grinding reality on the other side of this wall(I pointed to the high wall surrounding his villa).
Dev was very struck by my comment and looked bemused: "You are so right!" he said.
The second time I met dev Anand at the Holiday Inn.
You are so right, Shobhaa, the man was so genuine, so honest, so real, so totally himself!
We shall never see the likes of him again.
He was one of a kind, and will live forever in such motion picture classics as "Taxi Driver" and "The Guide."

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