Why is my country in such a state of confused mess these days? No, honestly! I’ve often been called confused and lost by more enlightened amongst my friends, but I pale in comparison to the venerable men and women who are in charge of running the mammoth (and the metaphor is for size, not extinct value) that is Indian democracy.
Let’s take a look at the events that have been making headlines in the past month.
Kaun Banega Rashtrapathi (oh I love lame lines)
All segments in the political streets must be collectively berating the day they came up with the brilliant idea of pushing Kalam for the President. The man who showed the promise of being the poster boy for the secular happy family of Indian politics, turned out to the Prodigal son who never returned. He made himself shamelessly popular as the People’s President, won everyone’s heart (except for the politicians, who dragged him to The Big Bhavan in the first place) with his ready smile and wannabe curly locks. He poked his nose in their decisions, brought the much forgotten, and “eminently avoidable” (that’s what some news paper called it) issue of the Office of Profit debacle to the forefront, generally cared to be a little more than the proverbial “rubberstamp”, while forcing them to pull their acts together.
So when the talk can of re-election started, the political brotherhood forgot their differences and said a unanimous “Nought!”. That did in a common bee in their collective bonnets, but it posed the next problem—choosing the next candidate. Everybody who was somebody had his name being thrown in for the race—from The Big Bee Bachchan to Big Mentor Murthy. Bachchan mercifully saw the ridiculousness in the situation and refused even before they could offer. The county turned to Mr. Narayan Murthy to be Bharath’s First Bacha. But just as things were looking promising, he went and proclaimed in full media view that he found singing the national anthem embarrassing. (this of course is the classic example of media misquoting the innocent celebrity—what he actually said that they played the instrumental version of the anthem, instead of singing it in Infy in a ceremony that welcomed President Kalam because they “had a number of foreign delegates in the gathering, and it might have embarrassed them while we sing the anthem”. Of course this statement makes no sense whatsoever, so I guess the media’s twist at least made for juicy news watch).
Anyways, just about a week after the current Mr. President proclaimed that Mr. Murthy would make a wonderful Next Mr. President, the “corporate leader with a good heart and a golden vision” had his fall from grace, as the media gleefully pumped holes into his hitherto impeccable image. Suddenly he became the man who “shows his ignorance of India's caste struggle and its background” for his views on reservation, his views on Indian languages “lacked self-respect and pride” and “his corporate philosophy allowed no space for healthy cultural pride”. Having burnt their fingers once with a non-politician, the county’s elected rulers decided to play it safe—they could hardly go after a man who had such prideless views, when all we Indians collectively puff up our chest at the sound of the national anthem. So after some star struck followers of Murthy indignantly proclaimed that the whole “national anthem” issue was blown out of proportion, we just decided to put that chapter behind us, and move on.
It was then the mad race to choose the Next Indian Political Idol (to be sure, the President is really just expected to stay put and be worshipped as the democratic God). And all parties left no stoned unturned to look at all the ageing candidates who were in the trishakhu stage of pretty much not doing anything (okay, so if we agree to make you the President, will you please get off our face?) Karan Singh? AB Vajpayee? Bhairon Singh Shekhawat? Sushil Kumar Shinde? Or can we just quickly check if Pranab Mukherjee will like being the President better than being External Affaires Man? Or if Somnath Chatterjee got bored of being the Speaker? The Left considered name dropping to be beneath themselves so they came up with “job requirements” for the profile: the candidate should have “secular credentials, experience in public life and Parliament and one who could ensure balance between the judiciary, Parliament and the executive.” Just add water, and your President is now ready to be served!
The Presidential elections are less than a week away, and it seems it’s our very own Home Minister, who has agreed to be disposed off. It has been a tough battle folks. The super intelligent posh IT guy from Bangalore wanted His Mentor to be P, and Paaji from Patiyala and Munnu from Mumbai along with Amar Singh and Anil Ambani, wanted Bachchansaahab to be P, BJP wanted the VP to be P, Congress wanted EFM or HM to be P, Left wanted a miracle to be P, and my friendly neighbourhood doodhwala wanted his angreji speaking son-in-law to be P. If you have a candidate to be the first servant of India, don’t be disheartened, one week is seven days. As Udhay Chopra famously proclaimed in a very forgettable movie, “Saath din mein yeh duniya saath baar ghoom jati hai”, you never know.
The Indian Idol, Part 2, Meets The Great Indian Comedy Show
I’m referring, of course to the long drawn, nail biting, extra large bucket of butter popcorn demanding selection of the great Indian Scapegoat, a.k.a, The Indian Cricket Coach. The BCCI had decided that it had enough with the players getting so much attention for being Gods, and they feeling all left out like the 12th player. It also had enough with coaches who made presentation on their laptops on how BCCI sucked and decided that the next coach should be the epitome of cricketing brilliance, someone who can handle tantrums of players, and politics of selectors, and be the darling of the media, drop charmingly funny, and brilliantly lickass soundbites about how the boys tried real hard, and how it was just bad weather and lack of addidas shoes that lost the match, and how the BCCI was the best thing that happened to him. Of course he should be able to handle the occasional slap that came hurtling out of the bubbling blue billion.
After going around the world in little more than eighty days, the BCCI cracked the difficult task of finding Bharath ka Cricketing Dronacharya, who would make the Aussies cut their little finger and present him as Gurudakshina, so that his Indian Arjuns face no real competition. Ladies and Gentlemen, please make way fooooorrrrrr…Graham Ford. And in walks the suave and soft-spoken Ford to replace the nasty Chap.
But what do we hear now? Soft spoken Ford, turns sneaky little Ford, and delivers one tight slap right across the BCCI’s face, and says, he’s really happy with his cosy little job with the Kent, thank you very much. Ladies and Gentlemen, at this juncture, we pause for the shocked silence reaction…………………………………….
And the pandemonium breaks loose again! How will be the next? Ford said no. Embury said no. Ravi Shastri said no. Sunil Gavaskar said no. Er…can we just pretend to throw out Dada again, and then offer him a comeback as Coach? Or now that Sehwag is not playing, he can step in?
Our cricket team has been getting more than its due of flak after the dismal performance since the World Cup (the 1983 one I mean). Yeah so they didn’t do all that well in the World Cup (again), in fact they were quite bad, in fact they lost to Bangladesh (haawwwww!), but then they did beat Bangladesh in their own soil you know (serves them right too! I mean, that will teach them not to mess with the bestesht Westside clothed, Pepsi drinking, Sahara flying, Videocon watching, Nike sporting team in the whoooo-oo-ool world, ha!). Does not mean that they be treated like kids who were denied TV because they flunked in their high school exam! Good that bad bad BCCI got its due of tight slaps to. But question still remains, who will be the next slapgoat?
So there. The next person who calls me confused in life will get a sixer hit right on his/her face. Hrrrummmpph!