Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Other Rahul

By Rupa Gulab
(Published in Bengal Post, 10th August 2010)

I remember BJP leader Pramod Mahajan’s funeral clearly, as though it happened yesterday. It was aired lived on TV and as BJP members were tearfully bidding farewell to the great man who taught them how to make power point presentations (yes, apparently this was his most noteworthy achievement), they were also shrewdly wondering how they could use his tragic and sensational death to their advantage. Serendipity was at work - they discovered the answer at the funeral itself. A stoic Rahul Mahajan performing his father’s last rites was eerily reminiscent of Rahul Gandhi doing likewise when his father was assassinated many years ago. So what if Pramod Mahajan was shot by his own brother in a petty family squabble and not brutally murdered by a suicide bomber? The BJP was absolutely certain that waves of sympathy votes would sink the Congress and immediately drew up grand plans for their new crown prince, Rahul Mahajan.

The BJPs fond dreams went up in smoke soon after, when Rahul Mahajan was discovered deliriously happy on coke (not the innocuous cola – heck, he’s a big boy) on his way to immerse his father’s ashes in the holy Ganges. I must add here that I was terribly worried about the fate of his father’s ashes. Raving Rahul was apparently so far gone, could he have told the difference between two pale powdery substances? It’s quite possible that the fish in the Ganges were tripping the light fantastic for weeks thereafter and listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark side of the moon.

A few years later, Raving Rahul’s first wife walked (sorry, ran) out of the marriage with tell tale bruises. It is rumoured that the poor girl was too frightened to press charges of domestic abuse in case Rahul’s brash political buddies brutally pressed the living breath out of her in retaliation. That’s when the BJP finally gave up and started distancing itself from him. Whew - I must thank them for that from the bottom of my heart.

Raving Rahul, however, lived happily ever after and reinvented himself on a TV freak show where he had a dalliance with a dreaded gangster’s moll among other weirdos. He made such an ass of himself that the media naturally fell madly in love with him. TV channels were so excited, they vied with each other to get the moron on their shows. So Raving Rahul got a freak show of his very own where he was made to choose a bride – imagine, a prize idiot was being given as a prize! To our astonishment, many pretty little Indian girls were urged by their pushy, exploitative middle-class parents to participate in it - despite Raving Rahul’s much publicised notoriety. Girls would have turned up in droves even if the TV producers had been honest and called the show, Who wants to marry an alleged schizophrenic wife-beating drug addict? Sad, isn’t it, how many Indian parents want their daughters to get killed?

As we all know, Raving Rahul chose a comely Bengali lass called Dimpy Ganguly but alas, Dimpy made her great escape a few days ago and coyly lifted her skirt to show the media a few bruises. Then her loving, caring father intervened and ordered her to get right back to her alleged schizophrenic wife-beating drug addict husband. What’s he waiting for – Raving Rahul to murder his daughter first before he contemplates the idea of divorce? With fathers like these, who needs sadists.

The TV channel that produced Raving Rahul’s wedding show must be over the moon with joy. They’re hunting for a new freak to do a swayamvar this season, and if Dimpy goes against her loving, caring father’s wishes and bravely divorces Raving Rahul, they can use him again, and perhaps every season thereafter, seeing how often his wives run away screaming. I even have an appropriate title in mind: Who wants to be Rahul Mahajan’s next victim?

My plea to all General Entertainment TV channels, however, is please may we have a little integrity? If you must use Raving Rahul, create fabulous shows with leading psychiatrists and rehab councillors as contestants. I have some concepts to toss at you: Who can reform a nasty wife-beater? Or, Who can rehabilitate a crazy coke-head? Now, those are the sort of freak shows I would definitely watch with great satisfaction and buckets of popcorn!

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