Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cry, the beloved country

By Rupa Gulab
(Published in Bengal post, 5th October 2010)

Not all of us are as fortunate as senior Congress leader Manishankar Aiyar aka Suresh Kalmadi’s bĂȘte noire. Aiyar has cheerfully announced that he’s “getting the hell out of the country” before the Commonwealth Games begin. I assume he’ll be going in disguise as an Arab sheikh perhaps, to cleverly conceal his Indian identity. It’s not nice to go abroad and have the natives sniggering at you.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are thinking of creative ways to punish Kalmadi for making us look like a third-world nation – mainly because we are dead certain that Kalmadi will never be brought to justice. The wily old Congress party loyalist has been given enough time (he already has the money and resources) to destroy all evidence of corruption. Perhaps that’s why he says with so much conviction, “Hang me if you find me guilty.”

Hopefully every unimaginative school teacher’s favourite essay subjects (1. What I did on my summer/diwali/winter holidays, 2. My cow, 3. The elephant is a wondrous animal) will be replaced by a lively ‘What should we do to make Suresh Kalmadi cry like a baby?’ Children come up with the most marvellous out-of-the-box solutions.

However, there is one thing we must acknowledge and appreciate while we’re passionately flinging shoes at the TV screen every time Kalmadi shows up: The exercise is good for our arm muscles – our biceps and triceps may never sag. Seriously though, the shoddy organisation of the CWG games has thrown up valuable lessons that every Indian would do well to remember:

1. Pakistan is not India’s Enemy No. 1 – this title belongs to our inept politicians.

2. When working on a project always keep in mind that the execution must be as good as the idea. By which I’m definitely not implying that Kalmadi should have a grand execution ceremony, inaugurated jointly (after acrimonious TV debates) by India’s President Pratibha Patil and Britain’s Prince Charles. I would much rather have him alive and squirming like the rest of us are right now.

3. Corruption can be forgiven and forgotten – only if the corrupt deliver!

4. Money can’t buy you class. Approx. 70,000 crore has been squandered on the games (and still counting – remember, housekeeping hasn’t been accounted for yet). At the end of which we look third-world (I’m never going to get over this, sigh).

5. Always double-check every little detail no matter how tedious it may be. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh has just discovered that the elephant featured in an Incredible India ad is African and not an Indian tusker! Fortunately, heads are rolling for a change.

6. It is much healthier to spend time outdoors – ceilings fall.

7. Never hire Sports Minister MS Gill to organise a wedding in your family. Never! Not even a child’s birthday party.

8. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit is the ideal person to endorse anti-anxiety pills. Bridges may collapse, ceilings may fall yet she continues to smile sweetly, warmly assuring us that there’s nothing to worry about. What is she on?

9. The next time India dares to host another sporting event, we should not just sell broadcast rights to news channels – channels like National Geographic and Animal Planet should be part of the media package as well. Thus far, we’ve seen Great Indian Mongrels frolicking on beds, a snake in the residential village and a cobra in a stadium. Pretty impressive, huh? And it’s getting much better: Langoors have been hired to chase smaller monkeys away from the stadiums (incidentally, these small monkeys are the ones that bureaucrats depend on to eat and destroy vitally important government files, which is why the poor things can never be given a holiday). Anyway, I’m certain that other species of Indian wildlife will find a way in. Rest assured that if sportsmen won’t go to Corbett National Park, Corbett National Park will have to go to sportsmen. We are Jungle Book country, after all!

10. When you spend the night in a government rest house, place a feather on your guest bed to test its strength. It could save your life.

These are lessons we must never ever forget. So, let’s give the devil his due and put up statues of Suresh Kalmadi across the length and breadth of India. I think it would be appropriate to let pigeons do to him what he has done to India’s image.

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