Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Going Cuckoo

By Rupa Gulab
(Published in Bengal Post, 28th September 2010)

When I think of the current state of the nation, I fall into a deep gloom: There’s Kashmir, Maoists, other terrorists, inflation, poverty, scams, and so much more to moan and groan about, sigh. Which is why I’m so grateful to a couple of politicians who have made me smile over the last few days.

Political analysts don’t often agree with each other, but there seems to be a general consensus when they air their lofty views on Trinamool Congress chief and Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee:
1. She is moody and unpredictable: she changes her mind as often as pop-star Madonna changes her hairstyle.
2. She is a terribly insecure person: her favourite words are “conspiracy” and “sabotage”.
3. She screeches like a banshee.

And now, ever since Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi paid fleeting visits to Kolkata, a fourth trait has come to light: Mamata Banerjee is a poet. An honest to goodness ‘nature’ poet, in the noble tradition of William Wordsworth and other Romantics.
Inspired by her muse (Rahul Gandhi), she has kept me very amused. She hath verily said:

- There are people who come like a koel (cuckoo) before an election and disappear after chirping ‘kuhu kuhu’ once spring is over. (Now imagine if she’d said this in iambic pentameter, what a beautiful poem this may have been?)

- I am not a seasonal flower that is rarely seen. (Sadly, she did not specify which flower, but since Wordsworth has already taken daffodils, I do so hope she chooses something else – a local flower perhaps?)

- I do not do politics from a bed of gold, I do it standing on the ground round the year... holding rallies in the summer heat and the monsoon rain. (Hmm. A bit like the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, you know the, “When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning or in rain,” part.

I’m just ashamed that I hadn’t figured out before where Mamata’s true talent lies. It was so glaringly obvious, really. Put together temperamental, insecure and banshee, and everybody knows that what you get is a gifted poet, not a politician. Another dead giveaway is the fact that Mamata is wildly rebellious and unconventional. She sounded almost like a hip beatnik poet when she defiantly said, “I wear hawai chappals because I like wearing them and not because someone says so.”

I think it’s time for political analysts to bow out and literary critics to start commenting on Mamata’s illustrious career. I’m sure West Bengal’s jittery ruling party would be delighted to encourage Mamata’s true calling. Incidentally, Rahul Gandhi is absolutely certain that Mamata Banerjee wasn’t referring to him because (he firmly says) he does not look like a bird. The prosaic chap just doesn’t get literary allusions, tsk. But this must be said: if Mamata continues to write poetry on him, I’m certain he’ll go cuckoo.


Suresh Kalmadi (chairman of the CWG Organising Committee) had better get Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak as soon as possible or else he’ll have to face the music – not just AR Rahman’s dead boring anthem for the Commonwealth Games, but India’s entire population hurling invectives at him. Do you recall that he promised us that the grand show he’d put up for the Commonwealth Games would make India proud? And that all the Indians who were relentlessly criticizing him for the shoddily put together games were shockingly unpatriotic? Well, the supposedly world-class Commonwealth Games Village was recently unveiled, and New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Ireland have expressed grave misgivings at the horrible mess the accommodation is in. They insist that their contingents be put up in hotels instead. It seems that Kalmadi squandered so much money on the toilet paper (Rs. 4000 a roll, remember?) that he couldn’t afford to hire housekeeping to clean the toilets. Meanwhile a foot over-bridge leading to the Nehru stadium has just collapsed and a false ceiling has caved in. I have a strange feeling that all the foreign teams will run away before the games even begin. I wonder if they’ll make new sprint records on the way to Indira Gandhi International Airport? Okay, I know I really should be crying with shame but I’m rolling on the floor with mirth instead. My friendly neighbourhood psychiatrist has warned me that this is a classic text-book sign of hysteria.

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