Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Two divorces & much laughter

ANGST IN MY PANTS

(Published in Hardnews, October 2012)


I’m hugely glad that TMC chief Mamata Banerjee has parted ways with UPA 2 – though I must confess that I secretly believe they are the ones who eased her out of the alliance in their smooth ‘Ve haf our vays’ style! Theirs was a marriage made in hell, with Mamata Banerjee imperiously behaving as though she were Prime Minister of India instead of Chief Minister of West Bengal. I resent her for trying to foist her populist policies on the nation at large – hey, the rest of us didn’t vote for her, why should we be punished cruelly?

Mamatadi, as usual, is spewing fire and brimstone, hitting the Congress party below the belt and raising her standard war cries: “conspiracy,” “phone-tapping’ et cetera. Soon she’ll graduate to her favourite insult, calling them “maoists!” Yes, I know what you’re thinking, under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh they’re capitalists, not even socialists, but remember that Mamatadi doesn’t really know the difference. Anyone who doesn’t agree with her point of view or dares to question her is a maoist. And who can try to reason with a chief minister who thinks dengue is caused by dieting?

As a result of Mamatadi’s impulsive actions, that much coveted rescue/relief package for West Bengal is not coming anytime soon, sigh. But I urge the people of Kolkata to take heart. T-shirt manufacturers may be able to fill the empty coffers of West Bengal – but only if they keep their target audience clearly in mind. I have identified two:
Kolkata’s Intelligentsia: A fair number of people who voted for Mamata Banerjee hoping for change are seething with rage at her autocratic behavior and regressive policies. They’re madder at themselves though, for squandering their precious votes on her. Help them vent with the following t-shirts: “Forgive me, I voted for Mamata” for the older, more genteel voters, and “Kick me, I voted for Mamata” for the younger lot. Trust me, they’ll sell like hot-cakes! Pity they’ll have to furtively wear those t-shirts under their clothes or else they’ll probably be arrested on some false charge, but don’t let that stop you. Hey, they still want them!

Members of the TMC: Would you decorate your office cabin or your living room/bedroom with a photograph of your boss? After you stop gagging, read on. Most of the TMC party members do that. In TV interviews and debates, their “Beloved Leader’s” photo/painting is strategically placed behind them. This includes Amit Mitra as well, gasp! How about making t-shirts for them with Mamata’s mug shot and the message: “We swear fealty to our beloved leader”? She’ll love it and they’ll stay in favour.

And now on to the second painful divorce that has left a grown man sobbing. Yes, I’m talking about ‘India against Corruption’ leader Arvind Kejriwal. His mascot, Anna Hazare, has deserted him, refusing to support Kejriwal’s desire to float a political party. He has also made it clear that Kejriwal cannot use his name or photograph to promote his party. Bravely blinking back his tears, Kejriwal mournfully announced that he would always carry Anna Hazare’s photograph in his heart.

This parting has left the entire nation gobsmacked. Heck, we had absolutely no idea that Arvind Kejriwal had a heart! How come TV channels didn’t carry news of a transplant, is what the nation really wants to know! Meanwhile, we’re still watching agog as the drama unfolds. There’s bound to be a bitter custody battle over their joint movement, ‘India against Corruption’, and it may be as thrilling as ‘Jaws’ – that gory movie about multiple shark attacks. Skeletons have already started tumbling out of closets: there’s a strong rumour that Anna Hazare has the backing of the RSS (I take great pleasure in pointing out that this magazine has always maintained that) and that the BJP has promised to make Kiran Bedi Chief Minister of Delhi if they come to power. Oooh, you have absolutely no idea how lovely it feels to say, “We told you so”!

However, the thing that bothers me most is, what is Kejriwal going to do with the truckloads of “I am Anna” caps and t-shirts he has in his possession? I mean, he can run a pen through Anna’s name on the t-shirts and replace it with ‘Kejriwal’ if he wishes, but then no one would buy them apart from his mum.