A hero, a villain and a heroine

Published: July 31, 2009 - 12:11 Updated: July 2, 2015 - 12:54

There's something about Rahul Gandhi. I don't raise my eyebrows a teeny bit when I overhear pretty young things giggling and gushing over him. Normal, natural. But, when older women get into a lather about him too, it makes me ponder.

Remember, the time UP Chief Minister Mayawati used to sneak peeks into his bathroom, ostensibly to check if he was using a special soap after meeting Dalits? Hmm. Very strange, that. Now, we have his sworn political enemy, BJP stalwart Sushma Swaraj, saying terribly flattering things about him as well. While addressing young BJP MPs and members of the party's youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Swaraj said, "Congress flaunts these chocolate faces while our young leaders are not even noticed by the media." Excuse me, chocolate faces? Is the chaste Ms Swaraj hinting that Rahul's charm comes from Axe deo (gasp! She watches ads that promote loose morals), or is it her very own peculiar version of 'chocolate-box hero'? And, in case you're wondering like I did, yes, Rahul's strange cousin (oops, make that 'estranged cousin') Varun was in the room when she made that very statement! I hope the poor chap didn't burst into tears at this slight and complain to his mummy. Come on, it's bad enough that the media brusquely refers to you as 'the fat boy,' but when your own party seniors publicise the fact that your rival is better looking than you are... tsk! Not a happy situation at all. Sorry Varun, but handsome is as handsome does. This may be a tacky cliché, but it's true. I have nothing to offer you but a handkerchief.

Which brings me to the allegedly doctored CD of Varun's alleged hate speech. If you believe that he really said what he is alleged to have said (sorry about the frequent use of the word alleged but I'm trying to cover myself here), you feel nothing but pity for him. He comes across as a pathetically delicate, sensitive little boy. The smallest of things frighten him. All you have to do to make him cry for mummy is to whisper a few innocuous proper nouns like, say, Abdul, for example. If he doesn't get psychiatric help soon, the name Peter will make him whimper and shiver with fear too. Chances are, his bed linen will have to be replaced with cheerful Donald Duck plastic sheets.

I feel sorriest for his mummy though. She has enough on her hands already, writing heart-wrenching letters to the president, the prime minister and sundry other VIPs to provide security for her darling little boy because nasty people who were upset by his hate speech are, apparently, out to get him. Sadly, most tax-paying Indian citizens don't stand by her. Me neither, although I have great respect for the work she's done with animals. Wish she hadn't got so carried away and brought up her son like one as well. People talk. And, what they're saying wistfully these days is, if only his father had set an example for his controversial family planning scheme by not having any children at all. Now, that may have been regarded as a service to the nation.

Finally, on to a more courageous person: Mayawati. I have decided that she's the most refreshing politician in my lifetime, and I love her dearly. I have seen statues of leaders on horses or thrones or standing upright gazing into the horizon, some gallantly wielding staffs or swords, but never ever have I seen a statue carrying a humble ordinary everyday handbag! Diamonds notwithstanding,

Mayawati is a people's person - that's not Louis Vuitton for sure! How does it matter anymore if she doesn't go down in history as an inspiring leader of the downtrodden? She's made her mark with her statues and rest assure future generations of Indians will fondly refer to her as the bag lady and, perhaps, wonder if there weren't better looking handbags in the dim and distant past. How can you not admire her when you consider her foresight? I strongly suspect that the bag was cleverly put in to ensure that pigeons do not mess with her for fear that the statue comes alive and socks them one!


This story is from print issue of HardNews