Er, is that an err in Rahul Gandhi's earnestness?

In which I digress, like RaGa did in frankly speaking with Arnab Goswami

shantanu

Shantanu Datta | January 28, 2014



Dear Rahul,
 
I saw your interview last night, as I am sure the whole nation, or, may be, the 10 or so percent of it that understands English did. Not that I understand English much – I mean I still go around confusing between Ernest, earnest and Ernst – but like you I believe in Salman Khan: ek baar maine jo commitment kar di, phir main apne aap ki bhi nehin sunta. Lovely, eh? Sallu-bhai in full flow.

Oh, I digress – much like you, if I may add with the tongue behind my puffed up cheeks! Anyway, as I was saying, like you had made a commitment to do the interview and not be swayed or dissuaded, never mind the facts or the lack of knowledge/comprehension of it, I, too, had made a commitment. That I would watch the interview, come what may – never mind the lack of comprehension to grasp what you were trying to say.
I think I now understand why it’s tough to be a politician; I also understand why Hindi films have not evolved from Nirupa Roy’s days. Like Ms Roy, the mother to many a good, bad and horrible sons on screen who went on to achieve bigger things in a badder, sorry worse-off, Bollywood, the screen has changed only that much – from sepia-tinted (alleged) Technicolor to soft-focus Technicolor. But the answer to the question in mother-son interactions has not changed much (Q: Bada hokar kya banoge, beta? A: Police inspector, said Shashi Kapoor/says Salman Khan).

No one, alas, says neta, let alone Netaji, for which there is only one claimant and one aspirant in Uttar Pradesh. That might precisely be why it’s so difficult to be a politician today, especially one who is earnest like only a Pappu (as some jealous people have dubbed you on social media, but let them baddies not concern you, Rahul) can be.

My takeaway from your 90-minute interview was much beyond the take-away joints that have come up in my neighbourhood. Imagine (and take this), my wife even refused to get home anything from one of those eateries last night lest she misses your interview! Your answers were like Amar and Prem in Andaz Apna Apna: unka do-do sawal, mera ek hi jawab, do-do sawal, ek hi jawab, sawal jawab, sawal jawab... chup, lambi khamoshi.

What? Oh, did I misquote the film? Of course not, the crackpots played by Aamir and Salman relayed it wrong: unka ek ek sawal, humare do do jawab...

But you stuck to your point, didn’t you, Rahul? Whatever be the question, the answer came back to getting more youth, more women, more energy into the system. I so completely agree with that. After all, like you, I am a woman’s man myself – mamma’s boy, turned wife’s man and now daughter’s man! I know all about empowered women – and how seriously better this world can be if you let 50 percent of the country’s population stand and correct the course.

But, between you and me, your stress on “energy” left me a little zapped. Tell you what, I hate Bournvita, and I also hate the sight of Parle-G biscuits, now that some troll took the trouble of Photoshop-ing it with your face and calling it Pappu-G. So how are we going to enjoy this synergy with energy, unless of course you have some escape velocity route charted out and are not ready to share it as yet for fear of the idea being lifted?

I also like your idea of stressing on ideas. India is an idea, as you said the other day. We are not allying with individuals but with an idea, as you said yesterday. I am sure Lalu Yadav has a bagful of ideas that he has patented, registered, gotten trademarked and stored away in some bank vault. Of course you meant the Congress party would ally with that idea, and not Lalu himself. That would be the right ally, and the right alignment.

I also liked the fact that you think so much of manufacturing. Trust me, if you can spend Rs 500 crore, or whatever the cheque your party allegedly wrote for that advertising agency, to manufacture your image and your idea, you can of course manufacture nuts and bolts. Mostly nuts as the rest would bolt, as the sceptics would say, but never mind them, I tell you.

Overall, I think through the interview you told the nation that you think you have a way – if not with words, then at least with deep pauses during interviews. And I am sure you were trying to tell India that your way lies next to the highway, and that it’s either wayward or has gone haywire. Either way, I understand and empathise with you and your ways.
 
Thanks and cheers,
A Ceiling Fan

 

 

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