Skip to main content

Sheraton Maurya Krishna and Shashi T’aj’haroor

The saga of the new-age Krishna/Balaram pair is truly curious. In the age of mythologies, Balaram used to be the elder of the brothers, but now it’s Krishna who is playing elder brother to Balaram, a.k.a. Shashi.

The Full-bright Krishna is normally used to all the ‘amenities’ and creature comforts of his heavenly abode, so naturally he found his ‘respective’ State Bhavan not quite up to the mark — quite understandably.

Also, in his new role as India’s official globetrotter, he must be used to diverse locales and cuisines and peoples, etc. So, may be he was just choosing to stay in a place that has been home to many a world leaders including Bill Clinton and myriad others. Surely, that is part of his job-brief. This way, he could continue to sample a lot of ‘global’ offerings without burdening the meager taxpayer-funded resources of the Government of India with endless jaunts abroad.
But, alas politics is a strange profession and though sometimes it might seem that the game is bereft of any rules whatsoever, politicians discover to their chagrin at times that there are some rules that you can’t ignore. Even Madame Gandhi — from the land of pizzas and Milan fashion — has made the humble Indian sari her uniform.

So, the message to be learnt for future ministers: even if you are rich enough to be able to make it to a State-level 100 Richest People list, you have to maintain a pretense of poverty if you are a Minister of the Government of India.

This reminds me of a former Vice President of India — and a self-proclaimed Gandhian at that to boot — who renovated his official VP residence in New Delhi by spending a few crores of rupees out of his own pocket. Now, that might offer a possible solution to the vexing issue of Govt. issue Type VIII bungalows in New Delhi’s Lutyen’s Zone not being quite up to the mark by the exacting standards of the latter-day avatar of a once playful (and once youthful) God.

Meanwhile, his younger colleague — obviously inspired by his elder brother and minister — also took up residence in what is probably not luxurious accommodation for him but rather utilitarian … consider that this former globetrotter has been a United Nations mandarin for long and as such a long time resident of that throbbing heart of global living, New York City.

T’aj’haroor has even been a celebrated author — including of a rather mythically named book ‘The Great Indian Novel’ — himself and that might be the secret of his ‘personal’ wealth.

Again, the young MP discovered much to his chagrin that politics does have its shortcomings. You can’t operate in a bubble of sanitized cleanliness if you wish to be a politician in India. India is this messy, dirty, unorganized, unpredictable, illiterate, mythology-prone, God-crazy, cow-worshipping ancient land and a dapper, handsome, smart, educated, rational author/global diplomat is not going to be able to change that.

So, Krishna’s younger cousin has learnt some early and useful lessons from the old and wily Pranabda who has prospered so prodigiously by being such a longtime devoted servant at the court of the Almighty.

If you want to be a politician in India, you have to be able to take the grime with the grease paint, be able to maintain a wide grin when you’re surrounded by smelly cows and smellier cow dung — or, learn your lessons from the ‘master’ himself who is nowadays no longer running his fiefdom in Rail Bhawan.

Perhaps, both the ministers thought they could escape to the barricaded seclusions of multi-storied glass and concrete structures and thereby manage to avoid the hordes and throngs of inevitable hangers-on from the ‘heartland.’ But you can’t be an MP and choose to shut out the very people you claim to represent.

And the common folk of India would rather meet their representatives in the tree-lined environs of Ashoka Road/Akbar Road/Janpath/Shahjahan Road rather than the air-conditioned artificiality of exclusive hotels.

The open-air nature of the places where ministers of the Government of India live has its advantages. To detail just one — if you’re waiting for rather a long while to have a ‘darshan’ of your representative and nature calls, you can always use the next available tree or wall to answer it. The hoi polloi find the sanitized environs of a ‘washroom’ with fancy fittings rather forbidding which might in fact create unforeseen problems … such as stopping or preventing the flow.

And so, the junior minister also learns some important lessons … that appearances do matter, that gray hairs do matter, that longevity matters, at least in Indian politics and in the Indian psyche.


Popular posts from this blog

Sarah Kay's poem from TED

If I should have a daughter, instead of mom, she's going to call me Point B,

because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way  to me.
And I am going to paint the Solar Systems on the backs of her hands, so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say 'Oh, I know that like the back of my hand'
And she's going to learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up, just so we can kick you in the stomach but getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

Edward Snowden

This seems to me to be the defining journalism-whistle-blower story of this generation. It's rare in today's world when privileged people voluntarily choose to take steps whereby they give up comfortable lives to do something that is in the 'public good.' Mr. Snowden was clearly a computer whiz which explains why he got jobs at the CIA (including postings in Geneva under diplomatic cover). Booz Allen obviously did not hire him or pay him the $1,20,000 salary without Mr. Snowden showcasing some considerable technical expertise. I believe Mr. Snowden's expertise probably lies in having deep expertise in various flavors of Linux. That is what I am inclined to infer from his various job roles as a 'Systems Engineer' or 'System Administrator.' Being the self-driven sort of person that he was, I am sure he must be having good knowledge about networking and encryption stuff including but not limited to Cisco routers and related technologies. To put these t…

Top 10 Crazy Facts About India

Here's a random list of things. 1.Indians sometimes prefer to abort a fetus if they find out that it's female. (Or they just kill the new born baby after it's born.) 2.There are more than 20 million babies born in India. EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. 3.Child labor is so commonplace in India that few notice it or consider it out of the ordinary. Kids work as waiters or dishwashers in roadside restaurants. Sometimes, kids ferry tea to the local police station from a nearby roadside tea stall. 4.Massive numbers of kids and younger and adult women are employed as maids in middle class to rich households. Middle class houses might pay 200 rupees to a female who comes and washes the dishes. Rich houses might employ women permanently by paying them more. 5.Cars in the Indian cities are washed in the morning by car-washers who tend to be young men who get paid around 100 to 200 rupees per month for this service. 6.India is home to some crazily competitive exams. The IIT JEE and the IIM CAT have …