It has been a few days since I last wrote. I am feeling old, tired and very bored. I feel as if I am living in some horrible time warp, in a time machine and have regressed. I am confused, like old people are.
First there was a Coronation. The cherubic, dimpled Rahul `Baba’ Gandhi was crowned Prince of India. Please do bear in mind that Saurav Ganguly is only the Prince of Kolkata. Sachin Tendulkar is the God of Cricket. At last we have Vice President in the Congress Party who will lead us into a great future, who will take India as well as Bharat [where women do not get raped] to great heights. Rahul `Baba’ Gandhi, a man who is a mere 42, who has never lived on his own, who has only worked in his family business, is the person who represents young India. Mind you a lot of young India lives in their own homes bought by taking a home loan. Young India works, and works dam hard and generally not in the family business. This, if you ask me, is a serious disconnect, but then who am I to say anything. Once the Coronation was complete we had a sprightly 42 year old Rahul `Baba’ Gandhi inspiring us with a speech that asked several questions. I presume he will provide the answers. Then the fawning started, Congressman after Congressman said how great the Coronation was. I felt old. I am several years older than Rahul `Baba’ Gandhi.
Just as we were recovering from the sheer joy and excesses of the Coronation it was time to celebrate Republic Day. I knew it was Republic Day as the newspapers carried 2-3 full page adverts imploring us to go shopping and enjoy the massive discounts on offer. Unpatriotic, to say the least. We should all stay at home and watch TV.
On the eve of Republic Day we had our very Bengali President Pranabda Mukherjee addressing the Nation. His speech in, I believe English, was unbelievably difficult to understand. His Bengali accent was very very thick. The way he spoke was a throwback to my schooldays. Remember having to make a speech to the class at assembly? Remember reading a poem? That was exactly how it sounded? From what I could decipher the speech was written by someone stuck in some sort of almost Dickensian past? The speech was replete with every cliché you could think of and with his thick Bengali accent phrases like `combating forces of ee-bhil’ [evil] sounded positively hilarious. Do we still have speech writers who write like this? Obviously yes. The whole thing reminded me of school. It made me feel old, very old. It also made me laugh, most unpatriotic. In these days of clear talking leaders like Obama and Cameron this was so out of place.
That evening, the eve of Republic Day, we had to drive into South Bombay for a dinner. We were treated to the wonderful spectacle of the Bandra Worli Sea Link lit up. Obviously the lighting was in the three colours of our National flag. Folks, its 2013, surely there must be some way of lighting up the Bandra Worli Sea Link in some sort of more imaginative way. Some sort of laser display? Nope all that is too new for us, we have to stick with the clichéd, `thakela’ lighting. Old. I felt old.
Next morning was the obligatory Republic Day parade at Delhi. I confess that I have not seen it live. Nowadays I cannot even watch it on TV. It is just so absolutely boring and old. It’s as exciting as watching paint dry. And who was the chief guest? The King of Bhutan!! Yes folks, India, a superpower, a shining economy, the biggest and brightest hope in the Economic world had the King of Bhutan as its chief guest. Bhutan! Are you shitting me!! The revenue of Indian Oil Corporation in USD is 76 billion. The GDP of Bhutan is 1.7 USD billion. Would it not have made more sense to have the Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation as the chief guest? How about Mukesh Ambani at 76 billion USD? How about Ratan Tata of Tata Motors at 34 billion USD? I am sure we all have our prejudices about Mukesh Ambani but Ratan Tata surely he has done no wrong. What a nice present it would have been for him on his retirement, getting to be chief guest at the Republic Day Parade. King of Bhutan??? The same old march past, the same old cavalry, the same old camels, the same old floats the same old dancers, the same old battle tanks rumbling along, the same old flypast, the same old men on motorcycles.
Man, I feel old.