Friday, July 29, 2011

It was a tiring, uneventful day. What else would one call a day whose only high point was the incessant rain that lashed my part of the city and flooded my street? To make things worse, I was feeling a little blue and lonely in a city i was new to, and had very few whom i could call friends. Little did I know, that somewhere not far away from me in the same city, there was a girl who was also lonely and feeling blue, looking for some company to ward away tears.

It was still drizzling as I left office. I decided to board the bus and take a ticket to the last stop. A blank mind, destination unknown purpose undecided, all I knew was that it wasn't the PG that I had wanted to go back to. I got down on the signal a few lanes away from home and started walking back. A few hundred steps later, as I puddled my way to glory on a wet Bangalore road, I heard a voice.

"Excuse me!" she said. I looked up from the road, startled in parts, and instantly happy to see a smiling angelic face. Did i know her? Was she some friend's friend I met but have not bothered to remember the name of? How idiotic of me to have not placed a name to THAT face?

"Excuse me, you don't know me, and neither do I know you. Am bored and with nothing to do this evening. Kinda low on spirits to boot. Would you mind having a cup of coffee with me now?"

WHAT??? Was i dreaming? Is this some Radio/Bindaas TV prank? MTV Bakra died a decent death ages ago right?

Oblivious to my train of thought on an overdrive, she continued, "look I know its odd, and understand if you don;t want to. Yet, let me be clear, am not some hooker, have an IT job and from a decent background. Am just looking for a NSA cup of coffee. Game?"

YES!! Not that loud, but yes is what i said.

We worked some ground rules, no phone numbers exchanged, no personal details asked, no hanky panky business from either side, and we were good to go.

We walked to the cafe near by. She was a stunner not in the usual sense. She loved Theater, she loved movies. Amir was not a pretentious attention grabber for her too. And yes, Strawberries sucked , we both conquered. Her silken brown hair flirted with her kohl lined eyes, even as her slender fingers adjusted the hem of her shirt. Was this a dream, I pinched myself. No awkward silences, no ice breakers needed. No conversation starters and yet we got chatty in a jiffy. This coffee rendezvous was destined to happen.

We chatted dime to a dozen, about 6 cups of coffee down and some four odd hours after, we parted ways.

"It was a lovely evening" she said. TELL ME ABOUT IT i said, in my mind. she started her scooty, and sped.

I stood there for a moment, gathering myself, as a faintly heard question escaped my lips, "would we meet again?"

Would we? Will my anonymous cup of coffee find a name to it?

Friday, July 08, 2011

It is easy to miss the point when watching a tv debate on a news channel. More often than not, it is a few old hags settling personal scores on national television. Something similar happened this week. I was watching Barkha Dutt hold Dayanidhi Maran to a media trial on her show in the name of analyzing news.

While the panel was deliberating if Maran should resign from the ministerial post in light of the 2G scam allegations (or otherwise), a curious point came out, which none seem to have found worth discussing. Should a public figure not remit office when faced with charges of misconduct of any nature? Is holding a post more important, almost the sole aim, of public life?

Two sitting cabinet ministers accused in the 2G scam, and both refrain to resign till push came to shove in an exemplary display of how our politicians cling to power come what may. There are two facets to this dilemma.

The Indian law sees every accused as innocent until proven guilty. So until a verdict is delivered, an accused is free under the law to continue with life, in every manner that does not affect the case’s outcome. Fair and just, as always. However, where does this leave moral propriety and ethics?

Imagine a bank cashier being accused of swindling depositor’s money. Do we let him continue his job at the teller counter till the case drags on in a court? Do we retain faith in the cashier’s neutrality and honesty while an allegation of theft is being thrown at him? Is the cashier not suspended only to be reinstated pending investigation and clearing his name?

So then how different is a politician? Ideally, the Prime Minister should suspend his minister, only to be brought back into the cabinet post clearing of his name. When this doesn’t happen, as is always the case with the current disposition at New Delhi, isn’t it the moral duty of the minister in question to resign?

What happens instead is, that a Prime Minister sits in silence, as ministers trade counter allegations of sabotaging their political careers, lunging on to their ministerial berths for dear life. We today have a polity comprising of power hungry morally bereft individuals who see nothing beyond the kursi and its strappings. Is an allegation enough to erase a lifetime of public service? Is a ministerial berth the only end for a politician? When did our leaders stop being public servants and start aspiring to be rulers?

Domnik Strauss Kahn resigned the moment allegations of sexual impropriety were raised against him. The charges dropped, he might not get back his post of IMF chief, but he has retained a moral high ground- the only thing that should ideally hold a public figure in good stead in his life. Can we expect this from an immeasurable amoral political class back home ever?