Spit Take Society

An open letter to my PM

Illustration: Mihir Ranganathan

Illustration: Mihir Ranganathan  

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Jeers and peacock tears should have no place in this country

Dear Shri Narendra Modi-garu,

My namaskarams to you, sir.

Firstly, I hope your China trip goes off well, and you find that Jinping-bhai  has been promoted from XI to XII. His parents must be worried that he has been in XI for so long.

Allow me to introduce myself, sir. I’m a humble writer from Madras. Though I am Telugu, for all practical purposes, I’m like the Krishnan Subramaniam Iyer character in Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah. Meaning, I exist to provide comic relief to my northern brothers with my safari suit, funny accent, less-than-fair complexion, and piggish refusal to accept Hindi as national language even though some are saying “it is, it is, I swear, it is”.

I am genuinely delighted with what you have said, sir, in your recent interaction with party lawmakers and legislators through the Narendra Modi App: “We commit mistakes and give masala to media. The moment we see a camera, we jump to make a statement as if we are great social scientists or intellectuals ... and then these ill-informed statements are used by the media. It’s not the media’s fault.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

I take the liberty of giving a few humble suggestions. (They may help cut down masala-overuse by party members in public discourse.)

Peacock tears

Tell everyone, once and for all, to stop this peacock tears business, sir. (I use that as an umbrella term for bull-horn powers, Vedic internet, oxygen-exhaling cows, etc.) Let us stick to our time-tested tradition of crocodile tears. When bad things happen in our country – and they are happening – for starters, perhaps we could shed these, sir. In time we will learn to shed real ones. Practice is all we need. Practice will teach us empathy.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Sir, please tell everyone Chacha Nehru is dead. In fact, he died more than 50 years ago. Unfortunately for us, he is not a chiranjeevi like Anjaneya or Parashurama. So, expecting him to hold press conferences every time something goes wrong is somewhat pointless, don’t you think? Tell party members to move on. We did, didn’t we, sir? We voted for you.

Smirking

This may seem minor to you, sir. But allow me my two-bits, please. If you take our Puranas, smirking, eye-rolling, guffawing out of turn (as you pointed out yourself), etc., are weapons of the evil and the weak. Employed by the likes of Shakuni, Duryodhana, Kaikeyi, and Manthara. We never hear of Rama, Hanuman, Arjuna, or Sita smirking, do we? Krishna, the all-powerful, also only smiles mischievously from time to time. He never smirks. NT Rama Rao is all the evidence we need. Perhaps, on panels, while engaging in debates, party members could emulate the good guys.

Poha

Sir, let’s not go into this ‘make poha  the national dish’ type of discourse. It makes fellows like Sanjeev Kapoor attempt inedible dishes like Malabar Paneer. I assure you, sir, if this continues, our Malayali brothers, a passionate lot, are likely to throw jackfruit at the chef and make him dance to ‘Jimikki Kammal’.

Though poha by itself is a good subject to explore. As you well know, sir, beaten rice, the chief ingredient of poha, is what the impoverished Kuchela gives Lord Krishna as a gift. In return, Krishna bestows great wealth on Kuchela. But the story doesn’t end there. While Krishna worries about what people will think if Kuchela is seen as being favoured only because of their closeness, for his part, Kuchela, despite Krishna’s munificence, never forgets his humble beginnings, and lives as simply as before.

I do hope I haven’t spoken out of turn, sir. And that you will consider what I say.

Yours sincerely,

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli

The writer is a satirist and co-editor of the anthology Madras on My Mind: A City in Stories.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 6:35:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/an-open-letter-to-my-pm/article23696255.ece

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