What is puny and small in the beginning, but swells enormously when appropriately tickled?
Crowds, of course. And an indomitably spirited Anna Hazare demonstrated exactly this to the world with his usual aplomb during the Herculean fast which he just concluded amidst the humongous applause of freshly stirred countrymen. As speaker after righteous speaker at the Ramlila grounds performed ritualistic ablutions of the annals of UPA’s history (pun intended), the Kejriwals, the Bhushans and the Bedis wasted no time in handing out (t)issues to those who volunteered to wipe out the stink in the name of the great crusader. Media houses went berserk with the live coverage. Correspondents frothed at the mouth. Children struggled in the hot sun to revisit the independence struggle. Students bunked classes on no pretext. And proud girls wearing the Anna cap rejected boyfriends who refused to wear the same, arguing that a reluctance to wear a simple cap today might portend a reluctance to wear the family planning gear tomorrow. In short, humanity could barely be saved from the clutches of democracy just in the nick of time.
Which brings us to the larger question. Who gained what. Undoubtedly, it was yet again the irresistible Arindam Choudhuri of IIPM who came up trumps in counting the number of chicks in the batch. Remember the seminal treatise he wrote on self help ‘Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch’? Buoyed by the events, the wily mentor might now seriously think of putting in place a comprehensive pedagogy on civil society campaigns, smartly calling it the PGPPMM – Post Graduate Program on People’s Movement Management, with the punchline ‘Dare To Think Beyond The Shy Dry PMs”. For budding PR strategists languishing in the shadows, as described by Surekha Pillai in her column in the DNA, he could offer a few exciting Management Development Programs like Lost-Cause Management, Charm-Campaign Management and Uncertain Venture Management, although he must steadfastly refuse to entertain any calls from across the border to initiate courses on Jihad Management at his Dubai campus. Helluva money there, but still. His detractors, a bunch of impetuous retards anyway, might provoke him by demanding a course on Unemployment Management, but Arindam, the eternally sedate and conscientious guy that he is, must brush aside such barbs with the contempt they deserve.
Om Puri, on his part, must be in a perpetual self congratulatory mode ever since he shook the nation with his hideous acts of non violence. Not his fault, though. He was asked to speak on the aspirations of the common man. But the single malts that he had so condescendingly agreed to imbibe for the larger cause tricked him into assuming that he was expected to speak on the common man’s ‘aspersions’. Let me tell you, the furore is needless. For his part, Om Puri attempted to give us an objective idea of how Bheja Fry 3 would eventually come out to be. So, the most appropriate recourse would be to continue to remember Mr. Puri for his stellar performance in Ardh Satya. Which brings us to the sacred memory of poor Smita Patil. Had she been alive today, she’d easily have ousted Medha Patkar and Kiran Bedi from all forms of civil unrest.
Words are woefully inadequate when it comes to praising the outstanding contribution of that holy shrine of healthcare, the Mecca of medicine, Medanta Medicity. But for the charitable cartel of cardiologists and physicians cordoning off the venue 24×7, Anna Hazare’s team wouldn’t have dared to push the old man right up to the brink. Okay, Medanta may have a few cruel taxes imposed by the government here and there and maybe a couple of sops would get suddenly withdrawn, but that’s a small price to pay for the ginormous free publicity that was garnered entirely at the expense of Times Now. Who knows, TOI might even come out with a spiritual CD on Effective Hunger Management with liberal scholarly inputs on urinary ketones by Dr. Naresh Trehan. That is, the higher the level of ketones in your urine, the closer you are to God. Here, it would be important to note that while setting up Medanta Medicity for a cost of a thousand crores, Dr. Trehan was entirely guided by a fierce set of philanthropic ideals.
That leaves us. You and me. With the hope that the next time a bribe is demanded, we will refuse to pay it for two days. Okay, three days. By then Anna will have shoved his cap up the rogue’s gaping conscience.