TODAY -

Rahul and Gandhi : A Dopey Story

Czadanda Saint *



"Do you believe in fairies? Say quick that you believe. If you believe, clap your hands."
- James M. Barrie

I have two very good friends named Rahul and Gandhi. Both of them are engineers. And no, they don't know each other. Rahul is nuts over everything Italiano. A complete 'Mi pucca tutto Italia' guy. He loves Italian food. Italian cars. Italian weather. Italian lingo. Hell, even his favourite actress is Monica Bellucci. And he is very fond of saying (with a certain boyish glee spreading over his face) that he hoped to marry her someday, even though she may be old enough to be his mother. Unbeknownst to him, he reminds me a lot of that boy in 'Malena'. Looks a bit like him also, if you go by his childhood photographs. But now, he thinks he has become good looking enough. Well, that's another story altogether.

And there is my other good friend Gandhi. We call him M. K. Gandhi. Muji Khun Gandhi. And that may or may not have something to do with his residence. His favourite day of the year is 2nd October. But no, it has nothing to do with it being a dry day. It is just that he idolizes his namesake, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, our father of the nation. A 'Gandhian' to the very core, he always makes it a point to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti with utmost pomp and splendor. With dhoti and dandi and everything. And speeches about Gandhian philosophy, non-violence, tolerance and so on, all day long. A bit unbelievable, over the top and too good to be true? Okay, you guess it right. October 2nd is his birthday. That is why he just adores this day. And that is why he is named Gandhi in the first place.

Sometimes, a little suspense is good. It adds a bit of spice to our mundane existences. So, by now, you may be wondering why I am blabbering about my two friends, Rahul and Gandhi. And yes, (yet again) you got it right. It is of course crystal clear. With the Lok Sabha elections approaching, the name of the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family keeps popping up, like a pop-up, almost everywhere. Rahul Gandhi is not only in the news. Rahul Gandhi is the news now-a-days. The most eligible bachelor of India just got hot, real hot. Poverty may or may not be a state of mind but fame certainly is. And in the minds of the millions of Indians brimming with energy, Rahul G is the real deal.

Rahul G supposedly represents the youth of India. He is a youth icon. And besides being the Chairperson of the Indian Youth Congress, he has won several accolades along the way. Clean shaven or the bearded 'grunge' look, innocent boyish charm or the brooding intellectual appeal: he sure has found a way to connect with the nameless, faceless youth of India, including me, Rahul and Gandhi. From organizing cricket matches to travelling in local trains, he has found his mojo- to stay in touch with the vibrant, throbbing pulse of the nation. As for example, on twitter, he is so bloody famous. He even out-trended the other God of India- Sachin Tendulkar!

Okay, that was pretty harsh. He is trending on twitter for all the wrong reasons. To say so, he is famous in twitter in the same manner Santa and Banta are famous for their jokes. Well, you might say, this is just twitter. But nobody makes fun of Sachin Tendulkar on twitter. And if they do, it doesn't go viral. The point being, the very people (the youth) whom he is trying to endear himself to, are making fun of him. Maybe, he needs to try harder, dig his paws in, shoulder up, heads down, re-double his efforts etc.

Because, far away from twitter-dom, even in the veiled, unseen and the shit-just-got-real world of smokers and dopers, there exists one standing joke on Rahul G, which well, 'stands' till today. One singular joke. And it got repeated so many times that I don't honestly know why people laugh at it anymore. But every time the joke is cracked, there is always a good round of laughter around. Of course, we are talking about a much different world here- the dopey world. Here, people just laugh. To get the general idea, try imagining the scene in Ice Age 3 (Dawn of the Dinosaurs) where Manny, Diego, Buck, Eddie and Crash almost died laughing crossing the 'chasm of death'. In any case, the joke originated when Miss China was crowned Miss World last year, which incidentally coincided with the 'stop discriminating against the people of NE' campaign. It goes something like this:
"Breaking News-
Miss China-World has turned down Rahul Gandhi's proposal for marriage.
Apparently, he thought marrying a Mongoloid was the only feasible solution to the problem of racial discrimination.
Mrs. G is heart-broken.
Expect some China bashing comments in the Parliament tomorrow."

Yeah, it doesn't make much of a sense even though it is in sync with the twitterati jokes. But here, in this part of the world (as said) you don't need a reason to smile. You just need *beep*, something else. And after half an hour and about two joints later, the joke revealed its wisdom to me. It made perfect sense. It was almost like the universe was aligning itself. The imagery in my head was beautiful. Hell yeah, everybody should try it; try hearing this joke after two joints!

Nevertheless, this dopey story is about my two friends Rahul and Gandhi. I always get reminded of them whenever I see Rahul Gandhi in the news. For instance, when Rahul Gandhi took a local train to get a feel of the nation, I was reminded of my friend Rahul who had a similar story to share. He once told me that he took a local train into the interiors, into the very heart of Maharashtra. All because he was in search for an engineering college. And that was when he just cleared his XII standard exam. I remember him saying that as he journeyed alone, the experience was awesome and unforgettable. He boarded the train as a boy. He un-boarded as a man. Quite like our very own 'Local Train Diaries'. It is such a pity that he went on to become an engineer. What could he have been? What heights could he have scaled? How far could he have gone? If, just if, he had chosen to board another train into the interiors of U.P. or Bihar. It would have been nation changing.

And when I hear about Rahul Gandhi organizing cricket matches to draw the youth into active politics, I get nostalgic of those gone days when my friend Gandhi used to organize friendly cricket matches. And that was when we were still in junior school. It is still a matter of great pride for me that our team always won and his team always lost. But damn! His organizational and communication skills were above par from that time. Every Sunday (or every holiday we get) he never failed us in organizing a cricket match. He was always the mature one. And when we were like ten or something; when we were busy playing marbles (with absolutely no interest whatsoever in wiping our noses clean), he was already taking tips from the Salman Khan movies to woo girls. Quite the charmer that he was, it is no surprise that he grew up to be the ladies' man. And it is more often than not that I wonder if he had taken an interest in joining active politics. He would make such a bloody fine statesman. It is not that late though. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Then there was that time when Rahul Gandhi spent a night at a Dalit household to get to know the people better. So, I thought and thought and thought but just could not remember the past tense of 'think'. Okay, sorry, was just unable to resist writing that. Actually, I racked my brain and my memories of my two good friends, but was not able to remember anything remotely close to that feat of sleepover. The closest they have come to is sitting at the dilapidated 'Ramu ka Chai Hoten' and 'listening' to the 'grievances' of the 'masses'. By 'masses', I mean the chaiwallahs and those unfortunate souls present there; unfortunate in the sense that they always happen to find either Rahul or Gandhi whenever they come to take tea. Of course, they hardly listen. They are always the ones talking. And both of them are very good in the proverbial 'constructing the tent with their fore-fingers'. They always had the gift of the gab and are forever ready with a retort in case, and if not in case, they still retort anyways. And I still remember one sublime comment of Gandhi, "… that guy, he thinks that he can draw the youth in politics by organizing cricket matches. Maybe next time, he will organize a bumper housie to improve the economy." That was pure gold!

Once, Rahul was reading some random pamphlet on ten temptations a youth must always avoid. This was when he was in his 'fitness-freak' phase, hitting the gym regularly, building his God-knows-what. And though I didn't give much heed, he was reading it quite loudly and I could hear anything anyway. His almost pathetic, 'blood-about-to-fall-from-ears' monologue went somewhat like this, "okay, listen up. Ten temptations, a youth must always avoid. In no.1 we have drug abuse. Okay. Cool. Totally get it man."

Then he went for his screwed up maniacal satanic laugh and continued, "In no.2, we have alcohol. Hahaha… huhuhu… hehehe… this is so true man." Anybody can see that he was really enjoying himself reading that pamphlet. With that short of pristine mirth, somebody might be in the mistaken belief that he wrote the pamphlet himself. "In no.3, we have smoking." Another round of his maniacal laugh followed. Then pin drop silence. For about a minute or so, I didn't realize it. And when I looked up from whatever I was doing at that time (I forgot actually), he was alive and well. I was a bit afraid (read hopeful) that he might have choked up on his own laughter.

But what I saw was a tad surprising. There he was, lounging on his bed, imperturbably playing with his mobile phone, without even the slightest hint of a smile as if nothing had happened. And the pamphlet, well, it was lying two-three feet away from him at the toe-end of the bed in quite an undignified manner as if unceremoniously thrown away. I became very curious as to what was in 'No.4' which made him stop reading. So, I discreetly walk over to his bed, pick up the pamphlet and read. On it was written, "4. Watching porn." I somehow managed to keep a straight face, fold the pamphlet and kept it on the table. Then I looked at him. He was still busy with his mobile and I thought he had shut up for good. But, totally nonchalant, he spoke, "Bhai, Monica Bellucci is damn hot man."

When I remember this incident now, I remember it so with a smile. And my smile gets a little more pronounced, if I happen to think of my friend M.K. Gandhi reading the pamphlet. I know for sure where he would have stop reading. And my smile literally got stuck to my face (grinning from ear to ear) if I come to think of Rahul Gandhi reading that pamphlet. For some yet to be deciphered reason, to my dopey mind, the $1 = Rs. 65 worth question was – where would Rahul G stop reading? Or would he be able to continue reading till the tenth temptation? I know this is crazy. And I may as well shut up. Curiosity just might kill the cat!

EPILOGUE:

Peter Pan is no doubt, J.M. Barrie's most renowned work (play). In one of its famous scenes, Tinker Bell, in order to save Peter Pan, drinks a poison which was sure to be fatal. Almost dying, she tells an anguished and shocked Peter that she can only be saved if the children believed in fairies. Peter, then turns to the audience watching the play and begs those who believe in fairies to clap their hands.

It is attributed that when the play was first performed, J.M. Barrie was almost dangling on his nerves by the time this scene arrived. The success or the failure of the play depended on that single line to be uttered by Peter Pan. If there was no hand clapping, then the play was dead, rendering everything obsolete. He waited, eagerly. And there it was. A thundering explosion of handclapping from the audience. Tinker Bell was saved. And the children's faith in fairies has never withered since then.

So whatever happens, we should never forget (even if we don't remember it all the time) that the power is always with We, The People.
With this note, I take leave.
But with a toast to my two good buddies.
Rahul and Gandhi – the boys who grew up.
Cheers!


* Czadanda Saint is a regular contributor for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at saddanskhaibam(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on September 02, 2013.


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