History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce, but what happens when the farce is played out time and again? Many years ago, I asked the veteran socialist leader, the late Madhu Limaye, on why the Janata Party was unable to hold together in the 1970s. Limaye, a rare political intellectual, answered, “Khichdi when made at home tastes really nice but when you try and cook it in politics, it begins to smell.” The Janata Party, he said, was a khichdi, where parties with contrasting ideologies had come together with the singular purpose of defeating Indira Gandhi.
Call it "tyranny of distance” or simply the nature of the Delhi-centric 24x7 “national” media, but a day after Arvind Kejriwal’s famous win, the BJP swept the local body elections in Assam — only there were no bold headlines or screaming breaking news to announce the results.
Just before the December 2013 Delhi elections, our housekeeper, who has been the mainstay of our home for over a decade, came with a special request. “Sir, I want to get a voter ID card,” she said enthusiastically. We managed the voter card and on election day, she turned to me triumphantly with her inked finger, “Humne jhadoo ko vote diya!” Now, over a year later, she is planning to vote again for AAP. It’s the same with the municipal worker who cleans the street near our home, the driver and the watchman.
The year 2011 was the year of Anna Hazare, as a septuagenarian activist was literally lifted out of near-retirement to be projected as a modern-day Gandhi. Four years later, Anna has returned to the anonymity of the village square at Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra but the torch-bearers of his anti-corruption movement are back on the national centre stage in an all new avatar and in a dramatically transformed context.
Boxing films have always enthralled me. As a teenager, the Rocky series was inspirational. Raging Bull, the story of Jake La Motta, is probably the gold standard for all sports films, with Robert de Niro at his histrionic best. Other boxing films like The Fighter and Million Dollar Baby have also been captivating.
The ubiquitous Rotary Clubs are a decent indicator of the urban upper middle class mood. Rotarians are often professionals with a conscience: from blood donation drives to charity runs, they like to feel involved with public service. One of my first assignments as a journalist in 1989 was to cover a Rotary Club event in Mumbai.