My father is not a politician. He never watches porn on the Tab that I gifted him. He never considers asking a client to send him a Tab and then never even mention that it has to be paid for. He never tweets inanities. He never rolls back his ideas for home improvement. I’ve never seen him grovel for small and mundane advantages. He simply never says he will support an idea and then back-track at the opportune moment in a bid to get some benefit. He would surely never use phrases like ‘dented and painted’ for women. But then these are precisely the reasons why I call him my Papa. Papas are hardly ever politicians.
Politicians, however, can be anybody’s Po. So if I ever imagine my father to be a politician, he would be a Pa called Po!
This story is then about my Pa called Po.
My Po can generally be heard telling anyone, ‘Rishte mein toh hum tumhare baap lagte hain!’ But would I really be proud of a Po who relishes calling himself the father of innumerable kids scattered all over the country? Well, obviously not every politician does an N D Tiwari, but I’m sure I wouldn’t want my Po to fall in that line, for sure.
Would I want my Po to frequent various cells inside Tihar every once in a while? Obviously not. So it is quite clear that I’d want my Po to steer clear of any of the incriminating ‘gates’ that newspapers shout about so often. I’d love it if he takes a route that may be longer or more strenuous or simply circuitous but it must not have gates like the coalgate or charagate or boforsgate or the 3Ggate or even the railgate plonked at some crucial turn. These are twists that sons and daughters never like… obviously because these twists aren’t just innocuous lime twists meant to prepare lemonade. They are twists that will churn the family’s guts inside out.
But it isn’t as if a Po has only restrictions from my perspective. I’d really love it if he tweets like Shashi Tharoor and becomes an online craze! Obviously then he will need to have none of the foolhardiness of a Digvijay or Beni Prasad who also become a hit with the AV-press of our country, but for all the wrong reasons. Being there sitting in the midst of headlines and scoops is fun so long as they say things like: ‘A twitter friendly politician finally!’ or ‘Even Netas can now be powerful enough to rule the virtual space!’ Well, the internet and the social media aren’t just for the Bollywood Khans. My Po would need to learn to harness the social media to send out messages that will bring people together to make things right for India. We know how corruption is jamming every street of our country!
Talking of jams, I am sure I will appreciate a Po who reaches the highest echelons of power and yet does not demand a Z-security. Let these honest commandoes remain busy with the more vital task of fighting terrorism and other evils. My Po would never touch a beacon even with the tip of a cane and would never want traffic diversions just so he reaches Khan market to buy his favourite chicken roll or his brand of home-made jam! These jams that unnecessary jams that politicians and would-be ministers cause are quite hurtful to the common man of India.
A normal conversation with my Po would generally take the route of involved listening that remains proactive until valid action has been initiated. For instance, if some aam aadmi or AA were to come to him and ask, ‘Neta ji, the roads in my area are as good as not there. Please help.’
I have seen a lot of Netas stifle a yawn as they accept some badly written and awkwardly expressed appeal to pass on to a disinterested civil servant with a hollow murmured, ‘Action lo, bhai!’
My Po will read the application and ask, ‘So where is this place?’
The AA is now alert and shows him the exact latitude and longitude of his area on his smartphone. Po immediately asks him to email him a screenshot of the map… then accesses it on his open laptop and sends across a stern email to all concerned officials. Obviously, he has all relevant email IDs fed in his Gmail contact list! He then drags this email into his ToDo list that he sees each morning. He even notes down the mobile number of this AA and remains in constant touch about the progress made.
Now this is what a really great Po will do… understand technology, use technology, and convert all technology to do things that benefit the nation!
What else will my Po be able to do?
Obviously, he should be able to win the next elections too… which should be a breeze considering that it is people who vote and the people would already be in love with him. Now your obvious question will be, ‘Who is going to give a ticket to such a Po?’
Ah! People power and mass opinion is something that my Po will easily assimilate and convert into pithy excel sheets that the Party leadership will simply have to read and appreciate… and appreciation leads to a party ticket!
19 May 2013