March 24, 2014

Whose glass is it anyway?

There couldn’t be a better poster boy for optimism than yours truly. Me of the lived-my-school-life-so-democratically-that-I-failed-to-excel-at-any-one-specific-thing or aimlessly-picking-up-a-course-I-had-no-interest-in-and-then-sleepwalking-through-college and what-do-I-need-a-professional-course-for-duh fame who ended up being a freelance writer who gets paid enough to fuel the passion. For a little over a decade now I could probably outdo anyone when it comes to enjoying one’s cake and may I also add, that too with cherry toppings. 

What makes me a worthy contender is the fact that a better part of my professional life as a freelance writer/ filmmaker is based during the 10-year long regime of the UPA. Like a bad film that forrest gumping its way through, and what’s worse, ending up with an equally unfortunate sequel that has made more money, UPA-I and II would perhaps be the worst time for any professional. Talk about working at the same per/word or per/article price during a period when inflation went from 3% to almost 15%, (and now rests at 9.13%) and the growth rate of 3.9% (2013) which is incidentally the slowest in the last two decades and you know what I mean. But great as it may be, mine is a story that I can’t tell anymore. Not since I got to know of a certain entity called or Karti P.Chidambaram.
There’s a lot in a name, and in India there’s a lot in the surname. As you might have rightly guessed by now, Karti is India’s Finance Minister and resident emperor eristic P. Chidambaram’s son. For someone with a rather famous political surname, Karti has maintained a conspicuously low profile and even those who are supposedly close to him get to know more about him from media reports than the man himself. One might even be deceived into thinking of this Bachelors in Business Administration from the university of Texas at Austin, USA and Bachelors in Law from Cambridge, who now runs a legal consulting firm called Chess Management Services (what’s in a name, remember?) as somewhat different from the other baba log. In fact, with him being the Vice President of All India Tennis Association, the Chairman - Organising Committee of Aircel Chennai Open (ATP) Tennis Tournament, President - Tenpin Bowling Federation of India and the Chief Patron - All India Karate-Do Federation it could really be true as well. But look closer and you’d know how Karti could be a lambi race ka ghoda when it coms to Indian politics and no, that’s not just because of his interest in sports.

His surname might get him a Lok Sabha seat but beyond that there is nothing of substance that Karti has done to impress people enough to vote for him. But then that is something that could be seen as an advantage by the standards of traditional Indian electorate mentality. Also, from the looks of it there might not be a precious lot to know about Chidambaram Jr. His own website doesn’t have anything besides details of his education and the ‘positions’ held by him in the name of a profile. So, in the absence of actions basis, which one could have judged to understand the enigma called Karti Chidambaram, one would have to try deciphering him basis what he’s been said. His website has quotes, which I’m assuming are his own otherwise why would they be there, right?  What can you make of a man who says things such as, ‘we need a Parliament where there are a fair number of younger people?’ Or ‘Unless we hold people accountable for the failings in providing them, our public services will never improve’. Or ‘Use the Right to Information if you want to make democracy work for everybody.’ It’s not like his words don’t give you an insight into his mind because when he says something like ‘If we want democracy to work we must put in as much as we take from the country’ thoughts of alleged benefitting from the Aircel-Maxis deal come to mind. But more importantly when he says, ‘Freedom for the sake of freedom, at the cost of discipline or order is not necessarily freedom’, he wants us to remember Ravi, a small-scale industrialist in Puducherry arrested for allegedly posting 'offensive' messages about Karti on Twitter. All things considered in a few weeks there could be a new Chidambaram in the Parliament and you & I would be debating whether the glass is half full or half empty. It’s good to be optimist but you now what a certain Karti Chidambaram would be asking- whose glass it anyway?
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