Sunday, January 11, 2009
6 weeks after 26/11 and the outrage which most people had nursed for a while seems to have evaporated into thin air. Interesting to note, that the most vociferous voices against the carnage were those of the South Mumbai socialites a.k.a socialite activists. Yes socialite activists are the "in" thing when it comes to public expression or voicing his shortcomings.They are the ones who who call the shots: From politician bashing to representing the aam aadmi (whomever it may be)
So who exactly is a socialite activist?? Well, he/she (mostly its a 'she', apologies for the gender bias guys) has to fulfil the following criteria to be accorded the status of a socialite activist (SA):
1) Should be a regular on the Page 3 party circuit in Mumbai
2) Should have lived all his/her life in South Mumbai or if not then had a remote connection to someone living down there.
3) Should essentially be one of these
A model/super-model who has been branded "unhot" and dumped into oblivion by the ramp-gurus.
An actor/actress who hasnt been bagging any roles lately due to fall-out with major banners or someone who has been labelled "uncle/aunty" by the audience and lost favour with them.
A tv serial actor/actress who doesnt even fit in as a judge in reality shows and has taken refuge in tv commercials.
A loser author whose books'pages are now used by the chaat-waalaa to serve bhel-puri.
A theatre personality who hasnt been able to draw crowds to his boring Shakespearean plays/dramas.
A social activist/human rights activist who has been the pin-up boy/girl for many an andolan/agitation thanks to the media romance.
A local restaurant/spa/beauty parlour owner who wasnt doing business till 26/11 and got 5 times as much customers after the incident just by showing to TV that his/her place was targetted,partly damaged and he/she escaped unhurt.
A top-notch columnist in a news daily whose daily crap doesnt make much sense anymore.
4) Should be someone who can easily bullshit with an air of sophistication about them and wants to share a piece of the limelight.
And what bigger platform for these colorful personalities than the one built by our media. The media was lauded from all quarters for their (constructive) role in portraying the groud realities during the operation. It has to be said that barring a few jingoistic news channels, the majority of them showed uncanny restraint in reporting the events without actually becoming a hindranceto the ongoing operations.
But they had other ideas. The news channels ,drunk on praise, decided to go overboard with their sympathy & anger hysteria aftermath the operation.
It would have been a different story had there been a panel of the common people on the talk shows. Instead, the representatives of the aam aadmi, the SAs were on the panel for the discussions. One such show had an expensive silk saree-clad buxom lady of medium build,with presumably 5 layers of make-up done, thoroughly "lip-sticked", streaked hair and to go with it an obvious swagger. I tell you, the camera is such a powerful invention. It captures the most subtle features & mannerisms. She was a noted human rights activist they said, although she looked as if she had lost her way to one of those frequent art gallery exhibitions in tinseltown. Or maybe she didn't know how to dress up for the moment since occasons such has this dint occur on a daily basis.
She expressed 'deep outrage and shock' at the attacks. Being a resident of south mumbai she felt more 'insecure and unsafe than before'. She was feeling 'helpless and confused'. Then her helplessness gave way to anger all of a sudden. She wanted 'heads to roll'. When questioned who was to be held responsible she flipped her streaked hair back and with her characteristic swagger said that it was 'us' (The common man she meant) since we elected the politicians. Some politician bashing followed and then the host decided he had had enough of her and then told her to shut up politely.
The second SA on the panel was an actor with an enviable string of flops to his credit ( if that is something worth envying). He couldnt have put a foot right in bollywood even by mistake. Girls had forsaken him ages ago and so had "hits". He was dressed in his customary body-hugging Tee, trying to look cool and casual. His talk was something akin to what the 1st lady had said ,albeit it had a dash of hi-fi vocab thrown in. Words like "dismantling the terror infrastructure"," increased surveillance mechanisms", "accountable governance" were clearly missing from the 1st SA.
Then a noted lyricist, a mad economist,a renowned fashionista, a bearded theatre personality, an ad guru followed. Some of their common rants being:
. The two hotels were their favourite hang-out places/2nd homes from their days of yore.
.The wine in the two places was unparalleled. Look at the bar now, its lying in shambles.
. They were not going to celebrate the new year. (Baah..most hotels had cancelled off new yr plans by then and parties were to be low-key events. So basically this was a subtle way for these SAs to say " I have nowhere to go dude".)
.I want heads to roll. I want good intelligence. I want answers. I want explanations. I want the sun, the moon, the stars...
.Mumbai's spirit will never die nor will it stop.It fights back everytime it is under crisis. ( It was almost like getting your ear drilled hearing it for the umpteenth time. Boss, I cant stop going to work for fear of being bombed or attacked.Can I?)
. We the people are responsible for the carnage. We are electing them (Someone please tell these guys that we can only elect among the candidates thrown at us.)
.Terror Infrastructure dismantling, Accountable governance, Increased Intel Surveilance mechanisms...
On the brighter side, some positives did come out. The administration underwent a shake-up change. Some attributed it to the strong show of public strength at The gateway of India which had candle-light marches and peaceful demonstrations whre the SAs tried hard to mingle with the commoners and join in. The media made merry, they had a 'big story' to report, they had achieved their goal of what they called citizen journalism.
6 weeks on, the SAs are back to doing what they did best: page 3 parties,socializing, art exhibitions, ribbon-cutting ceremonies
As they say, It happens only in mumbai