Fathers and Sons

There is no peace these days for satirists. Politicians in particular have taken it upon themselves to keep them busy. The dust has not even settled on the demonetisation issue and we already have daggers drawn between leaders in the Samajwadi Party (SP), the party in power in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

In a well thought out move, as we can confidently say with the benefit of hindsight, considering its longevity, MSY, the SP supremo, a constitutional and democratically self-nominated position, banished AY, the Chief Minister (CM) of UP, who happens to be his son, alongwith RGY, an office-bearer of the party, who happens to be his cousin, from the party for 6 years. For the good of the party and the common man.

Not 4, not 5, not 7. Not even a round 10.

6.

Clearly it came with a lot of thought and reasoning. Many sleepless nights would have gone into the decision and many an agonising moment spent deliberating its ramifications. One cannot but feel for MSY who has to take these unilateral decisions himself.

For perspective, UP, with a population of over 210 million, if it were a country, would be the fifth most populous in the world. State Assembly elections are due to be held in UP this month. For political parties, winning UP is the ultimate prize. The Holy Grail of Indian politics.

And since SP is a political party, which came to power claiming to represent the common man, and whose welfare is its responsibility, the party spokesperson has clarified to prying mediapersons that it was a personal matter of the family and none of their (mediapersons) business. It was a normal misunderstanding between father and son and outsiders should not read too much into it and leave them alone to sort it out. It is a personal matter because of which a father has disinherited his son from his personal fiefdom, the state of UP.

The following day, in another well thought out and deliberated move, MSY reinstated AY and RGY back in the party. For the good of the party and the common man.

Your ordinary politician may be satisfied with delivering a well thought out and deliberated decision once every few years, but two in a row, on successive days? It surely is a first in the annals of Indian politics.

But the best was yet to come. Just two days later, in yet another well thought out and deliberated move, MSY banned RGY, once again, from the party. For the good of the party and the common man. Displaying sagacity and wisdom well beyond his advanced age, this time without setting a time limit, lest the reinstatement a couple of days later cause any needless queries from the media.

In the meantime, AY and RGY had called a meeting of elected party members to demonstrate their support. MSY warned members against attending the national convention called by AY, asserting it was organised with the intention of harming the party. He also rejected the unanimous decisions taken at the meeting. He said the only unanimous decisions applicable to the party were the ones he takes unilaterally.

Both MSY and AY have beaten a path to the Election Commission to lobby to retain control of the party symbol, a bicycle. The Election Commission is understood to have asked both of them to equally divide the party symbol and henceforth use a unicycle as the symbol of their faction.

CEOs of corporations are beating a path to the door of MSY to learn how to take a well thought out decision for the good of the people and change it within 24 hours for the good of the people without assigning a reason.

We, the people, continue to be led by a party with strong democratic fundamentals.

Grand Venice

If they can’t have bread let them eat cake – possibly said by Marie Antoinette, circa 18th century AD

If they can’t have cake I will give them bread and tell them it is Grand Cake – interpretation of statements certainly made by Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minsiter of Uttar Pradesh, December 2014

The Chief Minister (CM) of Uttar Pradesh (UP) has set a new benchmark in meeting the basic needs of his constituents, residents of one of the poorer and most populous states in the country, by inaugurating the Grand Venice tourist destination in Greater Noida. If you cannot give them food, employment and electricity, at least give them a mall, appears to be the irrefutable logic that the CM is working with.

And no ordinary mall it promises to be. The Grand Venice promises to recreate the magic of Italian living which, as all of us in India now know, must be superior to our Indian living which has no magic. It will have all the essence of the city of Venice. No Rome. No Florence. No Tuscany. No Naples. Pure, unadulterated Venice, with the same style of architecture used where one can find light towers, attractive gondola boat rides on water canals built inside the mall. What’s more, instead of gliding along exposed-brick walls unchanged for hundreds of years, these gondolas will glide along glass and concrete walls for an even more authentic experience. And, for an immersive (pun unintended) Venetian experience, a Leaning Tower of Pisa, a Colosseum of Rome and the ruins of Pompeii will be thrown in. Beat that.

Demonstrating a high degree of respect for the intellectual capacity of the constituents of his state and their discerning tastes, he expressed happiness that “They can have a feel of Venice in Greater Noida”, leaving “and they will not know the difference”, unsaid, as only a person with his ear to the ground could. In a voice choked with emotion, which is normally the case with politicians when there is big money at stake, he added “The Grand Venice tourist destination has given an opportunity to those who could not fly abroad,” Mr. Yadav said while inaugurating the project from his residence here through video conferencing, and promising all support to people investing in it. The innermost desires of the poor, often debated by intellectuals, are now out in the open, thanks to the CM. We now know that their innermost desire and greatest need is to experience the magical Italian living of Venice.

We know it is an absolutely innovative concept since only a few hundred malls around the world are based on the Venetian theme.

“As this destination lies in the route of Taj Mahal, I think people will also visit there,” he added, referring to a little known monument often counted as one of the wonders of the world, and how the new mall promised to change the fortunes of that neglected piece of architecture, where police action to control milling crowds is a regular feature.

“The mall also has a centralized weather management system to give the same comfort of European weather” a newspaper report added. “It will be maintained in the same natural way by efficiently sucking up gazillions of units of electricity and diesel and spewing out toxic fumes.”

Our country has foul living conditions. Aren’t you ashamed? We give you the magic of Italian living. Not the magic of Japanese living, neither that of French living, nor that of Australian or Canadian living. But Italian living.

Our country has foul weather. Aren’t you ashamed? We give you European weather. Not American weather, neither Iranian weather, nor Argentinian weather. But pure European weather.

Inside the mall.

Please vote for us in the next elections.

It is clear that no stone is being left unturned by the private company developing the project that has been endorsed by the CM. Every little detail is being attended to, as is evident from the name, Grand Venezia. With a name like that, can it be anything but authentic? No compromises. Naysayers, like me, are sniggering at the inclusion of Grand in the name. We have heard this English word, and some of us may even have an understanding of its meaning. With a little foresight could it not have been Grande, even allowing for the fact that that would make it French. But with the intellectual prowess already attributed to the constituents by the CM, would anyone have noticed? Would the usage of an English word not mar the Italian experience? But naysayers will be naysayers. Off with their heads.

City councillors in Venice are a worried lot. They thought they only had the rising ocean to worry about. Now they are faced with an even more depressing prospect; of dwindling tourist arrivals as people rush to Noida to get a feel of the real Venice. But they have some fight left in them. They have commissioned an advertising campaign to showcase Venice as an authentic Grand Venezia of Noida experience. That is their only hope.

The state government has tasted blood. There is no stopping them now. Plans are afoot to construct another mall for an authentic Masai Mara Game Reserve experience and another one for an authentic Amazon jungle experience. All recordings played back will be based on real animal sounds and movements. Images of flora and fauna used will be life-size.