Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Selfie Made PM

Also published on Huffington Post, India

India’s greatness lies in its great leaders. As history will testify, leaders are not born great. They are either born with great last names or achieve greatness through the eternal cycle of scams and clean-chits and the many yojanas named after them. Our leaders of yore did not have the luxury of appropriating public money for private gains, they had to mostly rely on good deeds, years of struggle, and policies that shaped our today for everlasting greatness. But when you’re long gone and become a statue at a busy traffic intersection, silently collecting bird poop of all hues, you need that extra something that sets you apart from the also-rans. Nehru appropriated the high necked sleeveless jacket, the rose and made that his own. Gandhi immortalized the dhoti, charkha and left behind great quotes for world leaders and Hollywood stars to borrow. Netaji’s monocles are as much a part of his legacy as his mysterious disappearance that gave rise to generations of Kakus and Jethus who insisted they had spotted him on Elgin road just last week. 

Just like political parties have symbols, our elected also need a style statement to claim their space in fickle public memory. Since corruption charges, insensitive comments and lunging at each other’s’ throats while the assembly is still in progress is de-rigueur for our netas, they are constantly looking for a USP that will set them apart from the cattle class. Not everyone is blessed with lush Amazonian growth sprouting out of their ears like Laloo, so they have to resort to capes, mufflers, rath rides and pee on plants to claim their rightful place in the electorate’s heart.

Which is why I don’t understand why some of you find Modi’s penchant for taking selfies at every given opportunity so funny. Don’t we all do the same – fish out our phones, pose and preen, the moment we sense company?

It requires a great leader like NaMo to adopt our selfie addiction as his own and use it to his advantage. How many nations can claim to have a PM who not only forges ties with world leaders but also their doting Mom and adoring bhakts by clicking selfies with them?

And when you are leading a nation with the world’s youngest population, you can no longer rely on tight churidars and bandh-galas to worm your way into their hearts. Especially after you have promised them acche din and then let your colleagues go on a banning spree depriving them of their little joys!


While ordinary mortals like us travel all over the world only to return with made in China mementoes, PM Modi Jee goes globe-trotting and returns with thousands and thousands of priceless memories, all captured on his phone camera. Only NaMo knows, when it comes to selfies, there’s scope for one more and more and more. 


Pic Courtesy - Narendra Modi

Even a hardened leader like Chinese Premier Li Keqiang could not resist Modi’s childlike enthusiasm and smiled for his first ever selfie. If only Modi had pouted and tilted his head sideways, the Chinese government would’ve been wracked with remorse for welcoming him with a map of India without Arunachal Pradesh and J&K on state TV and sent a sorry faced selfie as a note of apology.

While our friendly neighbours resort to border incursions, stealth attacks and harbour terrorism to keep our friendly ties alive, our PM believes in conquering hearts with the power of selfies.

No wonder, Indians who felt ashamed of being born Indians, coloured their hair peroxide blonde, slathered their face with Fair and Lovely, moved to the land of dollars and shortened their names to Ken, Jen and Pen, are now proud to be called Kalpesh, Jignesh and Paritesh, while they chant Modi Modi Modi and beat up Rajdeep Sardesai.

Fifty years later when they’ll erect a 700 feet statue of Narendra Modi along Gujarat’s coastline, honouring the ascent of a self-made man to a selfie-made PM, we all know what he’ll be holding in his hand as he smiles endearingly at the sky.

In the same vicinity, where tourists will trample over each other to get a better selfie with this great man, there’ll be a chaiwala simmering tea for his customers and dreaming of a future as bright as the towering presence.


44 comments:

  1. Totally totally loved this. Class apart. The Amazon sprouting reference, collecting bird poop of all hues and several others were hilarious. But the best part was about his statue holding we know what!
    Reading again.
    More power to your selfie made pen.

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    1. And you made me the happiest woman :-)

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  2. Very well captured ! The greatness bestowed by surnames is now a universal phenomena At least the current PM is not carrying any legacy baggage and hope will push our country to more 'ache din'

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    1. The reforms will take some time considering the mess we are in.

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  3. Purba​ you are a smooth operator. Lovely writing. Joy to read!

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  4. From Kakus and jethus to the Amazonian growth.... you nailed it, Purba :-D

    The last three paragraphs...just superb!

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  5. I have told you before ...reading your posts in the morning is a lovely way to begin my day ...whatever is being said everywhere, it does feel good to see two leaders posing like this for a selfie.... Outside of all the responsibilities their heads are bearing it seems like a simple ' I am just another human being like everyone else ' moment ...

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    1. I feel he's going overboard with his selfie diplomacy. But then, this is just my opinion.

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  6. Hah! Well, all I want is for Modiji's statue to be so tall that no pigeon can even think of leaving mementos on its crown.
    Still laughing at Ken, Jen, Pen!

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    1. So tall that a pilot can stop the plane midair and ask for directions?

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  7. Laughed all the way. Girl, you can write!

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  8. This was a fun ride. I kind of like his selfie fetish. :-)

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  9. This was a fun ride. I kind of like his selfie fetish. :-)

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    1. I'm sure many find it endearing.

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  10. Hail Modi. You have made us proud of our beloved PM :)

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    1. I'm sure his selfies are as proud of him.

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  11. I'm surprised we don't yet have a selfie called the 'chai-wala' selfie.
    But as Rachna said, while I don't agree with everything he says and does, I think the selfie fetish sort of makes it feel like he's in-touch with Gen-Z. A duck-face and we'll be saying something else :)

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    Replies
    1. He's very much in sync with the times. Something we cannot say for most of our leaders.

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  12. Total loove this Har Har Modi selfie in videshi land. You've nailed it with the humor and how I hope he would practice inclusive development in his selfie!

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    1. I am still adopting the wait and watch policy. Especially liked his concept of smart cities.

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  13. You got to hand it to him-he is tops when it comes to innovative thinking and changing the political scenario.

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    1. I am not contesting that even once. He's a welcome change from UPA's 8 years of misrule.

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  14. Loved the post! But the last two paras, cherry on top, literally! While the self made and selfie part are all good he really needs to try up something new to keep the impatient generation singing his praises. Selfies are soon becoming a thing of past, don't you agree?

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    1. I hope fervently that selfies become a thing of the past.
      Too much self-love is nauseous.

      And thank you, Sarah,

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  15. Such an amazing piece Purba! It's like an iceberg... Much more to the words than is visible at first sight. Loved it!

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  16. Well, he is the man of the times! He not only has the young-dude-selfie thing going for him, he also has a sharp understanding of the huge aspirations of the young ones. A thoroughly enjoyable writeup, Purba!

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  17. awesome cracking .way to go exprezz

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  18. Always better to read an article on Modi that isn't involving name-calling and riddled with accusations. Welcoming take on Modi and the selfie business. :)

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  19. Never thought I'll say this ever anywhere, but nothing better than this for what i just read.... ROTFL...L...L...L!!! :'D You undoubtedly are the queen of wit Purba.

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    1. Heh, let me try and self-pat my back :p

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  20. Sting-Ray at her stinging best! The post was hilarious... I guess people are amused because 1) you don't expect the average person of his age to be tech-savvy, let alone selfie savvy (in India) and 2) you don't expect Indian leaders to follow urban youth trends. You expect even the youth leaders to wear churidaars and crumpled cotton kurtas and deliver their speeches in chaste hindi!

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    1. I am amused by his I, me and myself obsession :-)

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  21. I loved this Purba! I really really did You not only made your readers giggle but only bring forward a point.
    People are waiting for acche din as if its an order placed in a fast food joint. Things need time.

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    1. Of course, miracles are unlike Maggi noodles :-)

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  22. I've a feeling the East Coast NRIs will erect a statue of him in New Jersey..obviously with a smartphone in his hand!

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