I’m sorry for all the shade I threw at the PM
(Published on September 30, 2017 in Business Standard)
My new home is in a tucked-away pocket of the city, so easy to get to that nobody can find it. I invariably send elaborate directions; my friends invariably ignore them; everyone invariably staggers in an hour late with mud-streaked clothes and twigs sticking out of their hair, swearing. In hosting these chaotic dissenters, I’ve had an insight that has blown up all my convictions, and imperils my identity. It’s like seeing the Matrix in all its horrible magnificence, and realising that you are Agent Smith.
My siblings used to call me Napoleon, because I was short and headstrong. I don’t know what they were trying to say cough*control freak*cough but it seems to me that Napoleon achieved greatness because he was not burdened by any democratic nonsense. The fastest way to the history books is to be captain of the ship, with a great vision and absolute power to implement it.
Today, at large in my own ship, my quirks have gone rogue. I’ve become Captain Whatshisface with the octopus tentacle beard, on the Flying Dutchman—a hopped-up monstrosity of hubris. Today, in my house, not only do I wash my own hands and wipe away crumbs compulsively and place towels just so, but I have also caught myself following my visitors around, discreetly snooping on them to make sure they’re also doing things my way or, to use the technical term, the right way. (Okay once or twice, they caught me.) When they’re not doing it right, I become much less discreet and have been known to snatch things away, ban certain behaviours, and supply a lot of one-way commentary.
For example, I cannot abide sticky and/or oily fingers touching taps and drawer handles, or being wiped on a cloth that was meant to dry dishes. I cannot abide cutting juicy or smelly things on the kitchen slab minus chopping board. I am baffled to notice that people often don’t follow my rules—which, by the way, are in place because they are the best way to do things—even when I’ve stated them clearly. I’m trying love and compassion instead of throwing people off the balcony, but I am aware that the latter is more efficient.
Meanwhile, I’m considering issuing visitors some kind of biometric ID card so I can hunt down each oily, sticky fingerprint and help them re-orient their thinking for the greater cleanliness of the household. It’s for their own good. It’s okay if people misunderstand me in the short term; many important historical figures were reviled in their time by those too blind to see.
There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it: I would like to extend a heartfelt mea culpa to Mr Modi and his associates. I’m sorry for having been so critical—I didn’t know, I didn’t know… I finally understand that there is nothing as intoxicating as the cocktail of dogma and dominion. I finally understand why someone might behave like a micro-managing, know-it-all autocrat: In our heads it is obvious, and right, and good.
Sometimes I lie awake worrying that nothing short of a stake in the heart is going to save me from the path I am on. But most other times I lie awake thinking up snappy acronyms and Twitter trends like #JeSuisModi. Maybe I’ll make my friends give me their fingerprints before I give them directions. Mitron, I’ll tell them, the sky is the limit in my #NewPlace.