When Nehru Jacket Becomes Modi Jacket

While ‘searching’ for a desi waistcoat online for my son (as it’s raining discounts ahead of Independence Day), I made an interesting observation. The search terms, ‘half-jacket online’ immediately throw up two powerful expressions on Google: ‘Modi jacket’ and ‘Nehru jacket’. They take you to the same products – what I was looking for – and some sites even call it the Nehru/Modi jacket.

All these sites display a gamut of this graceful ethnic piece of garment, which has spun quite a long political yarn. Since childhood we have known them as the ‘Nehru jackets’ or ‘Jawahar coat’ and now these have been endorsed as Modi jackets. Welcome to the new India!

Nehru’s trademark is now doing a good job of creating the Modi look, with of course a little ‘twist’

Nehru’s trademark is now doing a good job of creating the Modi look, with of course a little ‘twist’

From different media interviews, we know by now that our current PM Modi Ji has a clear preference for these waistcoats. But for a man with a strong disdain for the Nehruvian legacy, it is but obvious that he will completely ‘tweak’ it and brand it his own. As a friend of mine rightfully said, The ‘Congress livery’ in now the ‘BJP livery.’

…And Modi ji is doing a pretty smart job at this. Just the way he has given his ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make In India’ agenda a global voice, the PM is endorsing these bandis at a global platform rebranding them as the ‘Modi jacket’.

Actually, the (Nehru) jacket’s history can be traced back to Mahatma Gandhi’s call to boycott non-native goods in 1930, when Nehru had given up western suits-which he was wearing till then and moved to homespun Khadi kurtas, thereafter it became his style statement.

A wardrobe twist is a great way for a politician to stand out. Whether it’s the Arafat kafiyeh, Karunanidhi’s dazzling yellow shawl, Mayawati’s plain light coloured salwar kameezes, Mamta Banerjee’s white sareers with blue borders or even the otherwise colourless Manmohan Singh’s sky-blue turban. The little touches finally matter the most. And hence, the same jackets that were once Nehru’s trademark is now creating the Modi look, with of course a little ‘twist’.

Unlike the Nehru times, when these were available in only black, cream and grey, now they seem to be influenced by PM Modi’s choice of colors that are far more flamboyant, ranging from oranges to pinks to yellows. Well, prices have gone up over 50-70 per cent. Never mind, the times they are a-changin, as Bob Dylan said.

Not only for Modi and his followers, anyone who wish to make a political or patriotic statement, these jackets are a perfect fit, especially if it is tailored in khadi. My uncle said once, it camouflages his big belly and the wide hip, that common body flaw in the middle-aged Indian men.

So what’s in a name you may ask… for a section of the people, it will always remain ‘Nehru jacket’ and for others it will become Modi jacket.’

But try to fathom a little… whether you love them or hate them, you just cannot ignore these two PMs of the nation – Nehru and Modi – both with very different political identity – but both bound by a common thread: Their tremendous global appeal!

When India got its independence in 1947, and Jawaharlal Nehru, became the country’s first prime minister, the nation witnessed a new leader born. He was not perfect in so many ways, but he was what India needed at that time. Of the first few things Nehru did right was to set up a Constituent Assembly to write India’s Constitution, and set up centers of knowledge (IITs and IIMs) in a country that has over the decades produced many talented business leaders, heading global companies.

Nehru did drive India’s international profile to a great degree in the post-independence years, even though some of his foreign policies were subject to much debate. But nobody can doubt the international appeal.

PM Narendra Modi too sees Digital India as a tool for the country’s transformation, in a scale where the world looks to India for the next big Idea. Even during his visit to the US, Modi has always promoted the causes of Digital India and Make in India, making these names known globally, besides making a style statement on his jacket.

Nehru Jackets were also popularized by The Beatles in the West in the ‘70s. They went on to become so popular that in James Bond Movies, and even Sean Connery, the Bond himself, expressed his love for those jackets. And now Modi has given these timeless classic (which faded for a while) jackets a revamp and a ‘Modi’ branding.

Changing times and changing names….no big deal, believe many. Modi certainly has brought a lot of color and style to these jackets, and as long as it excites the prevailing weak khadi institutions, we are absolutely fine with it.

Jai Hind!

Whining Of The Dying Planet

On a hot summer afternoon, when I was walking home from college, I realized that the heat was unbearable… and I was feeling thirsty too! I reached for my water bottle but it was empty. My home was still some distance, and all the cold drinks shops were closed. I felt miserable. Walking all the way in this scorching heat without a drop of water felt like punishment.

I moved towards the pavement, struggling to find some shade, but to my disappointment, with all the trees cut down to make way for high-rise apartments, the shade was nothing but an illusion. I looked up in the sky. It was almost 4 pm, but the sun was still burning brilliantly. I wondered where the rains had disappeared! It was mid-July, yet apart from a few sprinkles, there was no sign of rain.

The world around me started spinning

The world around me started spinning

As I walked along, my eyes got fixed on the pond by the park. It was almost dry. This was a great place for us in our childhood. I used to come here with my mother and cousins when I was even younger. We enjoyed the lush green lawns, pretty grass flowers and cool breeze rippling off the surface of the water. But it looked so different… just like me – thirsty and exhausted!

I thought, so much has changed around me and I just never paid attention to it? A few big trees look sad, tired and weak by the heat. It’s as if they have all given up all hope. Looked like, they had accepted their defeat.

A stray dog passed by sluggishly.  After wandering on the streets, it found a minuscule shade on a pavement a few yards away, and sat with its tongue out – trying to cool itself off. A crow flew over my head, cawing in a harsh tone, as if it’s warning of some misfortune!

Suddenly, the world around me started spinning. I could see the dog, the trees, the crow, the thirsty lake, deserted land and the dry, muffled winds – all coming towards me…. They started coming closer and closer, as if they were ready to declare a war on humans. All seemed to echo the same cry: “You are the reason for our destruction…Yes you are the one!”

“No, in fact aaaI love youuuu all…” I said stuttering, feeling nervous. “You know I plant a sapling every environment day… aand I grew up reciting Wordsworth.. spare me!”

My cries were falling on deaf ears. “You don’t deserve to live… you have occupied everything on this planet, not even sparing us homes!”

The thirsty lakes, the dry winds, the barren lands, they all seemed to be echoing the same cry…

“Listen to me, please,” I continued pleading. “ I’m not of them, I’m a member of the World Wildlife Fund too… and often donate for this cause!

Nobody around seemed to care. Everything felt like a whirlpool! The voices started getting louder and it sounded like they were seeking vengeance. “You all will be wiped out …. And that day isn’t far” whispered a harsh, old voice, as if it cursed me, the entire humankind. ”

Hahahahaha” laughed the entire universe! That merciless laughter rang through the thick, warm air.

I closed my eyes and covered my ears with all my strength. I wished the voices would stop.

Are we being repaid with what we had earned! All our deeds would now have to be accounted for. I pressed my ears harder to shut out the voices until I felt a tap on my shoulder.

“Are you okay?” I heard a voice. I turned to see my neighbor and friend Daisy looking at me with a worried expression.

I nodded helplessly, not knowing what to say.

“Okay please have some water. Looks as if you are not feeling well,” she extended a bottle of water to me that was half filled.

I gulped down the water… looked around, everything looked just the same, hot, dry but yes, peaceful.

“Let’s walk home, I said. “I’m feeling okay, thank you…”

So much has change around me and I just never paid attention to it!

I was alright, but I kept asking myself, how long will it be before our selfishness destroys everything and the voices I had heard would come seeking vengeance for real?

If we continue to ignore or remain silent, then yes that voice may be right, “That day is just not far!”

 

 

 

The Healing

She stood up, walked several steps ahead, laughed her heart out… a feeling of exultation overtook her. Passersby looked at her, amused, some quite taken aback, some perplexed. Others just went by.

She need not care all that anymore. She wanted to laugh… She wanted to scream in joy… She felt like a little stumbling, clutching child, who all of a sudden realized her powers, and walked for the first time alone, boldly and with over-confidence She felt free!

She felt like a bird, wispy, fluttering and wandering freely in the sky… in the vast expanse of nothingness. It’s a  flight without an end… a journey without a destination. A life beyond death, a soul beyond cleansing!

Yesterday, She was brooding, sulking… Upset with the world. She felt wronged. She was bruised. She felt like a victim… She was almost about to give up… she felt as if she was dying.

Somebody made her feel alive today, somebody made her dance the dance of ecstasy, somebody made her heart sing. That somebody reached out to reassure her that life is beautiful and will be even more beautiful each passing day. She felt connected to herself, to the one she now trusts, she felt connected to truth… without any fear of herself and the world!

 

Life is… Celebration!

Motherhood has made me a better person. The statement is cliché no doubt but true! It has not only made me more sensible, motivated and a better manager, but has also helped me see the world with t…

Source: Life is… Celebration!

Happy Fathers’ Day To Dads and Single Moms

The Internet is flooded by Father’s Day odes, greetings and videos. Needless to say, fathers are responsible for a lot of things in the lives of their children, from disciplining and teaching them, to loving and inspiring them.

You can always count on me...

You can always count on me…

Thoughts of the good old days when I went to watch Charlie Chaplin films with my dad and ate Chinese food at some of the landmark restaurants in Park Street, bring a smile on my face.

My father pampers me and scolds me even today – and is the ‘best’ grandpa to my eight-year old son.

A day ahead of Father’s Day, as I was sitting with dad, listening to some old melodies, and surfing the net, I came across a very endearing video on Facebook, shared to me by a dear friend, Beena.

It’s a Raymond ad film…. It brings a narrative that captures a beautiful moment between a son and his mother. This father’s day, the ad film is dedicated as a salute to the single mothers!

Amidst the many videos, cards and wishes, this video strikes a special chord in our hearts.

Watch the video saluting single mothers on Father’s Day…

 

My father often says: “No matter your struggles, no matter the depth of your pain, always remember to hold your head up and Never Give Up…” A lesson I will pass on to my child as he grows up.

I found a new vitality, a different meaning to life… this Father’s Day!

So, wishing all those brilliant Dads a Very Happy Father’s Day and a big salute to the single Moms of the world who take on the role of both father and mother… It’s your day!

Rest in Peace

It’s been 15 years since she left the world, but not a single day goes by without me not thinking of her.  My aunt – she was like another mum to me and she once told me that I was the daughter she never had.

Rest in peace dear aunt!

Rest in peace dear aunt!

I was away from home, doing my masters when I got the news of her death. I was naturally devastated and remember getting into depression for the first few weeks.  I was confused, tired, extremely sad, and felt like crying almost all the time.

She was in fact the most prominent female figure (after my mom) throughout my childhood and adolescence — I’ll always remember her for her energy, for being so much fun, for being someone I could always talk to, and above all, for being such a lovely person. Really … I’ve rarely known someone as good at heart as her, and I’ll forever miss the love and care she gave me.

Manti, as I fondly called her, was one of five sisters born to my grandparents, and my mom’s best companion, despite being five years elder to her. She and my mom, along with other siblings were blessed with good looks; keen intelligence and a quick wit.

She was truly the heartbeat of the entire family, yet I knew she had a lot of agony, a bitterness bottled up inside – a strange paradox. But those were things she never showed the world. I didn’t know what she was going through, but I’m sorry she had to suffer… and her sufferings had come to an end only with her death.

She discovered her love for music quite early in life. And she did the same with all the passion she could master. While I am proud I followed her footsteps in music and art, since her death, I too had lost the passion for singing – for a good number of years.

My mom says, I’m a lot like her – the way I talk, walk and smile. There’s a bit of her in me – something that makes me miss her even more!

Her death reminds me that we never know how much time we have with someone we love … and that we should cherish that time, and make the most of it, and always, show love for that person, as much as we can.

If there’s something called afterlife and rebirth, I believe, we’ll meet again… some other time or someplace without time and space… Till then, rest in peace, dear aunt!

Spring in the air!

A sense of plenitude

A sense of plenitude

I wake up to the sounds of the birds chirping; the cuckoo singing the spring melody. Before I realized it’s already spring! The morning is so fresh and liberating… The golden soft rays of the sun plays on my eye lids; they pamper me and make me smile. The gloominess of winter has gone paving its way for the season of revival, of joy and abundance. A sense of plenitude in the air fills my heart. I have nothing to complain, nothing to worry about today… I feel so alive and wonderful! Thanks, for giving me this morning!