He’s languishing in a Vasco jail. It’s been two months now. Bail after bail application rejected. Chinese torture. A thousand tiny cuts. No long sentence. Fifteen days judicial custody each time. To frustrate. To prolong the agony. Political vendetta at its most venal.
Look I’m not holding a candle to the man. And I’m not stepping anywhere near a ‘Can groping in a Goa lift possibly be compared to gang rape in a Gurgaon bus’ argument. The Supreme Court and social media ‘committees’ will decide that.
What fascinates me is human behaviour. Ours.
How we’ve responded to a man who’s gone from blue-eyed boy to black sheep, to not even white noise anymore.
Three months ago, he was the toast of the town. We feasted on Think Fest. “It’s 35K a head, but seriously worth the money” was the refrain. “TED X is dead. Think Fest is best.”
Everyone headed, Pied Piper-like, to this new Mecca of the Mind, this Holy Grail of grey cells. Socialites, scholars, South Extension pseudo intellectuals, South Goa slobs, self-confessed geniuses, all met in Bambolin. Scotch flowed, conversation flourished. The arty-farty, the litterati, the chatterati, the glitterati, the twitterati, all schmoozed, boozed, canoodled, hobnobbed, drooled, DeNiroed, and shamelessly dropped names.
Illustration/ Amit Bandre
And then, boom, just like that, everyone dropped him.
He went from Political Destroyer number 1 to Public Enemy number 1 to Prisoner in Cell number 1. We didn’t just smear him, we slaughtered him with sanctimonious judgement.
We demoted him from crusader to criminal. And criminals we don’t discuss, only demean. ‘One of India’s Most Influential People’ was suddenly someone with no influence.
Granted we were angry. Fresh from Nirbhaya we were livid on the rebound.
But then he went to prison. We celebrated, felt suitably chastised, then cantered on.
Sixty days later, the man’s just a flatline on an ECG machine, not even a minor blimp on a nation’s cardiograph. We went atomic on him, and then in a flash, sudden amnesia.
And it’s become politically incorrect to enquire about his well being. Just taboo to even talk about him.
Will he ever get out? Political ‘badla’ and rape laws notwithstanding, in the world’s largest democracy, justice will be served, either way.
But to us, he’s a pariah at our party, a mirage in our midst, a distant memory, a ghoul, a ghost. He’s a name on a marble tombstone in a cemetery for the forgotten.
He’s been erased from our collective ether.
The ultimate ruthlessness is the inability to recall.
But before we move to the next Think Fest, let’s just pause and think a bit. How fast do we back ‘winners’ and turn our backs on ‘losers’?
We eulogise the persona. Then just eliminate the person.
Now that’s some sting operation.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.