Go Goa gone

Rahul da CunaHe’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.

Tarun Tejpal illustration
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.



  • mamdhata26-Jan-2014

    da Cunha; There is no us, we, our in this case - just speak for yourself. Most Indians had seceded from Tejpal & his kind long ago. May it hurts your heart to see his custody 15 days at a time. Well this is exactly what happens to other accused. Ever heard of Sadhvi Pragya, in custody for 6 years without even being charged for an offence?

  • Anonymous26-Jan-2014

    Why are you feeling sorry for Tehelka's Tarun Tejpal as though one of your own is in the jail? So what do you want? Him out and a message that it's ok and you can repeat it again since you're out? Are you saying that more gruesome rapes are going unnoticed and groping is given much importance. No where in your article have you mentioned about his filmy dialogues to the girl that you need to do such things to climb the ladder.What about Shoma Choudhary? Is this how she became the MD?

  • Uday28-Jan-2014

    So much for camaraderie! LOL!

  • Rocky Singh28-Jan-2014

    A law is broken. Just a little or a lot is subjective. The law must be objective. The definition of rape fits this mindless act done by Tejpal. So what do we do? I say the law does what the law should. I say the law stays blind and Tejpal stay in jail. Chinese torture? that would be a young girl trying to protect herself from her empowered boss far away from home and family gettin grabbed and pawed not once but twice. Maybe he should stay there ..for a few years. PS- personally I liked him

  • S. Mishra27-Jan-2014

    Beautifully written, Mr. DaCunha. But I am a little lost about what you are trying to say. Judicial custody for a powerful, celebrated man who invasively molested a subordinate is wrong just because he is the blue eyed political destroyer no. 1 of India? Or the fact that we really don't care what happens to man who is in jail because he was so drunk on his power that he technically rapes a woman? What exactly is bothering you, sir?

  • Caesar P27-Jan-2014

    This article is about human behaviour. Not about the intensity of the crime or the judicial process.

  • manavalan29-Jan-2014

    This is exactly what the law minister of Delhi asked the courts which ruffled the feathers of the congress and bjp. There are thousands languishing in prisons for the simple reason that they do not have power and influence. bad luck for Tejpal he was in bangaru laxman's fiefdom which means"torture". Glitterati is only skin deep, once you are in prison you are on your own. enjoy the weather in Goa

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