So much has made me happy this week — overjoyed actually. Acche din sacchi aa gaye.
1. Like, I absolutely love it when cultural institutions, Central Railway stations and cities get renamed after decades. Not like the nondescript change of Bombay to Mumbai, so boring in its brevity. In stark contrast, our capital city is about to be renamed in style. I mean ‘Dilli’ is so utterly down market and ‘Delhi’ so ordinarily colloquial.
Illustration / Amit Bandre
Now take the proposed changes — New Delhi will be re-branded ‘The Imperial City of Delhi’ and Old Delhi re-christened as, ‘The Imperial City of Shahjehnabad’. These names are so worthy of earning a heritage tag from UNESCO. I’m happy that these amendments will cause tourism to sky rocket as foreign travellers will defy jet lag to now partake of a beautifully maintained Red Fort with a wafting fragrance of urine and stylishly carved graffiti such as ‘Raju ‘heart’ Sushma’. Travel agents will issue tickets that read — London-Imperial City of Shahjehnbad-London. I mean Delhi could well have become ‘Indraprashta’. But no, its so lovely to know that we still need that colonial hangover tag.
2. At the same time it’s reassuring that not all of us are hankering to align ourselves with the West (isn’t Obama coming to India this Diwali?) It’s heartwarming that elsewhere in India, true nationalists are ridding themselves of wasteful Western values. So all school kids who’ve struggled over Pythagoras Theorem, can head to Rajasthan — their school textbooks will soon be sans that complicated formula. Also Issac Newtonji will no more be the man behind the Laws of Gravity.
3. Talking of the renaming of institutions, I was always concerned about our museum. As a child, I would walk from dusty room to musty room, looking at Indus Valley exhibits thinking “Prince of Wales, tacky name, man, not becoming of a place with such historical significance.” Which is why my joy knows no bounds at the new name — Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahlaya (CSMVS). I’m just so happy that the Centre has got its priorities correct when it has promised ‘good governance’ — why worry about road repair when there are renaming issues to worry about?
4. My heart is satiated with the fact that the Maharashtra government is on a roll of diktat democracy. Their modus operandi is, ‘Let’s deliver the ‘order’, and if there is no echo of rebellion, resentment or rattling of sabres, we’ll go through with it. If there is outrage, well, we’ll ‘reassess’ the situation and maybe ‘retract’. Such humility has been exhibited in the ‘reassessment’ of the Land Development Plan. And the ‘retractment’ on the issue of the slaughtering of all species of the animal kingdom. However, I’m happy that the ‘Marathi films in multiplexes’ diktat is still there. Who can afford to go to Cannes every year? And trying to get to Bharat Hindmata in peak hour traffic?
5. Finally I’m rapturous that ‘musical chairs’ has officially been declared a sport in Maharashtra. Till now it was a pastime limited to the corridors of Mantralaya, especially around ‘Municipal Elections’ time. So I’d like one more game to hopefully be ‘legitimised’ soon: Pin the donkey.
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.