Rahul da Cunha: Of princes, Panama and Pratyusha

So I have recited my morning 'Bharat mata ki jai' to prove my patriotism and avoid any danger of being beheaded. Prince William and his Kate are coming to town. They're going to play a cricket match with NGO kids. This is 2016 Lagaan, sans Aamir Khan.

Several things fascinate me about the Will-Kat trip. Like, who decides the guest list to meet them? I mean, why do we always select candidates from Bollywood's tinsel-town and biz tycoons? Is that seen as our best bet to make a positive impression with foreign dignitaries? Why not some novelists or intellectuals or just good dinner conversationalists? People who can comfortably engage with them.

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

I mean, as gracious as Ms Rai-Bachchan is, what will she say to the equally graceful Ms Middleton as she welcomes her onto stage? "Say Kate, we're having some trouble with this Panama Papers issue…have any clout? Can David Cameron put in a word for us?" And then the English lady will say, "Sorry Ash, think he's in a spot of bother too! A mere matter of 30,000 pounds. Nice dress, though."

"You too, Your Majesty!" On a serious note, there's the tragic tale of Pratyusha Banerjee. All suicides are sad...but the 'small town girl-hits it big on the small screen in the big bad city–serial ends–she can't deal with the 'fall from fame'–ends her life' always breaks my heart. This is a classic Bombay tragedy, the fleeting joy of success — the story of a young starlet, who lights up our homes one day — and locks herself in her home and hangs herself the next.

At 24. Much drama follows — as the usual cast of characters appear — there's usually an aggressive, abusive boyfriend who the mother can't stand. Invariably, there is a thoughtless, callous comment on twitter from some 'celeb' — in this case it is none other than the Dream Girl, who thinks that those who commit suicide are losers, and the world only has time for the strong or some such nonsense.

Perhaps Madam, you should focus on your water purifiers and dance academy, instead of giving us your views on mental health. I think it takes extraordinary hopelessness for a person to call time on their lives. Especially when so young. Cannot even imagine that pain.

Then there's Rakhi Sawant. There's always Rakhi Sawant hanging about for her moment in the sun and a soundbyte - tragedy being the mother of opportunity, in this case.
Her appeal, dear reader, if you haven't read, is for the government to ban ceiling fans to save India's daughters.

"Use air conditioners and table fans, instead," she demands. Cool, madam, so I'm guessing once Orient and Havells close their ceiling 'pankha' divisions, you will focus your attention to the following items of suicide to be discontinued — daggers, dupattas, deadly poison, drills, dowry, dousing with kerosene, diving out of buildings…and that's just the 'd's'.

And, finally, the IPL has a new team called the Gujarat Lions. Their anthem is 'Gujarat maari chhe'. As a good Gujju-Goan by birth, I'd like that to be rewritten as "Gujarat maari chhe, men!"

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62@gmail.com

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