Rahul Da Cunha: Sense and sense of humour

So, I’ve always been fascinated with big leadership. Not small leadership, like running a building society or a 5,000-1 odds winning football team. Both are, no doubt, applause worthy. I mean, Leicester City did win the Premier League. But, I mean great leaders, who have massive responsibilities. They run republics, the Republican party, religious orders, they lead countries, cults, corporations, thousands, millions of lives depend on the decisions they make. Take the case of the US presidentship. Now, that’s a job and a half. The range of pressures is wide — investing and convincing Congress in healthcare to invading countries. The wonderful Barack Obama achieved much, but sadly has only a couple of months to go. He will soon move from standing up to Russia, and China to stand-up comedy. The man is funny.

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

All my buddies in the stand-up biz have their set routines, their pet topics. Mother-in-laws is a big one for comedians across the world. Seinfeld’s oeuvre is Manhattan’s foibles. Obama’s will be Donald Trump. Take this one from a recent ‘stand up’ speech — “People say Donald is weak in foreign policy. I disagree, of course he understands foreign policy, he’s met many world leaders: Miss Venezuela, Miss Colombia, Miss Azerbaijan...”

Think most of America would wish a third term for Barack bhai.

I thought India was going through a rough period, politician wise. But when I look at USA, they’re in much worse shape than us.

It’s either the real estate millionaire with the golden fleece hair piece, or Mrs Hillary C.

We don’t have a choice in selecting our leaders. They do. And they may well choose the buffoon-tycoon.

There were other great leaders in the spotlight this week.

There’s the peculiar case of the great spiritual leader Ravi Shankar with the double ‘Shris’ and the Nobel Peace Prize. The 18-year-old Malala receives it.

The entire world accepts this graciously, except the Art of Living guru, who feels that she doesn’t deserve it. Huh? What?

The spiritual gent has been at the centre of a few storms lately.

The Yamuna floodplains, for one. Sir, if I may say, your followers feel there was no devastation post your great event there. Sadly, photos indicate otherwise. In fact, the mess it created is still being cleaned up. But, about Malala, you’re not telling me you are seriously jealous about her achievement? And, why get into a war of words with a kid? Sir, you are the poster boy of silence — in fact you preach that there are three kinds of silence.

So, perhaps you should practice what you preach, Shri sir, with due respect.

Don’t comment because you feel you need to. See, this is my problem, with modern tech. Before all these savoury incidents, you had this beaitific smile, you were quiet, helping your disciples with their breathing.
Suddenly now, you’re saying unpleasant things, out of the blue.

You see, there are two aspects to my fascination with big leaders. First, I want to know that they have a sense of humour. And two, when they do speak, it must make sense.

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

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