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Statues are statutory!

Rahul da cunhaEnough is enough. I’m going to come right out and say it. I want a large prominent statue erected of myself, somewhere in South Mumbai. In this city, what can be more vital than a statue in one’s remembrance, right?

Of course, I am not particular about my pose or posture. I can stand upright like a soldier. Or lean forward with one hand outstretched like I’m about to say something momentous. Or I can place my fist below my chin to seem intellectual. Or I can raise both hands aloft like I’m addressing an august gathering.


Illustration / Amit Bandre

Also the material used to construct the monument is immaterial to me. Gold, brass, stone, marble, concrete, I’m not fussy. Anything as long as it isn’t black in colour (Nothing is more humiliating than a black immortalisation of a revered figure, with pigeon faeces on his/her head and face).

However, the one aspect that I am particular about is where my statue will be located. Ideally, I’d like myself to appear dramatically out of the Arabian Sea, so that the hordes of drivers, joggers and walkers on Marine Drive can just look towards the ocean, where I will be ever-present. But apparently, that spot in the ocean has already been booked.

I’m also partial to the idea of inhabiting an area near Gateway of India — to have a statue of me on a horse or tonga would be great. So, last evening, I went to Mantralaya to submit my proposal to the Ministry of State for Statues.

A stone-faced official asked me sternly, “You are a freedom fighter, historical character, politician or revolutionary?’

When I confessed to being none of the above he continued humourlessly — “It will cost you R200 crore. Mode of payment — cheque, cash or demand draft?”

“Uh no, I don’t have that kind of moolah,” I confessed, sheepishly. He was exasperated. “Then how can you have the statue in south Mumbai, gentleman? Do you have at least R100 crore? As a special case, you can be accommodated in Vile Parle or Lokhandwala. We have taken over some parks and mangrove forests there.”

As my inability to pay anything close to the quoted figure became clear, he took me into a private room and said confidentially, “Sir, we have a special scheme with many nationalised banks. Amount is R10 crore. You pay EMI over 20 years, only few thousands to be paid per month. We can make miniature statue. Like Bonsai type. Manzoor hai?”

“And where would the statue be placed,” I asked nervously. “You see during the FIFA World Cup, many of our ministers went to Rio de Janeiro for ‘study tour’. They were very impressed by the statue of Christ the Redeemer on the mountain. So the Maharashtra government has planned to reclaim all Lonavala/Khandala hills and ghats. Many ministers have reserved their space in advance. Would you like to see the brochure?”

I looked at the pamphlet. “And where will my statue be built if I can pay, say, an EMI of Rs 100 for 100 years?”
“Sir, it will be little far away. Maybe in Gujarat.”

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.

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