Highs and lows

Nov 05, 2018, 08:08 IST | Fiona Fernandez

Our favourite sutradhaars discuss the newest addition to their ilk – the Statue of Unity

Highs and lows
The Statue of Unity, the world’s tallest at 182 metres, is dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Narmada in Gujarat. File Pic

Fiona Fernandez"Lady Flora, I haven't spotted you for ages. There's some news that I am itching to share with you," enquired Sir PM. He hadn't seen his friend and walking companion for a while, and was glad that she was around since he was carrying a box of Diwali sweets from Parsi Dairy Farm especially for her. She was standing with pride on her pedestal. He smiled and began to wave at her to catch her attention.

"What's the rush, Pheroze, that you had to wake me up from my sleep? Couldn't it have waited till tomorrow night? " she asked, sounding groggy and seemingly irritated. "Oh, Lady, I am so sorry. Well, you see…," Sir PM began, always a tad off-balance when reprimanded by his old friend, "I thought it was my duty to inform you that India is now home to the world's tallest statue, and it stands at 182 metres. It pays tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and is located in Gujarat's Narmada district," he looked satisfied that he had delivered this news. To his surprise, Lady Flora was unimpressed. Sir PM lowered his spectacles, and repeated, "India has the tallest statue. Isn't that amazing?" Still no response from his friend.

After a long pause, Lady Flora made her way from atop the pedestal, to ensure that none of the strays and squatters around would wake up with their chatter. "Well, if you must know, Pheroze…I was there for the inauguration," she revealed without raising her voice. Sir PM's jaw nearly dropped as he shuffled with his box of goodies. "How? What? When? Really?" he was unable to complete any of his questions. "I heard some buzz about this giant statue, and decided to head there myself to see what the fuss was all about," she said, matter-of-factly. "So, what did you think of it?" Sir PM was finally able to roll out a full length query. "I have seen far better.

It's very tall but that's about it. India is home to such fine sculptors, so this was a dampener, if I were to be critical," she replied. "But what about it being an engineering marvel, and other such fascinating information that I am hearing?" he prodded his friend. "Ho-hum. I really think we could have done a better job, aesthetically. Look at you and me…don't we look special, grand and distinguished? We stand out in a crowd, and we didn't have to be overtly tall or anything?" she reasoned, "and most importantly, shouldn't that money have been put to better use in our country? Education, sanitation, relief for our drought-struck farmers - surely, there must be lakhs like me who echo this thought.

Sir PM nodded. "You are right, Lady. It's just about the height. I am worried about the Shivaji statue closer home, and what cost we will have to bear. All of us, from Sir Edward to Khada Parsi and good ole Dr Viegas make a fine impression. The Bombay set sure paints a very dignified line-up, without being ostentatious," he grinned.

"Now, if only we get an express clean-up from that bird poop before Diwali, I sure am going to feel much better than Mr Patel who paints a lonely picture at that height with no friends for company except pesky tourists posing for selfies from his toes. The height of loneliness," he chuckled, and gifted the box of sweets to his friend. They walked back hand in hand as their favourite city dressed up to welcome the festival of lights.

mid-day's Features Editor Fiona Fernandez relishes the city's sights, sounds, smells and tones...wherever the ink and the inclination takes her. She tweets @bombayana Send your feedback to mailbag@mid-day.com

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