Ayesha, the spoilsport of the Sania-Shoaib game, has had her place usurped in our TRP-triggered Hall of Fleeting Fame.
And the blame for snatching her standing in the annals of Fifteen Minutes of Fame goes to a certain Advani, whose surname has less to do with an uncertain prime ministerial aspirant on the Indian firmament and more to do with a certain ousted presidential incumbent on the Oriental orbit called Ferdinand Marcos.
Yes, Ayesha, alias Maha Siddiqui, has been left far behind in breaking-news folklore with the final nail in the coffin of her near-buried public memory being driven by none other than Anita Advani, the new "woh" of our very own Breaking-news Babbling Channels (BBC).
For those who may already have deleted Ayesha from the public memory inbox, it may be recounted that this Hyderabadi lady had appeared out of nowhere to play party pooper as the "other woman" in the match of a lifetime that Sania Mirza was set to clinch with sweetheart Shoaib some years ago.
That this courting of controversy against our tennis ace almost made it Advantage Ayesha off the court, on TRP turf, is all past.
Presently, the paparazzi has been dead serious about projecting Advani, the alleged "live-in" lady of recently departed romantic icon Rajesh Khanna, as the new "woh" on telly's celebrity wedlock block. The breaking news brand of "woh", we know, is a species that possesses particular proclivity of surfacing in 'shaadi' or 'shraddhanjali' season (remember a certain Jahanvi surfacing as the "other woman" during the Abhishek-Aishwarya wedding?).
If you thought the "woh" surfaced into "breaking news" space only when desi stars tied the knot, not when a superstar turned to naught, perish the thought! Advani's advent into breaking news folklore is thanks to the tinsel town-preying paparazzi that has "maid" no bones about its prowling for skeletons in the cupboard of the scarcely dead superstar.
With the Ayesha episode far behind and Sania far away playing mixed doubles on the Olympic court, Advani's is the doubles match being played off court, on the paparazzi playfield.
Whilst Khanna was being laid to rest, an emotionally electrifying occasion that saw Mumbai town pour on to the streets under a weeping sky, the paparazzi decided to pore over other-womanly claims being made on the erstwhile superstar's estate "Aashirwad" and go to town breaking news about the doubles "partner" in the Khanna team. That saw TRPs hitting a high and tamasha TV touching another low.
Low and behold, eyeballs were weaned away from media speculation about Leander's prospective mixed doubles Olympic teammate to this off-court doubles partnership. From the Khanna household cooks to caretakers also adept at cooking, stories that is, any maid who could be enlisted for excavating extra-marital skeletons, if any, in the life of the barely buried Bollywood icon was made to parade before predatory cameras for 15 minutes of pixellated, paparazzi-propelled fame in this eyeball-ensnaring game.
Around the same time, several summers ago, when royal role icon Diana Spencer had perished in a Parisian car crash, the paparazzi had pronto plunged into unearthing scoops about Diana's post-divorce liaisons while her remains were still being rummaged out of the rubble.
Even as a bereaved Britain had prepared to bury its beloved icon, the paparazzi, which in the first place caused Diana's car crash by chasing her all over Paris, had gone to town trading tales of the royal celebrity's rendezvous with Dodi Al-Fayed.
In this building of many a TRP and tabloid fortune on Diana's grave, the paparazzi had dug the spiciest scoops of the Diana-Dodi liaison: Diana gifting Dodi cherished cuff-links; Dodi buying Diana a $23,000 ring just before she died; Fayed Sr claiming Diana was pregnant with Dodi's child at the time of the crash and what not.
There had appeared a "woh" in the Diana script, too, with American model Kelly Fisher surfacing to claim she was engaged to Dodi.
In much the same way, the Indian paparazzi-peddled remake of "Pati Patni aur Woh" has seen "Aashirwad-claiming" Advani starring as "Anand's" doubles partner. What a season of "net' gains, on the Olympic court or off it. The Khanna family could barely mourn its "Anand" in peace, when tamasha TV went to town scripting this "Daag" about his personal life and casting the "Bawarchi" hero's own 'bawarchi' in a real-life cameo!
This raises a grave concern: Did the Indian paparazzi stoop to a new low in scripting its Diana-esque moment? Or was it simply another scoop to die for?
The writer is a Chandigarh-based columnist