(NDTV, 1st June: Political Science Teaches Cooking, Said Bihar Topper. ----On camera, Ruby Rai, 17, who topped Bihar’s Class 12 exams in the Arts stream, says political science, a subject she virtually aced, teaches cooking.)
Politicians are bewildered by all the negative comments about what the Bihar exam topper has said. ‘She was speaking metaphorically. As you know very well, much of politics is about cooking up things,’ explained a veteran, ‘and there’s no need to grill the poor girl about it’. ‘How else will we promise pie in the sky unless we learn how to cook up a storm?’ queried a politician-cum-chef. ‘We have to get enormous amounts of black money past the Election Commission’s scrutiny to fund our campaigns,’ explained a good egg, ‘and we have to cook the books well in order to do that. Otherwise we’ll get chicken feed.’
‘Our party is known for its half-baked ideas,’ pointed out a baker-cum-politician proudly, adding they sold like hot cakes. ‘It takes long years of cooking to know how to have a finger in every pie,’ said a big cheese who was an expert in pork barrel politics.
‘Every politician should know how to stir the pot of communal and caste passions, it’s meat and drink to us,’ said a pot-stirrer. A writer of potboilers said that was a fine kettle of fish. ‘If you can’t stand the heat, you should get out of the kitchen,’ said a member of the kitchen cabinet. ‘We politicos are in the business of adding a bit of masala here, a little tadka there. We need to learn how to soup up things. Plain vanilla is boring,’ he said. He said the best fish was to be got from troubled waters.
But some disagree. ‘I have a beef with what the topper said. Cooking is part and parcel of politics, but she shouldn’t have spilled the beans,’ said the veteran. ‘And now they have turned up the heat and she is toast,’ he added. Another guy said no, the girl was a hot potato and she should be dropped like one. ‘Besides, too many cooks spoil the broth,’ he added. A thoughtful chap said while the whole thing was food for thought, her goose was now cooked and she was now dead meat. He then warned the veteran that he could be lynched for possessing beef.
A communist said that while Mao had said a revolution is not a dinner party, he hadn’t mentioned whether it was lunch and lunch involved cooking. An egghead said one couldn’t make omelettes without breaking eggs. A big fish said the girl should now make humble pie and eat it. A small fry said all politicians needed to learn the art of buttering up and currying favour and know which side their bread was buttered. He added they must also know how to sugarcoat things for their bosses, while making mincemeat of the opposition, rubbing salt in their wounds and ensuring they have egg on their faces.
A politician who was no spring chicken summed up the sentiment by saying the girl certainly knows her onions but she must learn how to save one’s bacon and to have her cake and eat it too. ‘That would bring home the bacon and be the icing on the cake,’ he said, before pushing off, saying he had other fish to fry.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
The views expressed are personal