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Eligible bachelor

Barely 32, member of the Congress’s Gen Next brigade Jitin Prasada is an “eligible bachelor” who has his focus on everything but marriage, writes Kumkum Chadha.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2007 01:18 IST

Barely 32, member of the Congress’s Gen Next brigade Jitin Prasada is an “eligible bachelor” who has his focus on everything but marriage. His sister, Janhavi, can tell you how his heart was always up for sale even as he plays down his “fun guy” image. “Don’t paint me as a non-serious guy,” he pleads, as he wants to come across as a focused politician.

This is why marriage is not on his mind. Nor are the embarrassing moments, including one on Valentine’s Day some years ago. Mention red roses and he will blush. Ask him how often he went down on his knees to propose and he squeaks, “No... no... nothing like that!” Yet, there was this girl he fancied. On Valentine’s Day he asked her out to a nightclub. With his father, the late Jitendra Prasada, keeping him on a shoe-string budget, Jitin could neither afford the cover charge nor play the host there. It was his uncle who came to his rescue, offering to smuggle them in. An elated Jitin, with girlfriend, waited at the entrance and kept waiting. His uncle did not turn up and an embarrassed Jitin spent the evening apologising to the girl. If there was any chance of making a headway with her, it was now ruined.

Heartbreak apart, if Jitin falls in love with a Bengali girl, she will have a tough time — naming their children appropriately, for instance. While the Bengali girl may have a tough time dealing with his distaste for mustard oil, the second problem may arise from the family fixation with the letter ‘J’. “I think we are left with Jack, Jill, Jane or John,” he jokes. Several generations of the Prasada family have ‘J’ names. His great-grandfather had the letter embossed on every cutlery and utensil. The family has another obsession: the number nine. It is there everywhere — Jitin’s house in New Delhi, his cars, his landlines...

As for mustard oil, he hates it. So feed him machher jhol or bhaja in mustard oil at your own risk. Serve him greens and you will find them thrown out of the window. He was sent to boarding school to be “straightened out” (read: to learn to eat better). His parents had a tough time because nine out of ten times he went hungry. Either the food was “smelling”, or it was “green”, or there was a dash of coriander. So at boarding school, Jitin stuck to potatoes and rice, often sneaking out to eat bun-and-omelette by the roadside.

Jitin wears a yellow sapphire because his mother wants him to. He is surrounded by shree yantras as his mother believes they will protect him. He wears a black thread around his neck because his mother has asked him to. “I do what my mother wants me to,” he says unabashedly. Ask his mother and she says, “He is a coconut: coarse outside and tender within.”