In this season of storms, the media has been displaying signs of disaster relief. For, just when it was beginning to sigh with some relief following frantic footage of storms on the beach, there were storms brewing on account of the breach. Breach of public decency, breach of dignity and what knot.
Whilst Hurricane Sandy and Storm Neelam were deluging much of the media turf, there unleashed a storm that emanated from a verbal disturbance in a western hub of India and had its epicentre in the chief ministerial vocal chords of a certain Modi. Nah, not the Modi of the Indian Premier League but the Modi of the Insulting Parliamentarian's Lady-love (IPL) fame: Narendra Modi.
Modi's caustic comment calling newly-anointed minister of state for human resource development (HRD) Shashi Tharoor's better half a Rs. 50-crore girlfriend sparked a storm of such intensity that it threatened to impact the "power" situation as much as the storms lashing the coasts of Connecticut or Chennai. Stiff competition to Storm Sandy in enticing eyeballs thus emanated from Storm Eye-candy.
Storm Eye-candy saw sections of the media again swing into disaster dissemination, with full-throated footage of the damage that the verbal deluge erupting from the epicentre in Gujarat had caused to the dignity of Indian womanhood and to the decorum of political discourse.
When Modi-1 comes to hog the headlines, can Modi-2 be far behind? Well-versed with being in the eye of a storm several seasons ago, the other Modi Lalit Modi thought it best to fan the brewing storm over his bête noire's lady love with his own tweet nothings, taunting that Tharoor's eye-candy was not worth Rs. 50-crore but was a Rs. 100-crore acquisition.
The two Modis reeled off figures of crores as though they were spelling out sums for the prize money of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC). And tamasha TV made much ado about the Modis as though it was staging a new reality show: Kaun Bana Crore Pati!
As the media-mounted show Kaun Bana Crore Pati progressed, Storm Sunanda regressed. Tharoor tried to arrest the spate of hate with a swell of a retort that Kaun Bana Crore Pati wasn't about winning crores, it was about things "priceless".
At this point, putting in a cameo in the picture was Congress troubleshooter Digvijay Singh, who proved to be handy in turning the tide against the BJP biggie housed in the land of March Dandi. This Digvijay did by lashing out not just in defence of the dignity of Indian womanhood but also Cupid by single-ing out Narendra Modi.
For, it was about Modi's single status that Digvijay raised the million-dollar question: Had Cupid really given the Gujarat chief ministerial incumbent a "miss"?
The twist in this episode of Kaun Bana Crore Pati again sent tamasha news into a tizzy, switching with single-minded devotion to figuring out the "couple" of factors to which the Modi hate spate owed its origin.
Barely had the shake-up, not along our southern coast but at the Centre, taken place in this season of storms that saw some going power-less and some getting "power", and scarcely had new ministers been anointed that up came the matter of the MLA.
This certainly wasn't about legislative matters but about ministerial nomenclatures that could also carry the acronym MLA. And the man to contribute to the Indian political vocabulary this "double" speak was none other than BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who spelt out an ingenious idea that the new minister of state for HRD Shashi Tharoor was better suited to be designated minister for love affairs (MLA).
This was surely not a storm showing signs of subsiding, for scarcely had the paparazzi paused dishing out spliced sound bytes on Sunanda by Modi, Tharoor and Naqvi that there was a wild-card entry on Kaun Bana Crore Pati in the shape of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Barkha Shukla Singh. That she stormed into the show by zeroing in on the epicentre and getting wild at Narendra Modi made Barkha not only an activist with sound and fury but also one in a hurry. A hurry to hear a public apology from Modi.
So, will Hurry-cane Barkha turn the tide, or the tirade, in favour of Sunanda?
The writer is a Chandigarh-based columnist