Every now and then Pertie says something that takes me by surprise. So you can imagine how I felt when last week he rang to talk about politicians. To be honest, I thought he paid no attention to them. I would certainly never have guessed he had been closely observing their behaviour. How little I knew him.
He began in a soft disarming voice. But the calm in his manner only disguised the careful preparation behind his conversation. This was not a flippant or casual phone call.
“Did you realise BJP MLAs are just like the rest of us? Now, if all politicians are like that, I think we’ve misunderstood the lot. I, for one, am ready to change my view.”
“What are you on about?” I muttered quite perplexed.
“They watch porn! What’s even more incredible is they know how to do it on a laptop or a mobile phone. I bet your Nokia isn’t up to such high-tech performances!”
I must admit I was stumped. I simply didn’t know what to say. So I said the obvious. “Why are you so impressed with that?”
“Because we’re no different. None of us is shy of watching a bit of porn. We’re just scared of getting caught. Except neither you nor I thought BJP politicians, or any others for that matter, were like that. Now we discover we’re all the same.”
It was a strange equivalence but a telling one nonetheless. Pertie had just promoted BJP MLAs to the jeunesse dorèe, a category he had so far reserved for people like us. Actually he was ready to admit all politicians to this hallowed class. But that wasn’t all. His admiration went decidedly further.
“The remarkable thing is they watch the stuff in the assembly! That’s like you and me watching porn at work. The sheer insouciance of it is positively delightful.”
“Oh come,” I remonstrated. “Now you’re really going over the top. Why are you making so much of the location?”
“Because of the audacity of it!” Pertie initially paused for this to sink in but then thought better of it and quickly continued. “In fact, the truth is you and I wouldn’t have the guts to do anything similar. We’d call it ethics or decency but we just wouldn’t have the courage or confidence to pull it off.”
“Well, you might be won over but it’s got both the Karnataka and the Gujarat MLAs in serious trouble. They could end up losing their seats in the assembly.”
Pertie scoffed at this. “You don’t for a moment believe that, do you? No one’s going to expel them from the assembly. What’s more there are millions, tens of millions, of young voters whose admiration for this lot has just shot up.”
“You mean you think they’ve improved their re-election chances?” The scepticism in my tone was clearly audible.
“Not only that,” Pertie shot back. “This sort of thing is going to proliferate. And I wouldn’t be surprised if a few older ones soon join in. This could prove irresistible.”
“So what’s your final conclusion?”. Frankly, my head was spinning and I needed to get to the end of his calculations before it completely fell off.
“Politicians are changing faster than you and I can tell. Next, a few will be marching out of the closet while we simply gape and stare. But the bit I find most ironic is that the dear old Hindu-rashtra BJP is leading the way!”
Views expressed by the author are personal