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The rumours and reality of Rajya Sabha members

I laud the decision to induct Sachin Tendulkar in the Rajya Sabha. To construe it as a reward for his spectacular performance in cricket would be unfair. Khushwant Singh writes.

columns Updated: May 13, 2012 01:45 IST

I laud the decision to induct Sachin Tendulkar in the Rajya Sabha. To construe it as a reward for his spectacular performance in cricket would be unfair. Our Parliament needs a sportsman of his stature to highlight our low rating as a country in the world of sports. Apart from cricket and badminton, we hardly count among the sporting nations. He will devise ways and means to instill the need to improve our rating into the minds of school and college students. It would be a step in the right direction. His being in the Rajya Sabha need not interfere with his playing in test matches. He can continue with his cricket and bring glory to his country. At the same time he can make the country more conscious of the necessity of being reckoned among the world's top sporting nations. I wish him the best of luck as a Member of Parliament.

I also laud the electors of Jharkhand in refusing to give SS Ahluwalia another term in the Upper House. He is an impressive looking, prosperous Sardar from Patna. He is also a party-hopper with no loyalties except his own self. He made his presence known by the hangamas created in the House. His performance of 12 years in parliament could be written behind the proverbial postage stamp.

More Than Your Match
I have a very low I.Q. and barely managed to scrape through the exams I had to take. Naturally, I held toppers in high esteem and always respected them. These include P.M. Manmohan Singh, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, head of the Planning Commission, and his wife Isher. I looked up Isher's bio-data and found some amusing facts. Her great grand father was Wadhawa Singh, a household name as the greatest achaar (pickle) maker of Punjab. My father relished his carrot and shalgham and shalgham-gobhi achaars and consumed them in great quantities with his evening meal. As a result, he often got a sore throat and spoke with a hoarse voice. I recall a New Years' Eve when he proclaimed to his family that his New Year's

resolution was to quit eating Wadhawa Singh's achaars. They rarely lasted more than a fortnight; and he was back to his old eating habits. Isher's parents migrated to Indore in the 1940s. She was one of ten siblings, nine sisters and a brother. After a spell in Indore, the family migrated to Calcutta in 1950. She did her schooling in a Marwari girls school, Shikshayatan. Her upbringing was of an orthodox Sikh. She learnt her daily prayers by heart and learnt to sing

keertan in the Gurmat Prachar Society. While his sisters studied up to the intermediate class and were married off, Isher won a scholarship and joined Presidency college. Then she moved to Delhi and did her M.A. in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics. Among her teachers was Amartya Sen. He encouraged her to apply for admission to the Massachusettes Institute of Technology (MIT) for a scholarship and she got it. However, she had to borrow money for travel expenses.

It was in the summer of 1970 that she met Montek who had a job in the World Bank. They fell for each other. Years later when Montek received the Sikh of the Year Award in London, she was asked to say a few words. She said: "main sikhaan vicchon sikh chunia" (I choose the first among the Sikhs).

Isher and Montek have two sons, Pavan (34) and Aman (32) and a daughter-in-law Shilpa who is half Punjabi, half Maharashtrian. And two grandsons, Veer (2 ½ years old) and Angad who is five months old.

A Late Starter
There was a football match between the mice and the insects. At half time the score was six all, and at the end it was eleven-ten in favour of the mice. After the match, all the insects went to their star player centipede's cave and shouted: "Why didn't you turn up for the match? Because of you we lost the game."

"I've been putting my boots on," said the centipede.

Late retaliation
Q:If Pakistan had the capacity to go nuclear, why did it take them 15 days after India's blasts at Pokhran to show it could do one better?

Ans: The instructions were in Chinese and they had to wait for the arrival of a linguist from Beijing who could translate them into English.

(Contributed by Anirban Sen, New Delhi)

Drunkard Journalist
"Khushwant Singh drinks only twice, when it rains and when it doesn't rain."

Although at present the age is not in his side, only one peg is just like an eye drops for him. My neighbour burst into laughter.
(Contributed by Ramesh Kotian, Udupi)

(The views expressed by the author are personal.)

First Published: May 13, 2012 01:44 IST