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With a few tricks more

There is much to learn from politicians about how to obfuscate issues, create problems and arouse alarm. But once we have got that technique pat, we columnists can also raise that niggling issue of holidays, writes Kushalrani Gulab.

india Updated: Nov 03, 2008 20:03 IST
Kushalrani Gulab
Kushalrani Gulab
Hindustan Times

w&*d$h24&fre!!$4@lkdvb. No, I’m not attempting to get around the rule that says columnists are not to swear and curse in public. I’m just trying to type with my eyes shut. Not because I’m practising the touch-typing technique (I can manage quite well with two fingers, thank you), but because my eyelids are so heavy, even toothpicks can’t prop them up.

If you’re at all curious about why I’m trying to type with my eyes shut, it’s because of a grave injustice that no columnist has ever mentioned before on pain of having his or her mugshot deleted from the newspaper’s photo library. Which is this: Columnists never get holidays. Even when they are on holiday, which I happen to be at this time. So even though I still have two days — i.e., two afternoon naps — to go before I return to my desk and my vitally important, world-shaping task as a journalist of wondering whether the comma in the middle of that sentence should be replaced by a semicolon, I’m forced to give up one of my precious post-lunch snoozes not only to edify you, dear reader, but also to save Ye Ed the trouble of seeking another mug to fill this space.

Given how sleepy I am (fish curry and rice for lunch), it’s no wonder that I didn’t swear and curse in the opening paragraph of this piece. I just don’t have the energy. And it’s also no wonder that I’m wondering why I decided to be a journalist and didn’t become a politician instead. Because politicians have it easy. All they have to do is stir up trouble and then, when the trouble is well and truly established and so are they on their gaddis, immediately go to sleep and forget about that troublesome thing called effective administration.

The biggest example of this at the moment is of course the Raj Thackeray-north Indian issue, in which everyone is busy accusing each other of politicising everything in sight — thus adding more tangles to a topic that already resembles a ball of knitting wool after a couple of kittens have played with it — but not doing much to actually sort out the problem. Maybe because they’ve just had enormous meals?

Whatever it is, I’ve decided to take my own first steps in the world of politics with an issue of my own — holidays for columnists. But I need help coming up with the requisite tangles of politicisation, so I’ve turned to P.G. Wodehouse, my most favourite humour writer in the whole world, who can introduce more twists in a tale than a hairstylist working on a permanent wave for corkscrew curls could ever hope to achieve.

I have his entire Jeeves and Wooster series and, even as I laugh hysterically through these books, I’m also taking notes on how to obfuscate issues, create problems and generally arouse alarm and despondency in the souls of all around me. And once I’ve got the technique pat, Ye Ed had better watch out. Soon I’ll be taking afternoon naps.

First Published: Nov 03, 2008 20:00 IST