Among the present crop of Union Ministers, only Shashi Tharoor has the natural talent and easy expertise that appeal to serious and erudite newspaper editors and compel them to give him screaming headlines in bold typeface. What could that talent be? Well, good looks.
A Raja, the redoubtable Union Minister for Corruption and Scandals, should be the one who merits all the attraction. Raja has his fingers in every pie and paise. But Raja also has the personality of barren wooden closet. So Raja, despite reports that he has steadfastly amassed a fortune good enough to richly deserve the honour of the government appointing for him a personal Finance Minister, hardly gets a look in.
In contrast, it is conceivable that not many people know, and this certainly includes all the journalists, as to in which Ministry Shashi Tharoor is operating. For the record, Tharoor is the Minister of (Note to news desk: Please google and find Tharoor’s designation and fill it here).
Still you will see news reports on Shashi Tharoor as to how he is the only Minister who has an active Twitter account. The beauty here is that a majority of Indian population, again I mean to include journalists, have only a passing knowledge of what Twitter is. (Twitter, for the record, is an extremely convenient communication and social media tool, which puts to use the limitless possibility of internet, which is to look extremely busy even when nothing of practical use is accomplished).
Yet, before any one can understand what Tharoor is really up to, and what Twitter actually represents, another report comes along saying that the Union Ministry is worried that Tharoor’s Tweets are a security risk to the nation.
Well, as I was saying, Tharoor gets to hog news space simply because he has a mug that is seen to be attractive and presentable. And, Indian journalism operates on the inviolable principle that if a face can be deemed beautiful, then the rest of the person to which the face belongs must be extremely skillful and smart. This reasoning, of course, forms the foundation of the pillar of modern publication industry: Page 3 journalism, a public-spirited cause for which newspapers have assiduously dedicated themselves by regularly featuring brave men and women in laughable dresses but redeemed by the fact that they can pose unembarrassed with their liquor glasses and matching stupidity.
Open any party column in any newspaper and scan for even an ounce of practical news or sensible information, you will not find any. To put it in precise terms, there will not be even a single thing that can be classified to come under journalism. That such a trend is the rage tells you all about how a sense of assumed beautifulness can override everything else including common sense.
At this point, I am compelled to bring in Michael Jackson, a man who died chasing the dream of beauty, despite the fact that with every surgery he became less human, but more plastic that he may have had to requisition the services of a chemical engineer than a medical doctor for treating physical ailments. His was a case of all is war in love for fair, if you get my drift.
Why do you think he was desperate to look fair and white? Simple. The fire accident that stubbed out his hair also scratched out his brains. No, Wacko Jacko knew that by being white and fair, and for this he would not have minded even implanting or embedding white marble chips on his face and running a polishing machine over them, he had a good chance of not only appearing scary but also stupid, qualities that are always a huge attraction for journalists to regularly feature in newspapers. Exhibit A: Rakhi Sawant.
Jackson actually did not seem to try enough. For instance, he could have had his face simply painted with Nerolac white emulsion, a technique that sure would have served him better than the interminable plastic surgeries he had, which could be construed a success only if the intention of the doctors was to prepare his face to be a live specimen for cartoonists’ caricature.
Jackson, it can be revealed any time soon, died of his nose crashing down unable to bear the weight of his make-up and blocking whatever passage that allows normal humans to inhale and exhale. Jackson, if he really wanted to look white and come across as an anaemic mannequin, certainly needed for himself a personal Fair & Lovely company, something which only Raja can presumably afford.
MJ eventually ended up with a visage that conceivably put the fear in the minds of Martians from invading and taking over the entirety of Earth.
Martian I: Okay, let’s head towards Earth. They all seem so harmless. We have nothing to be afraid of.
Martian II: No, wait. Have a look at this. This looks dangerous and dire
And needless to say, the Martian was pointing his fingers at, yes you guessed it right, the photo of T Rajendher. It was a still from Veerasamy, a movie that probably forced the Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts to give two Oscars to India this year. They gave the Oscars thankful that Veerasamy was not in the running.
See that is the power of a face. Rajiv Gandhi, even when the Bofors kitty was being squirreled away, could face the nation and claim total innocence, and the nation believed him because he was fair-skinned. It was as if the nation was reasoning: ‘He is white, how can he have black money?’. Well, the fixation for whiteness perhaps erodes brain cells.
So if you can help it, grow a fair face. If not, well, at least take recourse to a clown’s mask. At least that’s what I have done.
(This is my column for the week)