Touching Bhidya Balon


The Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee, is seen here decorating the Bollywood film star, Vidya Balan, with the Padma Shri last Monday.

I wikipediaed the Padma Shris of 2014 and found that I don’t know any of the winners personally. There are arts personalities, social workers, cricketers, engineers, cardiologists, movie stars and even a kabaddi player. Craps, I don’t even know the kabaddi player personally.

Imagine you live six decades and never get to call even a single winner a personal friend or even an acquaintance. I checked the 2013 and the 2012 lists, no dice. They definitely haven’t heard of me. I am so insignificant. No one who is worth anything, knows me.

In this photo, the Pres is trying to retain that tight smile on his face as he clutches his right arm with his left, so it doesn’t suddenly acquire a mind of its own and stray. If I were him, I’d pretend I was feeling faint and stumble, with eyes open. What? Old men have dizzy spells sometimes.

A blindly loyal retainer for 50 years, Pranab Mukherjee has been to the Gandhi family what Martin Bormann was, to Hitler and Dick Cheney to the Bush family. No one has ever figured out what goes on inside Mukherjee’s mind, so inscrutable he always has been.

He has been Minister of Defense, Minister of Finance, Minister of External Affairs and held and squeezed at least half a billion Indian testicles in a political career spanning six decades. (If you make the mistake of asking him how India could be in this sorry a state even 70 years after independence, he’ll launch into an “Eendia ij ay beeg nation bhith more than wun beeleeyon peepul. It is bhery diphikult to manage, you know.”)

Oh yes, Pranabda has had his fingers in just about everything.

Monday, we realized that there are still pies that his fingers haven’t yet been in. We caught him pinning something on Vidya Balan’s chest, probably a ‘say-o-to-oral-sex’ button. Who knows? Maybe Pranabda is a secret campaigner for quirky causes. Bormann loved kinky sex, didn’t he? And Cheney? Let’s not go there, okay? I have trouble getting sleep these days, as it is.

Maybe Vidya should have appeared for the ceremony in the nude. Just imagine Pranabda whipping out his cell and calling Soniaji, “ Madam, in spite oph my best ephorts, I am unable to award Shrimati Balon the Podmo Shri. There ij shimply nobhere to peen eet on. Bhot sud I do?”

Meanwhile, Pranabda is mesmerized by Vidya Balan’s bubbli boos. They seem to be trying ta communicate with him. His hand trembles as it enters a kind of event horizon, a force field.

There’s a wump..wump..wump.. sound in the background and its growing louder. The ITBP hunk behind him snoops around. Turns out it is Pranabda’s pacemaker. The stretcher bearer and the ambulance man in the corner, stub out their cigarettes and straighten up. They’re going to have to put in for overtime.

Moral of the story? You never really know a man until you shove a pair of baobabs in his face.


Old men are dirty.

I should know.


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