Thursday, July 04, 2013

Spare me this day self-promotion by celebrities, Beelzebub.

Yesterday must have been my bad scare day. No, the Lord of the Flies did not intrude in my early-morning dream. I woke up much later than usual, though. Thirty past six, to be exact. Like me, the newsboy too arrived late. But that’s hardly unusual for him. As I was doing some stuff on my PC, I did not get my hands on Bombay Times, my habitual entrĂ©e to daily news read via its comic strips till well past nine forty-five or thereabouts. As (bad) luck would have it, on turning the faux front page my eyes were ambushed by a headline that said: “I apologized to Milkhaji’s wife for not having written a love song for her”. Without a thought for the consequences and breaking my habit of reading nothing except the comic strips and the SMS Joke in Bombay Times, I plunged headlong into one of the most skillfully plotted pieces of celebrity self-promotion I have come across in my whole life. Were you to accept all that you read in it, you will no doubt arrive at the following conclusions:
1. Unlike other mere mortals, Prasoon Joshi was born with a silver pen – not spoon − in his mouth.
2. Despite PJ’s parents’ assiduous efforts at gathering kafal – a berry specie nearing extinction – to feed him and despite PJ’s own ability to hear the faintly murmured message from Mother Nature about the coming extinction, poor kafal went the way of all flesh. Alas, in spite of his super hearing abilities beyond the ken of mere mortals, PJ could not save his beloved Uttarakhand in its hour of direst need when Mother Nature was shrieking at the top of her voice. I guess even super heroes have their bad hear days. What a sad PJ, sirji!
3. In the best of Bollywood and telly tradition, our hero had a widowed, white sari-wearing nani who educated herself against all odds, became first a teacher and later the school’s head honcho. With a Grade-A singer cum book author in Pahadi for a mom and a Director of Education for a dad, our hero with his exclusive nighttime access to a library in Meerut was well set to become a Grade-A jingle writer.
4. Our hero is far superior, in his own reckoning, to his erstwhile boss who he says is a patriarch. (Oh, oh! We know where this is leading to with violence against women hogging the daily headlines, don’t we?) Our hero also says that he has “no ego when it comes to accepting women as equals. Of course, our hero has magnanimously accepted his former boss’s difficulty in treating him as his equal. Needless to say, our hero confesses to being more into music and poetry than his ex-boss as also to needing his space and silence as compared to his ex-boss’s preference for being "always" surrounded by “more and more people”. So who is the better and more sensitive human being, boys and girls? Tell me, tell me.
5. In his infinite compassion for the female of the species, PJ actually said sorry to Mrs. Milkha Singh for not excluding her from a film on her husband.
6. The only reason our hero tolerates Mumbai: his idol Gulzar also lives there. He is not there for the money, folks – the filthy lucre that he gets for writing ad jingles and film songs, and, now film scripts.  
One could go on and on like this until one puked all over the page at the sheer gall of it all. Running down others is no way to prove one’s superiority as a human being. Equally, no amount of fudging with facts or playing with words no matter how poetically you do it can achieve it, either.

But celebrity can turn one’s head, I guess. Your sense of entitlement gets grossly and unhealthily enhanced. You want the world to acknowledge your greatness, your superiority every waking moment. You deserve it, damn it! If worse comes to worse, there is always the pay-as-you-go route. I’m told many publications don’t mind bending the rules these days. News mimicking ads, you see.