Good news! You may finally understand more than your favourite MLA’s favourite expletives in his speech on the microphone. Even better news – he may not dig for gold in his nose in front of you any more. As good fortune has it, MLAs, municipal councillors and aspiring candidates for the forthcoming elections are swarming finishing schools. From a puny Rs. 50,000 to a punier Rs. 4 lakh, a host of “shine-up-my-personality” activities are much in demand - public speaking and how to handle stage fright, body-language, self-promotion, gentleman etiquette, and then the more important ones like how to get down from stage, hair cut analysis, necessity of shaving, power yoga, how to do namaskar and the most important session of all, how to tackle allegations.
Some of them are designed especially to lure the female vote-bank into thinking them clean-shaven, well-mannered, family-men, with such correct movements of body that instill in us confidence enough to trust them fully with our votes, our support and with our everyday well-being, all together.
As a member of the female vote-bank, I have the following list of suggestions for them, for free:
1. If you want to lead India but suffer from stage fright, avoid wearing lungi (and its cousins) no matter how much you love it and no matter how hot it is on speech day. They certainly don’t go together. Knocking knees show more easily when exposed. Also, the finer the cotton the more exaggerated the knocking appears. (c.f. Prabhu Deva) Hence, best avoided if you shiver and shudder standing 10 feet above lesser mortals. If totally unavoidable, well, go ahead then. Just make sure the knees and much more doesn’t show. For the latter, sit cross-legged at all times.
2. An itch is an itch, whether it’s the 7 year one or that 7 second one exactly in the wrong place and at the wrong time. If you’re rearing to go and scratch, quickly get your hands and mind busy with some other activity – say, cleaning your ears for instance. Apart from it being a common activity on a lazy day in politics, it’s an even more constructive one than just scratching, since you’ll go home feeling much cleaner in the ear and lighter in the head. Plus, research says it’s a vicarious way of taking other itches away. No harm in trying, I say.
3. Noses are important. When we enter politics, it’s our nose which is usually to be kept out of all kinds of dirt and mess. Our nose is at stake always - the higher we keep it, the less untouchable we get. All the more important that we keep them clean if it’s our nostrils we point at everyone else! However, when cleaning nose sitting behind another delivering his speech, make sure the burp from that lunch-break is kept in check. You can’t afford to wrongly upset your party colleague by making him think you are emanating strange voco-nasal sounds as he talks of shining nirman in India. Fighting in the nose should never translate into infighting in the party.
4. Prosperity deposits itself in bellies. The more prosperous your business of politics, the bigger the pot you carry around the waist, one assumes. Buttons on coats often rebel from closing in such cases, hence, avoid having buttons on your coats altogether. In an oft-hidden case of endangering another’s life, an MLA who managed to close the top button of his coat (in keeping with the proper norm) almost popped the speaker’s eye out when his button popped - as he stood in the House, opposing the ruling and getting opposed in turn as he flung his arms and legs here and there and a few objects too. It’s best to wear starched white patriotic kurtas in days of physical activity in the well. Not just low on maintenance, but also safe when in heated company.
5. Lastly, make sure you bathe, shave and use antiperspirant as often as possible in your busy schedule. Works well with both women and men, and gives you a look cleaner than may suit you. Use mild incense for morning puja. You may have pleased the deity for that day, but you won’t please too many if you look like an incense and smell like one too.
Thank you for your patient (and clean) ears Neta ji. You are ‘finished’ for Session 1, day 1.
Happy politicking! (Oh no! I don't mean those ticks.)