My interview with Madame S

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to any person or incident is purely intentional and made with the express purpose of infusing some humor into the current situation 🙂

The Marathi vs. Non-Marathi issue is heating up again; and so its time to speak to some ‘intellectual’ Maharashtrians. And if you are talking about Mumbai’s intellectuals, how can you miss Madame S. Madame S is intellectual, fashionista, socialite, controversy all incarnate. And though she has for long been a Maharashtrian in denial, she admits that the ‘dynamic’ Raj Thackeray has reminded her of her roots. I went to meet her one fine afternoon. She descended all decked up in the latest of fashion, which was nothing but a rehash of the bold beads, bright colors, flower generation look. Here’s an excerpt of our small talk.

KI:
Madam S, how lovely to see you (fake plastic smile in place). You know Ma’am, up until now, I never knew you were a Maharashtrachi Mulgi. You were such a ‘cosmopolitan’ figure. Why this sudden pride in the Marathi culture?

Madame S:
Oh darling, I always do whatever is the ‘in’ thing. You see, in the last few days, the only thing talked about in Mumbai is Raj Thackeray’s ideology. And I seriously believe in the principle of reflected glory. If you cant be the sun, be the moon. Soak up the limelight, and reflect it as your own darling.

KI:
Oh, so you mean you are talking about this now because it is in ‘fashion’? You mean you don’t believe it?

Madame S:
Believe (laughs out loud). Belief is the opium of the masses dear. I am above all these common man things like belief. What we do is talk about X when all the world is talking about Y and by doing that, we make Y into a trend and a belief. Everyone of my ‘intellectual’ friends was busy talking against Raj. Now, if even I joined them, how would the world see me as a trendsetter. I need to be the one starting and heating up things baby. Raj has the ammo and the fuel, and while the fire is raging, I thought why not warm myself in it.

KI:
I get it Ma’am. But surely, you have lived in this city for so long and you are a Maharashtrian, so naturally you love the Marathi language. I completely empathise with your anguish when you say that no one talks to you in Marathi anymore.

Madame S:
Darling, again you don’t understand. You see sweetheart, when I was a youngster, English was the language that very few could speak. It was considered elite to know how to speak English. But now, every Ramu, Shyamu and Gonu speaks English. Where is the novelty in it anymore? Now, Marathi is the rarity. Though my upper class education taught me to look down upon it when I was young; I have realized that it is what will make me stand out today. And since I was born into it, I think I should use it to my advantage baby. In fact, in our next kitty, we are going to have a Name It in Marathi contest. The winner will be crowned Bhoomiputra and the loser will be called ‘Bhaiyaa’. Don’t you think that’s a cool idea?

KI:
(still confused) Ohhhh ok, but surely you have taught your children the language, so that they might also use it to their … ummm… advantage?

Madame S:
(laughs and gives me a ‘poor you’ look) Why should I teach them Marathi? They don’t plan to live here anyway. They are already on their way to becoming NRMs (non-resident Mumbaikars). My children will live all over Europe. You see, these days its fashionable to be an Asian intellectual in Europe. And once you establish your brand as an intellectual, no one ever questions your rights and wrongs, because anything you say is important and starts a trend. (Makes a face like a cat purring after getting a bowl full of milk)

KI:
Err…ummm…let me get this right, you are not a genuine supporter of the Marathi cause…
(interrupting me)

Madame S:
Sweetheart, only brands can be adjudged as genuine or fake. Like this bag you see, its genuine Gucci. Nothing else is ever genuine (gives me the benign ‘you new generation idealists’ look). And now, sweetie, I have to leave. I have a botox appointment. And one more thing, if you ever meet Raj, do tell him he is really ‘hot’ but he needs to wear more fashionable glasses. Ta-da baby.

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