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  Opinion   Columnists  03 Nov 2023  Shobhaa De | Diwali dhamakas galore… amid Mahua soap opera!

Shobhaa De | Diwali dhamakas galore… amid Mahua soap opera!

Published : Nov 3, 2023, 11:55 pm IST
Updated : Nov 4, 2023, 12:14 am IST

Even without the haze, there is a great deal of toxicity out there, folks.

Delhi's air quality slips to 'severe' category. (AA File Image)
 Delhi's air quality slips to 'severe' category. (AA File Image)

We are already a bit too close for comfort to THE year (Elections 2024), which will determine the direction our beloved country formerly known as India, now Bharat, is headed. But for now, our obsession is on the World Cup 2023 series -- haar ya jeet. India’s very astute and sensible captain, the redoubtable Rohit Sharma, has got his fundas in place. He is not a braggart. Nor is he a megalomaniac. “It will take only one match for me to be labelled a bad captain,” Sharma said in a recent interview. He also added: “When I open, I always remember the score board starts from zero…’’ Spoken like a true leader. On a personal note, Sharma’s in-laws are our neighbours. I have frequently seen Sharma on the premises, especially during the difficult Covid-19 years, when he would unselfconsciously spread his exercise mat on the lawn, along with other health-conscious residents, and go through his routine, minus fuss. It is this very attitude of practicality and good faith that motivates his boys on the field. When Sharma expresses his concern about the alarming Mumbai haze and the falling AQI levels, he speaks on behalf of all of us gasping and choking for breath in this over-developed metropolis (monsterpolis), where nothing else matters but real estate. Add the coastal road and metro work to that, and what one gets is s constant blanket of toxic dust.

Even without the haze, there is a great deal of toxicity out there, folks. Pick your poison. But wait till after Diwali and like the BCCI has done --ban or restrict fireworks, which only vitiate an already vitiated environment. Till then, let’s enjoy stalking our favourite movie stars as they celebrate Karwa Chauth and prep for the Festival of Lights. There’s nothing as deliciously distracting, even intoxicating, as our Bollywood folks on parade in the flashiest of outfits. Sometimes, I idly wonder if some of them have red carpets permanently placed in their homes, just to rehearse and get the critical moment right when they pose for paps at high-profile public events. Now that the classic fashion brand Balenciaga is officially here at the just opened Jio Luxury Mall, a crash course in the correct pronunciation of a few iconic couture brands may help our gorgeous stars. It’s one thing wearing a particular brand, quite another to master how it’s pronounced. Try Spanish brand “Loewe”, for starters. It’s one of the oldest luxury brands in the world, founded in 1846 in Madrid, making purses and handbags for Spanish royalty. Or, the iconic Italian brand “Elsa Schiaparelli”, launched in 1927.

Meanwhile, the MM (Mahua Moitra, not Marilyn Monroe) saga drags on. I’m feeling bad for Neha Hiranandani, who has been advised to delay the launch of her second book, while all this funny business surrounding her husband Darshan and his association with Trinamul Congress MP Mahua Moitra continues to hog headlines. Nishikant Dubey, the BJP MP who filed a complaint against Ms Moitra, has said: “Sharing login details is a violation of the contract MPs sign with the National Informatics Centre (NIC)”. He claimed that 47 logins were made to Ms Moitra’s account from the Dubai office of businessman Darshan Hiranandani. Ms Moitra has not denied sharing her mail ID and password with her good friend in Dubai, BUT minus any quid pro quo. She’s also added that it was “normal” for MPs to let others use their parliamentary logins. If she is indeed right in making this claim, surely THAT is a far bigger issue than Ms Moitra accepting a silk scarf, lipstick and eyeshadow (madam, do share the shade cards for both) from Darshan Hiranandani. If this is an established practice amongst MPs, it calls for an urgent national enquiry that can open up an entire factory -- not just a can -- of worms. Such a flagrant disregard for parliamentary procedures from the elected representatives of the people constitutes a serious security breach. Shouldn’t more noise be made around this revelation?

But then, going after Mahua Moitra amounts to going after Mamata. Period. The BJP’s bete noir in West Bengal has not thrown Ms Moitra under the bus so far -- the CM can’t afford to take such an action. It’s a little like cutting one’s nose to spite the face. It will damage the TMC still further by providing timely (and deadly) ammo to embarrass all interested parties.

Not to be cowed down this easily, Ms Moitra is putting up a spirited defence by going on the offensive. She wants the “bribe giver” (Darshan) to offer substantial evidence. She also wants to cross-examine Darshan herself. Let’s hope he has preserved all the bills for the scarf and cosmetics. Oh… the dog in the dispute has been silenced for now. Neither Henry’s bark nor his bite will be cross-examined. Let sleeping dogs lie… being the more sober approach in this peculiar custody battle.

Those who know Ms Moitra are batting for her fiercely, suggesting that she is like a “lost puppy in search of love”, and a far cry from the conniving, hard, heartless woman which the media makes her out to be. Don’t know about the “lost puppy” angle, but it’s pretty obvious that Mahua, the glib smart talker, is not terribly shrewd when it comes to trust and relationship issues. Had she been a toughie, she would have known better than to befriend seasoned businessmen and entrust such folks with something as sensitive as her MP mail ID and password. What was she even thinking? The only clear loser in this nasty scandal is Mahua Moitra herself. The men will waltz away unscathed, while she will be left holding the can for her monumental indiscretion.

 So… who’s the dumbo in this soap opera? Certainly not Darshan. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out who’s got his back. Forget Ms Moitra’s “silly ex-” (to quote the inimitable Kangana Ranaut’s putdown of Hrithik Roshan) and his role in this mess. It is the lovely Ms Moitra herself who may have over-stepped this time by getting involved with men who figured out her emotional chinks and played her.

Let’s hope Diwali ends on a more optimistic note for all. Lifting the World Cup will definitely top the list of Diwali gifts for India. Go for it, Men in Blue. Jeeto, Bharat, Jeeto… And Mahua… I hear MAC has launched a festive range of lipsticks and eyeshadows… go splurge, gurrrrl!

Tags: shobhaa de, delhi pollution, delhi diwali