Nation Current Affairs 10 Jun 2018 On the contrary: Rum ...
Ajit Saldanha has a finger in the pie, and another on the political pulse. And when he writes, he cooks up a storm.

On the contrary: Rumours & Lies

Published Jun 10, 2018, 3:13 am IST
Updated Jun 10, 2018, 3:13 am IST
Weigh the consequences and take an unbiased look at dodgy stories before rushing off to file sensational items that destroy lives.
Ajit Saldanha.
 Ajit Saldanha.

Advising 'physicians to heal themselves' is sloppy thinking according to my physician, who is no slouch when it comes to clichés. He believes that those preaching such homilies are as guilty in their own professional lives. "Take journalists, for instance," he thundered, while yours truly squirmed.  "You fellows should introspect, weigh the consequences and take an unbiased look at dodgy stories before rushing off to file sensational items that destroy lives."  

Take that nonsense, "Arundhati Roy says 70 lakh Indian soldiers cannot defeat Azadi gang in Kashmir." "Do you know this alleged statement was made in a non-existent interview during a trip that never took place? Yet there were prime time debates on Republic TV and CNN News 18 attacking her and to add insult to injury, this feku item originated from some obscure Pakistani website called timesofislamabad.com." Not only you stupid journalists but also that BJP MP Paresh Rawal had a bro-fest with his soft-spoken pal, Arnab, on prime time."

 

Apparently Arnab mounted on his favourite hobby horses of the Lutyens media and pseudo liberals, managed a short gallop deriding Roy as a "one book whiner wonder who joined the fake pseudo-liberal crowd to abuse our army," before falling spectacularly off his saddle when the fake was exposed. Better still was CNN's Bhupendra Chaubey who tweeted that Rawal was justified in asking for Roy to "be tied as a human shield", but then quickly hit the delete button when the fake was exposed. One wonders whether Papa Chaubey would have been better off with a shield, preferably one made of latex?

Shakespeare summed it up in style: "He who steals my purse steals trash, 'tis something, t'was nothing and hath been slave to millions. But he that robs me of my good name takes that which enriches him not and makes me very poor indeed." "Why have you press wallahs given a free ride to Arnab," continued my physician belligerently. "He should go to jail for his slanderous accusations. Or he should publicly offer an unconditional written apology to Arundhati which will serve as a lesson to lowlife scum who try and pull such stunts." Doctor, I agree with you fully, I said, but you told me to keep calm during the check-up.
Perhaps the only sensible item in Indira Gandhi's retarded 20 point programme was the one banning rumours. Remember the DAVP slogan: "Rumour Mongerers, the Nations' Worst Enemies." For a while, mongerer was our favourite schoolboy term of abuse, but I digress.

Which brings me to the former marketing head of Infosys, Phaneesh Murthy who was accused of sexual harassment, misuse of authority and of stalking and breaking into the car of his assistant, Reka Markovitch. The last charge was weird: Baby, you can't drive my car? It reminds me of my former boss's warning to management trainees, "I say, don't ever let me catch you fellows hunting for your pencil in your secretary's drawers." The corollary, left unsaid in that delightfully non-PC era was: If you are randy enough to do so, make sure the drawers remain Victoria's Secret.

Common sense would suggest that someone in Murthy's position, in the grip of as "indecent an obsession" as the gutter press would have us believe, would not fire the object of his lust. He'd promote, wine, dine, line and ermine her but surely in the name of all that's Freud, he wouldn't hand her a pink slip.

Ah but suppose he had an attack of conscience, I hear you say. Fine, everything's possible in times of a recession, but in that case he's not going to stalk her or break into her car. Or follow her to her new job at a venture capital firm and offer to buy them out. Eat your heart out, Helen of Troy. Your face may have launched a thousand ships and an Odyssey but Reka's charms have unleashed the power of a million gigabytes. When she moves, the Nasdaq sizzles…The most depressing aspect of this sordid episode was the number of creepy crawlies who materialised from the woodwork with their "inside story". Disgruntled juniors, jealous peers and geeks who once longed for a nod from Phaneesh gleefully indulged in taking a perverse pleasure in his misery.

In the current outpouring of confected Me-Too outrage, we should consider the perils of the ridiculous PC environment prevalent in corporate America where men and women are hesitant to interact without having a lawyer present. Or perhaps men, like good anglers, should restrict themselves to talking about the one that got away and not the one that pulled them overboard.

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