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Rahul Gandhi’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Aditya Sinha | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on June 12, 2015

I am he: No.1 single, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi   -  Kamal Narang

When people see you as the idea of you that they have in their head, and not the real you that eats, lives, breathes, or goes to Thailand on holiday

My cousin Varun has published a book of poems and let me tell you, it is atrocious. The poetry is pretentious, dull, narcissistic and plain dull — like his mom’s speeches in the Lok Sabha. Also, his poems contain no proper nouns.

I really don’t see how anyone expects him to write real poetry. Has he ever stopped at a pool of water and gazed at his own reflection? He has no idea what it is to feel that no one wants to make a deep connection with you, when people see you as the idea of you they have in their head, and not the real you that eats, lives, breathes, or goes to Thailand on holiday.

He does not know the loneliness of being Rahul Gandhi.

In fact, if he’s allowed to write bad poetry I should be allowed to sing good songs. You know, like a troubadour on an endless padayatra. I would sing Beatles’ songs. For instance, about our prime minister, I would sing (to Maxwell’s Silver Hammer):

Bang-bang Modi’s silver hammer came down upon Advani’s head,

Bang-bang Modi’s silver hammer made sure Vajpayee’s legacy was dead.

Yes, the Beatles were the greatest and I’m certain that if I sang their songs at an election rally then people would not leave midway. Imagine covering the early hit “I wanna hold your hand”:

Oh yeah, I’ll tell you something

I think 34 per cent of the electorate will understand,

When I say that something

I want a vote for the Hand

I want a vote for the Hand

I want a vote for the Hand

I could even sing for the BJP: The phool on the hill. Instead, the two Singhs — Kanishka and Digvijaya — insist it would be a no-no for me to sing yeah-yeah-yeah. Not in Parliament, not at a press conference: they say the BJP and its Sturmabteilung would counterattack, maybe by singing Varun-verse, a cappella. Big deal. Each time they personally attack me, it is more than obvious how rattled Modi has gotten.

In fact, I often think that Modi is in some ways as lonely as I am. After all, he too reads no books. He too prefers PowerPoint to government files. He too finds everyone around him clingy, annoying and self-serving. I want to paraphrase Spiderman to Modi: With great power comes great responsibility — and also, great loneliness. I also feel like telling him: ‘I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together,’ as the Beatles sing in I am the walrus.

I notice that Modi, like me, doesn’t want to be tied down by a wife. My mom gives me grief about that.

Thank god Modi’s mom is nothing like my mom. Then he’d really know the meaning of loneliness. My mom just doesn’t get it: every woman I meet is not interested in me, but in Rahul Gandhi the rich dynast. Through their eyes they sing: I’m looking through you.

Look at Priyanka, my mom argues. She got married, she has kids. Hmph. It just makes me want to sing, to the tune of Lady Madonna:

Sister Priyanka, children at your feet

Wonder how Robert Vadra manages to make ends meet

Who gets the money, when DLF pays the rent

Did you think that money was Corporation Bank sent?

That’s not the end of my mom’s nagging. Go meet non-BJP leaders, she says, for an alliance may be the only way to dethrone Modi. I dunno; I look at Lalu, can’t bring myself to chew tobacco with him, much less spit it out at Sharad Yadav’s garlanded photo.

Go to Dr Manmohan Singh, she says. He was PM for 10 years and is a wise and clever man. He can offer valuable advice for whatever next issue I take up against Modi. But when I go over to his house he utters not a word. I wonder if he’s still angry I tore up his ordinance at a rally. His silence makes me feel lonely. And when I ask him about something specific, like farmers’ suicides or the land acquisition bill, he sings:

Please don’t wake me

No don’t shake me

Leave me where I am

I’m only sleeping.

So our meetings are not much more than You say Goodbye, and I say Hello.

The point of all this is that there is nowhere to turn, nowhere to go for advice, for friendship, for personal connection, for love. That’s why the Beatles might sing:

He’s a real Nowhere Man

Sitting in his Nowhere Land

Making all his Nowhere Plans for Nobody.

Doesn’t have a point of view,

knows not where he’s going to,

Isn’t he a bit like you and me?

Now you know why there’s no loneliness like the loneliness of being Rahul Gandhi?

(Aditya Sinha is the co-author of former R&AW chief AS Dulat’s memoir, Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years, which is being published next month)

Published on June 12, 2015
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