Called a ‘chronicler for social mores’ by the New York Times, Malavika Sangghvi is a leading columnist who’s launched more print trends, newspapers, supplements, and columns than she can (or wants to) remember. Besides supporting a lifestyle she cannot afford by freelancing - she listens to the blues, hangs out by water bodies and watches human beings in hotel lobbies and on mean streets. She’s also an unabashed people-watcher and legendary eavesdropper on random conversations. Be careful around her or she’ll out your secrets.
Intro: It was Oscar night in Indian Politics as the Iron Lady of the TMC took on The Defiant Man!
Who will ever forget the high drama and Charade (1984) of the days when after delivering his Railway Budget, Dinesh Trivedi had to face The Grapes of Wrath (1940) of his leader? Even as his speech was being relayed across the nation and he thought he was doing The Right Stuff (1983), little did the new and erstwhile Railway Minister realize that soon he would be facing A Reversal of Fortune (1990) from the TMC’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
The story is that Trivedi hoped to have A Place in the Sun (1951) by being The Patriot (1928/1929) and putting country before his party by doing the right thing for the Railways and rising taxes.
But this was not a good move as his leader saw herself as a champion for Ordinary People (1980) and believed The Public Pays (1936) too much already for the mis-management of the government.
But their relationship had begun to get Rocky (1976) even earlier when Trivedi appeared to be cosying up too much to The Social Network (2010) of the Congress party.
Not giving his leader enough importance and mentioning her name last in his speech was the last straw and aroused Mamata’s Suspicion (1941) “Put country before party? My Left Foot (1989)”, she harrumphed, adding, “This is really No Country for Old Men (2007)”.
TMC insiders were heard to mutter ‘Soon There Will Be Blood (2007)’. And from that day on Trivedi has lived on The Razor’s Edge (1946).
What had really got Mamata’s goat was that Trivedi went Beyond the Line of Duty (1942) to prove his competence as Railway Minister.
Even as he thought he’d gotten away with his defiance, Trivedi was about to face Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).
The Sting (1973) came fast and with her characteristic Speed (1994) and left the Congress Spellbound (1945). Mamata demanded that Trivedi be sacked! Hearing of his leader’s displeasure, at first Trivedi was defiant. His bid Toward Independence (1948) had won him some media attention and for a while he displayed True Grit (1969) with his Declaration of Independence (1938). For the nation he’d become part of The Defiant Ones (1958), but soon he had to face An Inconvenient Truth (2006) that without the support of The Iron Lady (2011) he would never be part of The Incredibles (2004), and his dreams of turning the Railways around would be an Interrupted Melody (1955), as he’d be on history’s list of The Departed (2006). Let’s face it, only Derek O’Brien and Mukul Roy could be The Sunshine Boys (1975) of the TMC.
He turned to the Congress’ spin master, Diggy Singh for advice.
Diggy Singh said “Let’s face it – The Awful Truth (1937) is that she doesn’t really care for us. Why don’t you just Talk to Her (2002) with Terms of Endearment (1983)”, Diggy advised. “Refer to her as My Fair Lady (1964). After all, an appeal for Tender Mercies (1983) always goes down well with women. And as you know we can’t afford to anger her as each time Mamata opens her mouth it shakes investor confidence and there’s Panic in the Streets (1950).”
But already in Kolkata, The Search (1948) had been launched for Trivedi’s successor. And there was no doubt in any one’s head that she’d put Mukul Roy’s name forward as The Candidate (1972). After all he’d been The Champ (1931/1932) of her earlier stint too and was known as A Man for All Seasons (1966).
“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (1967) said Mamata to her party colleagues by way of introducing Mukul Roy’s candidature while her party-men groaned.
“What makes Roy Wonder Man (1945)”, they grumbled. “After all, who can forget the Crash (2005) and his shameful response to A Shocking Accident (1982) which happened on his watch?”
“I’ve chosen him because of his competence, his Work Experience (1989) and his abject loyalty, but mainly because He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’ (1983)” replied Mamata.
Meanwhile at 7 Race Course Road, Dr Manmohan Singh after he was knocked Sideways (2004) by Mamata’s demand responded with The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
Even though in the Snake Pit (1948) that is the party headquarters, PC and company were heard carping, “Since when do our alliance partners become The High and the Mighty (1954)?”
“Why on earth are we being subjected to the Charade of The Cowboy and the Lady (1938)?”, grumbled Sibal. “Allying with Mamata is like The Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985).
The PM knew exactly what he meant. What a Topsy-Turvy (1999) thing Indian politics had become. It was something that the Congress itself would not dream of doing- rapping a party man so publicly he thought, but to Each His Own (1946).
“I need friends like these like I need A Hole in the Head (1959) he mumbled to himself. In fact, Caught between Two Women (1961), his own leader and Mamata, he’d hardly been sleeping at night. This daily War and Peace (1968) was very exhausting. “Why can’t we go back to The Way We Were (1973)?”, he wondered. “This is what happens When Worlds Collide (1951) and your coalition pulls in separate directions. But how long will this Charade (1984) go on?”
And why was he surrounded by so many strong-willed women? Each night before sleeping he’d be haunted by The Three Faces of Eve (1957) – Mamata, Maya and Jaya. Why could they not behave themselves as Little Women (1949) should? .
“How can I depend on the TMC?”, he asked Sonia. “The Joker Is Wild (1957)”, he whispered. And Why on earth is Mamata so power hungry he rued, after all You Can’t Take It With You (1938)?”
The Hours (2002) ticked by as the PM consulted the tea leaves at the bottom of his cup for a solution, knowing that in coalition politics this is As Good as It Gets (1999).
Of course all this kow-towing to the TMC didn’t go down too well with the NCP.
“What makes the TMC The V.I.P.s (1963) and us Children of a Lesser God (1986)?”, whined Pawar “Why on earth is the NDA giving the TMC So Much for So Little (1949) he asked Praful over lunch at the House of Ming.
To stem the discontent, the Congress’ chief fire fighter, Pranabda was called in. He got on to the phone to his Bengali compatriot: “Lady Be Good (1941) he begged. Let It Be (1970)”, Pranabda tried to reason, but given his accent – it was Lost in Translation (2003).
And there was no stopping Mamata: After all she saw herself as the Big Mama (2000) of the coalition. She knew her position was strong, with the Congress lacking numbers and depending on her. After all, weren’t The Reds (1981) and the BJP The Untouchables (1987)?
Of course her status as the Woman of the Year (1942) had been assured ever since she’d stepped all over The Red Shoes (1948) of Basu and co, and pricked The Red Balloon (1956).
The Year of Living Dangerously (1983) for Mamata had begun. Viewing herself as a Working Girl (1988), she thought of her party colleagues as A Thousand Clowns (1965). There was hardly anyone amongst The Usual Suspects (1995) to replace Trivedi.
As a last ditch effort to placate her, Trivedi called Mamata up. Even as he dialled her number he knew it was A Time for Justice (1994).
“All I want”, he begged “is A Chance to Live (1949)”. But the reprisal came Quicker ‘N a Wink (1940) from The Queen (2006). “Quiet Please! (1945)”, she commanded. “This will teach you to Love Me or Leave Me (1955)”, and for the next half hour Trivedi had to Reap the Wild Wind (1942). After all, not for nothing was she known as The Hurricane (1937). Was there any doubt that The Fighter (2010) would have to face The Fighting Lady (1944)? He knew this was his last chance or soon he’d be Gone with the Wind (1939). But of course, he knew he was speaking to The Goodbye Girl (1977) and it was understandable that he felt like the Man on A Wire (2008).
But it was Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) as far as Mamata was concerned. After all, how could she have a party-man who didn’t Tango (1982) with her?
With all the Pride and Prejudice (1940) she was famous for, she gave him the Shaft (1971). And he was soon on the Midnight Express (1978) to nowhere. “From now on, Call Me Madam (1953)”, Mamata said to him icily, before officially giving him the sack. “And one more thing -don’t issue any more media statements”, was The Last Command (1927/1928). And that’s how, for his act of defiance, Trivedi was Unforgiven (1992) and Trivedi became The Little Orphan (1948) of Indian politics and his career was Written on the Wind (1956).
After all, did he really expect mercy from a leader whose pet name is Jaws (1975)? “And remember”, she said tersely before she slammed the phone down, “Boys Don’t Cry (1999)!”
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