Conspicuous austerity

Can you lead an austere life and serve the ‘aam admi’ that is you and me? Or, should you lead an austere life to serve the janata? Or, can you not lead a five star life and still serve the people who lead 0.05 star life?

These questions are bothering me ever since Sonia Gandhi cracked the whip and her man Friday Pranab babu asked two netas to vacate their five star nests and lead an austere life.

But what is austerity? What constitutes austerity? The badam may be a luxury item for me but may be an essential item for our netas. For example, Morarji Desai needed badams daily but then did he lead an ostentatious life? Our brand new minister Tharoor needs a gym daily. Is that a luxury?

How many of our ‘netas’ would become ministers if there were no perks that go with the post, besides power? Come to think of it many of our ‘netas’ did lead an austere life in their previous ‘avatar’ and once they started serving the poor they became shockingly rich. It is only now that ‘crorepatis’ are being bitten by the pubic service bug. Can they lead an austere life? Can we expect our mining brothers to abandon the copter ride and instead stick to car/train/air?

Take Sharad Pawar for example. The poor chap says he clears government files while sitting in the business class while flying. He cannot do that if he abides by madam’s dictat and sits in the economy class. After all he is a busy ‘neta’ with cricket and sugar, etc on his plate and should we not give him time to attend to some government work? If he is in the economy class a co-passenger like me might like to drag him into a chat about the BCCI affairs. He won’t be able to clear the files. Too bad.

Of course there are incorrigibles like Mamata ‘didi’ who lead a life that can be called as conspicuous austerity. The ‘didi’ is a sore eye not only to the Marxists in Bengal but to all other ‘netas’ used to a certain style of living or life. ‘Netas’ like Gulzarilal Nanda, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Lakshmisagar were anachronisms during their life time when luxury was not yet this vulgar.

If anybody wants to discuss this further call me to Oberoi or the Taj. I am used to certain lifestyle, you see.

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