Though blinding in its beauty, Thursday's annular solar eclipse had to struggle to gain social media traction. Stealing its thunder, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was at his dashing best, donning 3D spectacles so grand that the celestial event beat a hasty retreat.
Modi shared a picture of him on Twitter, and it looked set to unleash a storm—a Meme storm. His gaze fixed to the skies, the 3D glasses firmly in place, he had watched the eclipse unfold. Netizens instantly knew it was Meme material, and they warned him in time.
But Modi surprised them. His retort was swift, sporting: “Most welcome... enjoy...” tweeted the Prime Minister, whose last 'Meme moment' in 'Man vs Wild' had the Internet go wild.
This tweet by Modi was what started it all: “Like many Indians, I was enthusiastic about #solareclipse2019. Unfortunately, I could not see the Sun due to cloud cover but I did catch glimpses of the eclipse in Kozhikode and other parts on live stream. Also enriched my knowledge on the subject by interacting with experts.”
The Eclipse had been the top Twitter trend since morning. But Modi's sporting go-ahead had the Meme brigade switch gears. They came in droves, mixing adulation with dripping sarcasm, biting humour with acidic asides.
Hashtagged to excel, #CoolestPM eclipsed the Eclipse in style. Solar power admitted defeat as Modi storm gathered 61,600 likes and 9,400 retweets in double-quick time.
His glass brand spotted, trolls zoomed in and zoomed out, and declared they were Maybach luxury. Quipped one in tandem, “Coolest PM wearing Maybach shades Made in India—errr—Made in Germany costing sirf 1.5 Lakh. Meanwhile, some are still waiting for their 15L in every account.”
That was a low dig, detested deeply by a Twitter user, Archie. She rushed in defence, “He is the PM of India, a country no longer the gareeb land of snake charmers as portrayed by Nehru. He represents our country and he does that with a certain class and panache. Also whatever PM Modi buys from his hard-earned money is his personal choice. My #CoolestPM wears Maybach.”