Dear Diary, you know, and I know, that my life changed the day I read the book’ The Importance of being Earnest’. I did not understand much of what I read but what sunk in was the name of the author.
He was some Wild (e )chappie and his success convinced me that to be successful one needed to be wild. I was just contemplating how best to become wild and unconsciously repeating the word wild when voila! my tongue became wild. It was as if I had no control over it ! Words were spilling from my mouth faster than the speed of light .
For a second, just that one teeny weeny,itsy bitsy second I was scared. My mind was racing – Whatthehellishappeningtome? And then a life changing event happened- the famous Bhatt insouciance was born. If my tongue was going to have a mind of its own so be it- but I would Goddamn well make sure that it would made me famous.
Along the way to eternal, chronic ,unabating and sustained verbal diarrhoea, I picked up a few neat tricks for my trade. I realized that there were a few not so faint hearted who refused to be cowed down in the face of my tongue being let loose. For them I learned how to clench and unclench my teeth , wag my left eyebrow while keeping my right one raised , lean forward menacingly and keep a sneer on my face.
All this to the beat of the words rolling off my tongue.The combination proved to be both unbeatable and irresistible . Unbeatable because no man,woman or child ( except my very own baby, Alia ) could dig in their heels in the face of this co ordinated and well rehearsed onslaught. Irresistible because the television news channels soon cottoned on to my worth.
They understood the importance of having Mahesh Bhatt on their unending Debate Hours. So, whenever the Congress and BJP spokespersons are at loggerheads I am called on to speak. And then, when my tongue and I take over, there is blissful silence in the studio. Infact, many a times the host of the show takes it as an opportunity to sneak off for a quickie !! Now, now, you possessor of dirty minds- not those quickies but the washroom quickie or the ‘bum a ciggie’ quickie. So sure are they of my capacity to speak on…
Of course, what has majorly helped, just between you and me, dear diary, is the fact that I learnt the Preamble of the Indian Constitution by heart. Yes, cross my heart I did. So, whenever I am called on to hold centre stage I glibly use words like Equality, fraternity ( the latter comes in very handy for anything to to with the hindi film industry), justice for all ,secularism et al.
These days I am making liberal use of the word secularism for Mr Modi. I know it is in fashion to say Secularism and Modi in the same breath and I am not going to be left behind where being fashionable is concerned. However, last evening was a a narrow escape for me. I was sharing television space with Swapan dasGupta and liberally spouting words from the Preamble. Suddenly, Swapan got this really thoughtful look on his face.
For one awful moment I thought he would ask me to explain what secularism means- actually means- not the rhetoric we spout( in my case my tongue spouts). My heart missed a beat because in the hurry to mug up weighty words I had forgotten to look up their meanings. But Nidhi Razdan realized the gravity of the situation and abruptly brought in the Congress spokesperson and the crisis was averted.
My baby, Alia, has the same ability to come out of tricky situations unscathed. So, when she couldn’t answer a really tricky question on Koffee with Karan ( something about who is the President or Prime Minister of the country) Alia smiled charmingly and pouted and pulled up her gown and patted her hair and threw back her head . In all this patting and pulling and smiling the host and the other guest got delightfully diverted and the faux pas was history.
Now, I can go off to sleep knowing that Alia will carry the Bhatt legacy of insouciance very capably.