Saturday 16 June 2012

President Me

Dear politicians,

The Presidential succession seems to be causing much strife. Political equations are breaking down, threatening the stability of a delicate coalition, perhaps hurrying us along to an early election we can’t really afford.

While Mr Pranab Mukherjee is, no doubt, well deserving of a quiet start to his retirement, his selection as a candidate is finding vociferous objection from many quarters. And, truth be told, he is well-nigh indispensable as the Mr Fix-It of the current coalition.

May I propose an excellent alternative candidate?


Yes, I know. This is a bit sudden, and unexpected. But hear me out.

I’m not political. Broadly, you could say I’m from the arts (I once won a poetry contest), so as much as I don’t represent any political party, I also won’t antagonise any of them either.

My name may appear to disqualify me, but really, if you look at it, it’s a plus. I’m a member of one of the smallest minorities in the country. Technically, I’m Anglo-Indian, but actually the European part of my ancestry isn’t British; it’s part-irish (and you know how the Irish feel about the Brits), part Scottish (they want to split from the United Kingdom too). The rest of my ancestry includes some East Indian, some South Indian and who knows what else. I was born in Vizag, my mother in Khurdha Road, my father in Ludhiana, one grandmother in what was Burma, the other grandparents in various parts of what is now India. While my name is Christian, I’m more of an atheist / tree-hugger. So you can’t place me in any real slot. Ergo: no regional, caste or community equations to balance. I am, sirs and madams, national integration in the flesh.

Then, I’m media-friendly. Heck, I work in the media. I’ve also spent many years in advertising, so I can be hands-on with the creation of our next tourism/FDI-attracting campaign. I also have a pleasant, microphone-trained voice, with a small portfolio of voice-over and radio work behind me. (While on the media, I will quickly concede that a glance at my profile picture will tell you I’m not prime-time’s dream face. But then, none of our presidents have exactly launched a thousand ships.)

Add this: I love to travel. And I’ve actually worked as a travel writer. And I’m reasonably tech-friendly: I blog, and I dabble in social media. So, hey, I promise to live-blog and live-Tweet and Pin and Facebook all the Presidential tours. How’s that for distracting the people from all the real issues?

Oh yes, I also have long hair, in keeping with the trends set by our current President and the one she succeeded. Granted, it’s not silver, but then, we could turn that into an advantage: I could be India’s youngest President! (Here’s an idea: how about I dye my hair in the colours of our national flag?)

But, most of all, I really, really need a house. The price of real estate in Bombay and its neighbourhood is just unreal, and I can’t even think about buying a place of my own. So, a five-year stint in Rashtrapati Bhavan followed by a retirement in a wee mansion on some re-purposed army land would be wonderful.

Thank you for your consideration. Please indicate you support by tweeting with the hashtag #ZigzacklyForPresident. Long live the Republic!

Your future President.