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Dream Big

Dr. Elsa Lycias Joel Dr. Elsa Lycias Joel
29 Apr 2024

Every now and then, I dream big and become ambitious. There are such things as historic moments in the life of a person. It is by seizing them that a person becomes great. By missing them, a person diminishes their worth. Keeping this in mind, I give wings to my dreams. My friends aren't surprised because they know how bored I am and that there is plenty of time on my hands, especially during certain seasons described with the adjectives hot, hotter, and hottest. However, they are a bit shocked at my list of ambitions, the first of which is becoming a governor. Few of them tried and failed at educating me. Though I understand the emoluments and privileges I will be entitled to, I do not understand the eligibility criteria at all. The perks of being one doesn't stop with living in a palatial viceroy bungalow.

Having been fortunate enough to catch up with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, who was at the Raj Bhavan, Chennai, in 2013, I experienced an ambience and hospitality of an excellent kind. It was then that I decided to learn and play the game of politics as soon as I finished something that I was halfway through: my research on secondary metabolites of mangrove fungi and earning my doctorate in biotechnology. Who wouldn't want to be protected by hundreds of men in uniform with armed guns, require those ever-smiling household staff who would wait on you 24X7, enjoy that cavalcade of cars that will follow your vehicle without honking or trying to overtake and love to go to sleep and wake up inside a national park, also a green lung, to the call of birds and deer? On the work front, I would have the power to pardon, reprieve, remit, or commute the sentence of any person and much more, which I don't understand yet but feel that I can pull off easily.

There is more to it. I understand I can pay heed to my hormone fluctuations than to my head or heart before I say or do something like suggesting a name change for a state. Not only will a big boss come to my rescue with funny stunts and tactics, but I'll also be considered a potential candidate for a few prestigious civilian honours. To govern a state that has people with analogical and moral reasoning coupled with great respect for the 'Father of the Dravidian movement' and also for the architect of the Indian Constitution deserves all the awards in the country.

Over the past few years of my married life, I learned that it is near impossible to give away emotional statements without backing them up with substantial evidence or facts and get away with it. Even though I'm proud of raising two brilliant daughters who are making their mark in India's top and renowned educational institutions, I'm unhappy about being unable to walk out of my home during a debate or family discussion. They just won't tolerate such behaviour. But, if I become a governor, walking out on any number of house members will just be another cakewalk. I will be all over the newspapers and television channels, indirectly rendering a service by increasing the TRP of the fourth pillar of democracy, as well as strengthening the opposition parties waiting to serve diligently as one team.

For a brief period of two years, I was in the good books of many as a language instructor for expats, regardless of my ambitions to conquer the Raj Bhavan. When my contract ended, I once again followed news, gossip, exclusive stories, and reviews about people occupying the Government Houses.

Once I realise my dream, I can comfortably forget history, stop reading, thrive on delay, not bother about the existence of cult loyalty and fringe elements and keep forwarding stuff I do not agree upon or understand to the first citizen of the country until the watchdog of democracy tells me that Article 200 has given me only 3 choices. The very thought that I won't be expected to condone evil or be slightly worried whenever the moral worth of a state gets compromised comforted me only for a few seconds because I've grown weak and weary of taking sides and voicing out justice.

Despite all these, I will be assisted in believing I'm neutral and unbiased. This got me thinking hard. I switched to a second persona to save myself from a personality conflict. With a big invisible crown on your head, you will be exposed to unique experiences even when you do not understand or care to learn the regional language, provided you hone some acquired skills of selective blindness and accusing blindly.

Abbreviated moments of pleasure are guaranteed, too. Of course, you can pat the cheeks of chubby journalists you like and express your wish to adopt them as your children or grandchildren. What wounds others can become nothing to you. What devastates others may turn out to be mere trifles to you. Unleashing tasteless personal diatribes against Chief ministers is also an earned privilege. You have learned the art of governance if you hopscotch around the bare nerves, subvert everything you can, and manage to look like a soft target. You will be awarded for strengthening the ruling hierarchy at the top. After all, open prejudice is a perk of power. You need not trust yourself to behave when you live in the Viceroy's Bungalow; Trust me!.

People in positions can subvert instruments of governance carefully designed by the founding fathers of the Constitution. To be at the forefront of this tragic farce, you must become a mute underling of the ruling party. Of course, you will indeed be encouraged by those in command who are notoriously famous for their tricks and manipulative propensity.

It took a few months for the one and only genius in my friend list to make me understand that one of the most insensitive and insensible big cheeses might remote-control me because I cannot become one. Still, I should be made one, depending on how well I play the cards as a judge or a chief minister. It did give me a jolt to know that I will never qualify as a governor even when I turn ancient, can never interfere in anybody's business as and when I please and must bury my moods that are many more than the colours that can be seen with the naked eye. To be orchestrated by bigger and stronger operators is a matter of anxiety.

How poor was my understanding that the governor, his decisions, whims and fancies are more royal than any king or viceroy on earth? Can I be more delulu! If there is one thing I never tolerate, it is someone trying to sass me. In my home affairs, all that matters is plain, honest talk and sane, balanced actions that help us function healthily, sleep peacefully and live in a dignified manner. Hormones and mood swings are shown their place, the dustbin. In short, there is no place for drama, a modicum of irrationality, doublespeak and petty talk. I have kept my house in order, promoted and maintained cordial relationships between/with cultured individuals and been a peacemaker. The skills I possess will only help me in some aspects.

Should we not be grateful that even while a section of the ruling class ruthlessly practices the worst political chicanery, there are still a few bright, brave minds shaped by integrity who can set matters right before the system irrevocably breaks down?

Secondly, I aimed for the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna. Rather than discussing it with my friends, I did my own research and understood I was nowhere close to being eligible for the following reasons:

1. I was never a politically astute leader who could lead yatras, create as much mayhem as possible, instigate thugs to demolish places of worship and then shed crocodile tears, calling it the 'saddest day' of my life.

2. I was not called the God of any sports.

3. I was not a fund collector, and I did not prefer to be a member of an organisation that had been banned three times since its formation.

4. My conscience will not stop me from standing up to people who think injustice. Even God can't save those who talk and act unjustly from my wrath.

5. I will never foil any attempt in my capacity to bring down anybody who orchestrates or overlooks violence and mass killings.

6. I don't dare to call scholars school dropouts.

So much of what I was trying to achieve by becoming a governor or recipient of an award began with my steadfast and loving family. The love remains, but I dare not stop dreaming. 'What is past is prologue', and this reacquainted me with the possibilities of my future triumphs as a successful model for big-ticket fashion designers. I am fit, neither thin nor fat, neither a blimp nor a walking carcass, neither can I survive on a few glasses of champagne nor a few "lines", neither a Madhu Sapre nor a Kate Moss but the one and only beautiful me who suffers perennially from a guilt-free indulgence for delicious edible stuff, anytime when I'm hungry.

Nobody on earth has ever dared to subject me to nasty jibes about the extra milligrams or kilograms I gain or lose because I have a terrific physique that inspires moms to stay physically and mentally active, eat, sleep and love a lot and thus maintain a balanced lifestyle. Thanks to my good genes, I'm not contributing anything to the beauty market worth thousands of crores. Wrinkle reduction, skin tightening or lightening, minimising fine lines to Botox and dermal fillers and anti-ageing solutions are for those who want their skin to go on a trip back in time. For me, my greatest victories are in my future.

I have come a full circle, dreaming of unfulfilled triumphs and taking lessons from the treacherous pitfalls I escaped.

Hello couturiers, try me!

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