Thursday, May 30, 2024

REPORTERS’ DIARY : Not everything that’s white milk

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Politicians of all hues prefer to wear white traditional garments, suggesting austerity and purity. Of late, scribes with political ambitions have also adopted this sartorial style statement to achieve their aims and some have succeeded. Now, ahead of the elections it has become a fashion for common people to invite netas to all kinds of functions – marriage, switch from half-saree to saree, thread ceremony or whatever-so that they can bask in the reflected glory. It is simply because the bigger the neta, the more the glare of the media on the function. Given their hunger for votes, invited politicians make it point to attend these functions without fail. As Shobhaa De describes in her novel Sethji, “Indian politicians are smart, canny and wily. They dress to woo voters. White works. White is the ultimate sartorial statement”. The problem arises when brats and henchmen of the netas, dutifully dressed in white, accompany their leaders, but are not really welcome at these functions. The host will have a tough time drawing the line among the white-clad gentry.  By default, the white-clad guests will override bandhuvulu and family friends when it comes to paying special attention. Few hosts manage to screen the gate-crashers.  So, most of the white-clad gatecrashers manage to have sumptuous food, at unavoidable, but additional costs for the poor host, who perhaps knows for sure the proverb: “Not everything that’s white is milk.”
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