December 09, 2019
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Eve Sans Politics

Eve Sans Politics
outlookindia.com
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IS it possible to produce a full Diary page without mentioning a politician or a political party or a political con man or a political anxiety or a political premonition or, most difficult of all, a cabinet minister? If your habitat happens to be Lutyens, New Delhi, the task is well nigh impossible since politics permeates the oxygen the denizens of the area breathe—and I can tell you it is pretty filthy oxygen. Nevertheless (as Russy Karanjia of Blitz used to say), ''your humble editor'' is going to have a shot at the impossible. If he falls at the last item, please show compassion even as you applaud the daunting mission he has foolishly undertaken.

The impetus for this no-politics line is a rare evening I spent in the company of some extraordinarily refined folk gifted with wide and uncluttered minds. It was a convivial, relaxed, polite, unhurried, stimulating dinner where not a single voice was raised and where no points were sought to be scored. There was no chief guest or celeb in attendance, no one claimed to know the ''inside story'' or the ''latest'' from 7, Race Course Road or 10, Janpath, no one had any gratuitous wisdom to dispense. We talked about cabbages and kings in the form of books and films and eateries and gout and fashion and TV-inspired greed and sex at 43. Usually, after one of the official and semi-official parties I attend once a week—no more—I return home nursing a depression. Not so that night. Surprisingly, I felt refreshed. I arose next morning in rather good humour and wondered why the previous evening had been such a success.

The distinguished author Sunil Khilnani is of the view that nothing in India moves without benefit of political sanction. He is, of course, spot on. We are a deeply politicised society doomed to an existence in which mantriji decides the colour of our car windows. Those who wish to abstain from the perils of living in such a society have no option but to seek exile. Meanwhile, to retain some degree of sanity, I strongly recommend that we (particularly the ,gin drinkers,) subject ourselves periodically to the sort of evening I,ve described above.

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