His name is Maggi. The guy looks pale yellow and has curly hair. He is shot, slim and sauve. He speaks many languages but belongs to the ‘Swiss Made’ nation. He is old, just about 68 years old now. He can add taste to any conversation. He can make children dance and he can make grown-ups smile, chat, study longer and even help them find their soulmate. Yes, he can do all of that and more. He is a super-hero for many and a diehard aficionado for most Indians.
Does he exist? Look around yourself and you will find some trace of men, material or memory loitering in his name. He is very loveable but has got into a terrible mess (no pun intended here!) for a steamy reason. He is feeling utterly helpless, shattered and perhaps dejected. People have found him guilty of a terrible crime. He is an attempted murderer, yes, they say he deserves to be known as a criminal who tried killing thousands of innocent people starving for his love.
A case has been filed against him. Police have taken him in their custody. Parents have dumped him from their ‘like’ list. Shopkeepers don’t want him in their shops and the media is desperate to insult him. He says he is innocent, he says he is clean, he says he is still as lovable as he use to be for past six decades but ah! they don’t feel the same for him. ‘They’ are not people in the ivory towers or state owned mansions. ‘They’ are ‘us’. We who trusted him have failed him.
Younger guys who look like him are all around trying to impress us. They want us to accept them as a replacement for him. They are screaming about their ‘goodness’. Whether this is opportunism or empathy, he does not know. He is sitting in one corner of a remote ‘kirana dukan’ in an unheard village where people don’t really understand his crime. They just know that he helps them when they have little money but still want their children to feel joyful. When asked about educated people’s overreaction to his crime, he answered with a peaceful smile, “I might be asked to go away from India but I know that I will be always present in memories of millions of children whose childhood would have been incomplete without me. I have added my share of ‘masala’ to those wonderful naughty days”