Valentines Day Special: Vadra is the new Ghandy: Love story of two couples of India’s ‘first’ family
“When it comes to success, there are no shortcuts” or “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going to” are some of the quotes I was regularly exposed to while growing up. I took it on its face value and always did the right thing, no shortcuts. Even though things moved extremely slowly but I was proud of myself; until last month.
I visited India in January this year instead of Diwali owing to some family events. This also gave me an opportunity to attend the alumni meet for my grad (B.Tech) college in Noida. I met an old friend of mine, Mr. K (from the epiglotis). During the college days we shared an apartment for around a year, otherwise we were poles apart. He would indulge in all the activities that I would refrain from; daily gold flakes (chain smoker), weekly old monk/rum and regular or frequent visits to GB Road (mind you, nothing to do with electronics). We both used to bunk quite some classes but for different reasons. I would waste my time either by playing cricket or table tennis, he on the other hand would invest his time in wooing (patao-ing) girls (which he was quite good at and had several relationships). Some how by god’s grace I was able to complete my graduation in time without any backlog. He on the other had a long list of backlogs and in addition to them, he took more than four years to complete his graduation. However, even with this, he was pretty confident about his future. I didn’t know how and why.
This time when I met him after almost nine and a half years, I was surprised. He looked all hi-fi, he came in an Audi and was donning a Burberry jacket with a Hublot wrist watch (of course he told me the brands and prices later). He had transitioned from being middle class to first class. How? He told quite many stories about his expanding business. I, during all this, was preoccupied by only one question- How the #@#@(hell) did this happen? Turns out I was not the only one with this question in mind. Others started digging and by the end of the evening, found out the truth. It turns out that he was successful in wooing (or patao-ing) a secular girl (not from the epiglotis) who happened to be a daughter of a super rich businessman. The skills he learnt during college, his investments had paid off.
I had seen this in the movies before but had always thought that they were just movies and a work of fiction. I kept on thinking about this way of achieving success while I was flying back and of-course I was a little disturbed. What do you do in an eight hour day flight? Eat and think! I was thinking about different people who could have pulled this off in their lives and were pretending to be very different than what they actually were.
[Note: Below this point, the story is a work of imagination of the fickle minded author who has conspiracy theories obsessions, it has nothing to with any person living or dead, any such resemblance is a mere co-incidence.]
He was born in a city called Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh to a middle class parents who had a brass handicraft business. The family was originally from Sialkot (Pakistan) but had migrated during India’s partition in 1947. They were middle class by all standards till the ’90s. This extremely low profile, 5’4.5″ tall guy with average looks played a masterstroke. He invested 6 years of his life (from ’91 to ’97 or even more, you could also think it as a childhood love) in wooing (patao-ing) a 5’6″, beautiful, out of his league girl from India’s most powerful and influential family. Do you know somebody that fits this description? Of course he likes to be called as India’s leading multi-millionaire businessmen because of his hard-work. How many businessmen do you know, who started from an imitation jewelry business and ended up with with several flats in London or possessing the most expensive fleet of cars? And this is only the tip of an iceberg because we are the John Snows, we know nothing!! Moreover, how many of the other several thousands of businessmen in the country spend time with their kids on formula one tracks or are found spending hours toning themselves in the Gym? Some how they are unable to enjoy the life as much as he, even though they have been burning their midnight oil for decades not just years.
The story does not end here. This is not the only 20th century masterstroke. There was somebody who went a few steps ahead and played the real masterstrokes. The masterstrokes that not only stunned Chachu Ji and Bapu Ji but also changed the entire political discourse of the country.
This young man, in 1930s, in his teens, who happened to be an excellent scrabble player, saw a window to give wings to his aspirations and ambitions. He not only rearranged the letters in his name i.e. changed the position of ‘h’ and dropped ‘y’, but also wooed (or patao-ed) the only daughter of one of the richest and by far the most powerful politicians of India in the last century. He invested twelve years of his life (from 1930 to 1942) in this. His struggle was a difficult one especially when he was rejected by the girl’s mother within the first three years. However, this did not distract the young men from his goal, he kept going, he came close to the family by helping the girl’s mother during her illness, arranging the trips and some other chores. After the mother passed away, the time in England (I guess education time) got the final spark that got them married. And this is when he got success, won elections, became MP or even a managing director of a newspaper and above all, a pro-active freedom fighter. Wouldn’t you feel on the cloud 9 when your father-in-law, your wife, your son are the prime-minister of a country and your grandchildren are PM aspirant?
Facial similarity is not the only similarity between the Dadi (grandmother) and the Dadi’s little girl. Their soulmates, the better halves, although don’t look similar on the surface are behavioral replicas of each other.
Having said all that, there is/was always a very hefty price that these players paid for their shortcuts to success. Maybe the core family is cursed, whoever or whatever it comes in contact with turns into ashes. Or maybe the almighty “god” does not want the power, the wealth or the secrets to scatter and comes into the play every time there is any such scope. Somehow, he makes sure that there remains only one thread running. One day the sister wakes up, drives her car, meets with an accident and the channel closes, the thread ends. The brother wakes, decides to leave the world voluntarily and channel closes, the thread ends. The father does the same some years later. O Lord Mercy! how are the two young souls bear the burden of all this power and wealth? Because that’s is the only channel left; the only existing and running thread. Moreover, how come alpha males start getting heart attacks in their 40s and that too in the decades of 1960 where people were not living on pizzas, burgers and fries? The unfair almighty “god”.
Only the people can save this country from this Jinx. Its a deja-vu, the history is being repeated now. By the way, in case the history does repeat itself, can you guess the name of the prime-minister in 2050? I can! he would be RGV (and it is not Ram Gopal Verma). He has already started showing interest in politics.
Coming back to the reality, I realized if I continue with my ways, I might be able to gather as much wealth as Mr. K has today, although in several decades. But it is still not too late, I am still single. I can take a cue from him and some others. I just have to change my desired partner preferences from simple, sober, educated middle class girl to a girl (preferably the only daughter) from a multi-millionaire, business/political family.
At this point I remember a dialog from Hero No 1, which I need to practice more and more:
“main tere pyar me kya kya na bana meena kabhi bana kutta kabhi kamina”
The most crucial aspect is to choose “Meena” wisely. Happy Valentines Day!
Thanks for reading!
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An FPGA/Embedded Systems Development Engineer working on ADAS / Autonomous Vehicles and interested in Indian Politics.