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Article in The Times of India
Authored by Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan


National Coordinator of
VOTEINDIA movement

Quirks of our VIPs

There is a story, told many years ago about the time that Gregory Peck was standing in line with a friend, waiting for a table in a crowded New York restaurant. Finally the friend growing impatient suggested to Peck: "Why don't you tell the head waiter who you are?" Peck shook his head, " If you have to tell them who you are" he said " then you aren't anybody."

Another story goes that a peddler with a hand-cart full of shrimps was ordered out of the way by a member of Parliament, who was trying to park his car.
"Look out yourself," said the coster.
"Do you realize," demanded the other, "that I have an M.P. at the end of my name?"
"So'as every blarsted shrimp in this'ere cart!", he retorted.

These charming stories illustrate the chief difference between an important person and a self-important one. The former has no need to assert himself nor the desire to. Unfortunately many of our politicians, celebrities and wealthy belong to the self-important category. They want to assert their importance by arriving late, violating traffic laws, bumping passengers on planes, moving around with several sycophants, holding up traffic and using missiles of influence to get their way.

The pomp and ceremony earlier reserved for presidents and prime ministers is now enjoyed by every public servant of inconsequence. It is not uncommon to see every politician of some rank accompanied by 1 or 2 gunmen and traveling in a convoy of at least 10 cars. Jayalalitha during her first term as Chief Minister traveled in districts in convoys of 1000 cars holding up the traffic hours on end. It is quite common for a CM on tour to travel in a hundred-car convoy. It has also become fashionable for every middle level public servant to have flashing lights atop his official car.

This VIP culture is not just restricted to public functions or official business, but is on display everywhere and is just too unbecoming when also seen in Temples. Surely we should not cast God in our own image!

Will someone tell our self-important VIPs that only the very insecure person wishes to be to recognized immediately and attended to elaborately. The really important person rests easily within himself, and if he struts and pushes, the effect is to diminish his stature, not to enhance it.

Have you ever had a chance to observe while sitting on the deck of a swimming pool. The good swimmers are on the far side doing their 50 laps with such ease and grace, whereas the beginners at the shallow end kick and splash, making the maximum noise. A quick learner will realize that overkicking and splashing will just tire him but not take him too far.

I have to end with an amusing incident that happened several years ago. Another thing, important people shouldn't be seen carrying anything - no briefcase, no papers, not even a newspaper. The RBI Governor was visiting Hyderabad. All the senior bankers and officials received him at the airport. With each one trying to out do the other, his briefcase was forcibly taken out of his hand. By the time the Governor came to his car nobody knew who had his briefcase and he had to be kept waiting outside a full ten minutes before they finally located it and put it in his car. One reason why VIPs are usually late for meetings and inaugurations!





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