So I am feeling quite smug and prophetic. I told you last fortnight that the Sainiks would want to name all kinds of stuff after Bal Thackeray. The sea-link, Marine Drive, the zoo. And now they are eying Shivaji Park itself. Tsk, tsk… isn't that like, insulting to Shivaji? Anyway, I have a better suggestion for them. How about renaming Mumbai itself? They can call it Balasaheb's own Mathrubhumi and Bay. Or Bombay for short. What a tribute. Hai tears rise to my eyes.
Waise, why do interviewers always ask famous people how would they like to be remembered? Who would give a rat's ass as to how you are remembered? Seriously? I mean, you're dead, right? So how you are remembered falls in the same category as the hole in the ozone layer. Not my problem anymore! I really don't think Bal Thackeray cares about how he is remembered. He probably has much more pressing issues on hand—like explaining most of his life's work to the tough guys in the celestial courts.
Another grand Maratha who clearly doesn't seem to care much about his legacy is Sachin Tendulkar. At a time when all the greats of his generation are retiring, many fingers are 'Ponting' at Sachin. Personally, Sachin's got me convinced. I feel that the whole quit-on-a-high philosophy can be interpreted to be a selfish one. Surely it is self-centred to want to quit on a high and maybe it is more unselfish to keep playing for as long as your country needs you. I think the already retired players are just disgruntled that Sachin's getting to play as long as he can. I think they're just itching to rip off his India blues and wipe off his sunscreen—like the bald, old widows rip off the red saris and smudge the sindoor of newly bereaved widows in all those socially relevant, Prem Rog type movies made by Raj Kapoor. And then they want to shut him in the dark kaal kothri of the commentary box, just like them.
And what's all this nonsense about youngsters not getting a chance because the oldies aren't quitting? If Salman Khan can open with a Sonakshi Sinha, why can't Sachin open with an Unmukt, huh? Besides, if the selectors have the guts, they can just call SRT's bluff, if it is, indeed, a bluff. What's a few more angry Maharashtrians anyway? Get in line, people!
Meanwhile, the Sainiks can try a new line in extortion. It's got a great future as Bollywood is currently in the throes of a whodunnit phase. The Sainiks can threaten to reveal the twist in the story on the internet before the film releases and thus extort money from the producer. And once the film releases, they can extort money from regular people by threatening to tell them the twist. Why just the Sainiks—anybody can use this technique. Terror groups, beggars hanging on to your car windows at the red lights, children negotiating with their parents to buy the latest Apple device, anybody. Of course, it only works for those Bollywood movies that actually have a story to begin with—so on second thoughts, it may not be that a lucrative an extortion racket. Damn.
Seriously though, we Indians can keep a secret. It took me almost three hours of dedicated internet trawling to find out the big twist in Talaash. And none of us came to know about Ajmal Kasab being dead till he was actually, dead. That is pretty impressive. Good for us. We're clearly maturing as a nation. Now let's hope the Lashkar-e-Toiba, emboldened by the Shiv Sainik's demands for a samadhi in Shivaji Park, doesn't start going on at us to make samadhi for Kasab inside Pune's Yerwada Jail.