World Affairs








  Life with eve         Rabbada Aiya

Politicians in love

Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni

Affairs of leaders have always aroused the curiosity of the media

Foreign dignitaries visiting India is nothing unusual except when it happens to be the President of the United States. The visit of the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, to India this week is being eagerly awaited by the media, not so much for its political importance but for an unusual person who will accompany him.

The pretty Carla Bruni, a former model-turned singer wouldn't have raised eyebrows had she been the President's dharma palm. She happens to be his girl friend, seen publicly with the President after Sarkozy divorced his wife, Cecilia, after 11 years of marriage.

Love affairs of political leaders have always aroused curiosity and the media have followed them with more than ordinary interest. Perhaps, the most notorious case of the 20th century was the one involving a Cabinet Minister of Britain, Dennis Profumo.

Steamy relationship

Married to a film star, Valerie Hobson, Profumo developed a steamy relationship with Christine Keeler, a show girl of the '60s. What raised a storm was the revelation that Christine had a similar relationship with one Eugene Ivanov, a naval attache in Soviet embassy and she was passing on secrets, which compromised the security of the state. Profumo, who happened to be the war minister, first told the House of Commons that there was "no impropriety whatever" in his relationship with Keeler but 10 weeks later again told the House "with deep remorse" that he had misled the House and resigned.

This episode reminds us of the most eagerly followed story, that of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Like Profumo, Clinton had at first lied to the people of his country but unlike the former, managed to escape punishment, possibly because his extraordinary charisma and performance as President overshadowed the scandal. In the end, Clinton not only survived but outwitted his opponents. John Kennedy's affair with the famous Hollywood actress Marlyn Monroe was well known.

Romantic interludes

The interesting period of India's freedom struggle was punctuated with romantic interludes and none of them more fascinating than that of Jawarhalal Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten. The future Prime Minister of India shared a tender relationship with the wife of the last Viceroy of British India. Edwina, known for her infidelities (which Louis, the husband didn't seem to mind), was charmed by the handsome Kashmiri and cast a lifelong spell on him. The letters they exchanged reflect not only the personal warmth between them but throw light on the contemporary events.

Nehru's letters

In one of the letters written in 1957, 10 years after they had met, Nehru writes, "My life has been full in many ways and I have been absorbed in and have passionately pursed the love of India and her people and sought to give them such service as I could. But you came to add to it and not to come in its way..." And Edwina replied, "Ten years.......... monumental in their history and so powerful in their effects on our personal lives. All the incidents you mention and the strange course of events... I am steeped in them." To what extent Edwina was able to influence Nehru in the fateful decision relating to partition and the handing over of power by the British will continue to be debated by historians.

India has been somewhat shy in discussing matters of the heart when it comes to political leaders. It seems to be more obsessed with the personal lives of film stars; if the relationship involves a cricket star and a film star, the gossip gets more juicy. But when it comes to people in power, the media, for some reason, be it culture or caution, has shown considerable restraint. There could be some small talk about MGR and Jayalalitha or about Mayavathi and Kanshiram but they don't get escalated into scandals.

When journalists are involved in affairs with persons in high places,  the media looks at things with a different lens. Francois Mitterand, the president who guided the destinies of France for 14 long years during the '80s and early '90s, is said to have had 62 mistresses including some well known female journalists who used to appear on TV to comment on the affairs of his presidency. But nobody made much of it. France can also boast of several politics-media power couples, one of whom included a former Prime Minister, Alain Juppe and his wife Isabelle, a journalist with the French daily, Le Croix.

Love and politics are a heady mixture for the media. But France, for ever, the nation of romance and wine is more forgiving to its lovers. More so, when the media itself is involved. As Henri Rochefort, a French politician and writer remarked, "When politics goes to bed with the press, the truth can sleep peacefully."

- The New Sunday Express 

The good the red stuff does to you

It was a hard day from stem to bally stern last Tuesday and Eve needed a small glass of wine to unwind. This may come as a shock to my 2.007 reading public or perhaps not, but yes I admit it, I enjoy the good things in life - and yes, sometimes the good things in life do come in the form of a deep red liquid of moderate proportions. Ask your doctor she'll tell you. Has Eve ever heard of Mathata Thitha you may well ask and Eve will reply, Mathata Thitha can go to the bally blazes.

What with all the stress of trying to get from A to B while VIP movements are doing their very best to keep the general public in a permanent state of inertia like a frozen bally asset, not to mention of course the added stress of trying to make ends meet on a daily basis, one can only imagine the pressure one is putting on one's nerves and heart and what not.

As good as an apple a day

And just to come back to my theory, ask any fellow with an MBBS behind his or her name whether a small glass of the fine red stuff is not just as good as an apple a day. Better even, come to think of it. So many rotten apples floating about in Paradise these days.

And don't talk to me about making ends meet. I mean to say only yesterday I walked into my closet to pick out a sari jacket for a particularly favourite sari of mine and the hooks at one end much like a shy young village curate writhing in embarrassment before the local courtesan, positively refused to meet the eyelets attached to the other end. If that isn't one end refusing to meet the other end I don't know what is.

In disgust I proceeded to pick up a roomy pair of cream coloured pants. Same story. Button at one end eschewed, nay spurned the button hole at the other end. There seemed to be some conspiracy brewing in the garment industry and it wasn't the GSP I'm talking about. Perhaps they'd all joined a secret society founded upon the Mahinda Chinthanaya or they had been secretly given the low down on the inflation rate by Nivard Cabraal.

Ends that refuse to meet

I only venture to say that there are ends everywhere and they do not meet. Step in to a super market and the same story. Drive through a petrol station, pull out your purse and all you end up with is a red face and an apology as you order half a litre of petrol.

My friend, you know the one, Las, a chap who is never short of explanations for the inexplicable, offers in that mundane way of his yet another explanation for this JVP revolution taking place in my wardrobe. Get on the bally treadmill he says. But I'm not happy. I prefer the conspiracy theory and I jolly well think there's more to all this than meets the eye.

And speaking of friends, there I was last Tuesday popping over to Aj and Kay's home for a bit of de-stressing - and no sooner than I managed to get my toe in at the door, there was Aj immediately asking me if I had any good news.

Good shepherd

Whether some remnant of the Christmas spirit was still lurking in his mind I cannot say, but it was obvious that Aj was under the misapprehension that he, at that moment, was a good shepherd watching over his flock by night and would become the happy recipient of Glad and Good Tidings.

Aj does have some well maintained facial foliage but that's as far as he goes in terms of resembling a shepherd in biblical times. He carries no staff, nor have I ever seen him in a long flowing striped gown. As for me, by no stretch of imagination do I at this present moment in my life resemble an Angel of the Lord.

So accordingly, I said no, I had no good tidings, but was pleased to note that on the table stood a very nice bottle of wine. We soon got off to a spiffing conversation about the war and so forth when Kay, who makes a startling good omelette, came back after a few minutes one in each hand and so there we were.

Non violence wins the day

And it was at just about this moment that I remembered that you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

We pondered on this truism for a space but I had just come back from India where I had meditated on all sorts of things, and of course Aj and Kay are peaceful  souls and so non violence won the day.

And this despite the fact we had just heard that Pirapaharan had been killed for the second time in as many weeks.

Rabbada Aiya

When CC decided to teach the master a lesson

Hi Boys n Girls,

It was in the early '60s that Chee Chee Corea was in College, that is San Bandick. The English master was Nathan the E manuel. There was a running battle between Chee Chee and Nathan. One was hell bent in teaching the other a lesson...

Here are some posers Chee Chee presented to Nathan, who naturally chucked him out of class.

1. If you take an Oriental person and spin him around several times, does he become disoriented?

2. If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes?

3. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

4. If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

5. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

6. Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

7. When cheese gets its picture taken, what does it say?

8. Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a racing car not called a racist?

9. Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites?

10. Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things?

11. Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety one?

12. "I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that "I do" is the longest sentence?

13. If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?

14. What hair colour do they put on the driver's licences of bald men?

15. I thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons and forks so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use? Toothpicks?

16. Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the postmen can look for them while they deliver the mail?

17. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.

18. No one ever says, "It's only a game" when their team is winning.

19. Ever wonder about those people who spend Rs 150 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backwards: NAIVE

20. Isn't making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing section in a swimming pool?

21. If four out of five people suffer from diarrhoea, does that mean that one enjoys it?

Ta Ra and see you next week.

Rabbada Aiya

What the......!

Some son!

Joshua Hoge, a schizophrenic confined to Washington's Western State Hospital, is claiming at least part of his late mother's estate even though he's the one who killed her in 1999. Washington law prevents profiting from the "unlawful" and "willful" taking of another's life, but Hoge was found "not guilty by reason of insanity," and the legal issue is still unsettled. The mother's estate consists almost totally of the $800,000 the estate won in a lawsuit against a county health clinic because it was negligent in delaying Joshua's medications, which probably led to his killing her.

The worm also turns

Mr. Coll Bell, a New Zealander who invented a composting toilet supposedly superior to a septic system and who wanted permission from the Auckland Regional Council to install one at a campground, said a bureaucrat had queried him on whether the worms he uses would be traumatized by the volume of work required in the annual two-week period of intensive campground use.

Coll told Agence France-Presse in December that vermiculture expert Patricia Naidu had assured him that the worms would be "happy."

Play dates

Police in Mount Lebanon, Pa., said in December that no illegal acts were involved, but some parents still want to know why the nondenominational Christian Mount Lebanon Young Life Club had staged a teenagers' social event during which boys wore adult diapers, bibs and bonnets and sat in girls' laps while being spoon-fed.

The youth minister said the skits were not "dirty," but "to break down the walls and let (the kids) have fun." A previous skit involved, according to a parent, kids eating chocolate pudding out of diapers.

Oops! wrong gun

In November, accused armed robber Steven McDermott, 49, was finally captured after leading California Highway Patrol officers on a high-speed chase in a commandeered taxicab, causing two minor collisions before McDermott fled on foot. When McDermott was finally cornered, officers said, he reached toward his waistband, leading one officer to shoot him, though the object McDermott was reaching for turned out not to be the gun used in the robbery but a sex toy, tethered to his belt loop. 

Thought for the day

I regard the employment of the atom bomb for the wholesale destruction of men, women and children as the most diabolical use of science.

"What is the antidote? Has it antiquated nonviolence?" No. On the contrary, non-violence is the only thing that is now left in the field. It is the only thing that the atom bomb cannot destroy. I did not move a muscle when I first heard that the atom bomb had wiped out Hiroshima. On the contrary, I said to myself, 'Unless now the world adopts non-violence, it will spell certain suicide for mankind.' I have no doubt, that unless big nations shed their desire of exploitation and the spirit of violence of which war is the natural expression and atom bomb the inevitable consequence, there is no hope for peace in the world. I tried to speak out during the war,  and wrote open letters to the British people, to Hitler and to the Japanese and was dubbed a fifth columnist for my pains.


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