The way we are

That we hang our tongues out over anything foreign is known, but I thought at least certain sections had become more sophisticated about it.


Today’s Times of India carried this picture of Spanish Crown Prince Felipe, along with Princess Letizia, welcoming President Pratibha Patil at the palace in Madrid on Tuesday:

Where is our self-respect that we show the President’s back while giving a full view of some monarchy in Spain?

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As though the Americans going overboard about it, and the rest of the West joining in, is not enough, the other night on NDTV after a serious discussion on the elections, the anchor mentioned Barack Obama and his new dog Bo. There was a huge smile followed by pictures of our netas with their kuttas.

Here, too, we need to be inspired by the White House. Worse, the panel was made to sit patiently and watch this; Sudheendra Kulkarini even mentioned that they had missed out on showing Mr. Vajpayee and his dog!

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Just for fun and a contrast, here is Ijaz Ahmed, health minister, Pakistan, at his feudal best:


  1. FV,
    I agree with the photographer's view....dont think his focus is wrong ..she is pretty woman ..as simple as it gets ...no need to read beyond ...hormones over-rule logic most times...and that's what makes life Ill-Logical ..not sure why it is ILL...though ...shud be called S**logical ....

  2. I lack self-respect coz I prefer seeing a beautiful foreign princess instead of an old desi lady??? Jeez, come on..

  3. Manish:

    The point is not about beauty, hormones and the photographer. It is an Associated Press pic and am sure many were taken on the occasion. It is the choice TOI made of using this one that bothers me. Am sure there were others where you could see the beauty as well.

    Your comment was rather disappointing given your position on how the media exploits.


    Ditto for you. You are at pains to point out selectivity in reportage. I wish you had been consistent.

    The lack of self-respect is not about an individual but we as a nation and the stuff we are fed. You have access to pictures of beautiful women and princesses; our newspapers carry photographs and titbits of even minor foreign celebs. There is no dearth. Therefore, I find it extremely derogatory that you use a phrase like "old desi lady" for the President of our country. Desi? Puhleeze. And would you have said the same thing if APJ Abdul Kalam, an "old desi man", was still our Prez and his back was in the pic?

  4. Derogatory? Even I can accuse you of being derogatory for dismissing the royal couple as 'some monarchy'? Both are constitutional heads, so why are you treating the princess as just a 'minor foreign celebrity', less important than our president?

    If I was editor of TOI, I too would select this pic. Why? We have seen enough of Mrs. Patil, not that much of Princess Letizia..and of course, she is infinitely more photogenic.

    Btw, whats so offensive about the word 'desi'? Its just the opposite of the word 'foreign' that you used for the princess..:-) And yes, I would have used the word 'old desi man' for our ex-prez if the context was similar. I don't believe in being reverential towards any post (and the person occupying it), no matter how high or important it might be..

  5. Oh dear…the Prince and Princess are “some monarchy” because Spain is a democracy and, FYI, these two are not the constitutional heads – the king and queen are. It’s like calling Prince Charles or Prince William constitutional heads.

    This was not about how I am “treating” the princess but about how we treat our head of state. When there was a mention of beautiful women, I said “our newspapers carry photographs and titbits of even minor foreign celebs”. This was about our foreign obsession, and there were other examples. As for not seeing enough of the princess, run a search…and we do not see enough of President Patil.

    As editor of TOI you might have used this picture too, or would you not, where our President is accorded respect?


    The word desi is not offensive. My reaction was along the lines of ‘huh?’ You are a desi and it is a bit strange to refer to another one as such…now don’t get into knots and say we do call other Indians Indians (do we in such observations?) and all that…btw, desi is more often used by expats.

    It is wonderful to know that you would have used 'old desi man' if the President were a man, and even more wonderful to note that you do not “believe in being reverential towards any post (and the person occupying it), no matter how high or important it might be...”

    One day I hope you share with us such experiences where you have done so using your real name. Meanwhile, I do hope you find some more pics of Leti the hottie…you don’t believe in respecting positions, right? I am surprised you did not ever address her without prefixing her titular position.

    Nuff said…and perhaps you’d like to read some of your comments here:



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