May 24 2015 : The Times of India (Mumbai)POLITICALLY INCORRECT - Mr PM, time to 
wake up and smell the masala chaiSHOBHAA DEDear Modiji, The sizzling heat in 
India must be getting to you, now that you are back for a brief visit after 
several foreign jaunts (18 in 12 months) to cooler climes. Unfortunately , the 
welcome home hasn't been terribly enthusiastic, even though it is Janamdin 
Mubarak time for your government. Look what you have come back to: Criticism 
and taunts. Your report card is being written by hundreds of experts, who 
believe they know much more about fixing India's myriad problems than you. 
Policy analysts, economists, TV anchors, defence experts, educationists, 
lawyers, religious heads, bankers, tycoons, management gurus -even Bollywood 
actors. Phew! Your 365 days in office have been deconstructed bit by bit, 
studied closely, and passfail marks given. Poor you! Or... poor us! Frankly, 
this `report card' exercise has become a bloody bore, don't you agree?

You are definitely not getting the Student of the Year award -but, so what? 
Your fans (rapidly dwindling and disillusioned) are still supporting you as the 
head boy of India. But even the most dynamic head boy in a pathshala needs a 
supportive team to win inter-school events. You are head boy, class monitor, 
games captain, house captain, prefect and librarian, all rolled into one. But 
your strict principal is just one entity -the citizen of India. And at the 
moment, the Indian citizen is naraz. Very naraz.

Citizens can be annoyingly impatient and demanding. The thing is, when you 
promised `achhe din', people believed you. Radical plans were announced to get 
India get back on its feet. Your way with words charmed everyone -we fell for 
the slogans and wah-wahed. `Make in India' was catchy and inspiring. World 
leaders started to acknowledge us, and that felt fantastic. You went racing to 
visit our neighbours -a good move. You invited khaas mehmaan to India, starting 
with Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif. Then came the biggie: Barack Obama. He rejigged 
his insane schedule and singled you out -not once, not twice, but thrice. This 
was a gigantic international signal. Everyone was maha impressed.

While these heady shows of diplomacy were in full flow, it appears you forgot 
all about India. There you were rushing from one foreign capital to the next, 
walking the red carpet like Aishwarya Rai at Cannes, and changing as many 
outfits too! Your vanity crossed all limits with that tasteless monogrammed 
suit that some say cost your party the Delhi election.

Uske baad, it has been downhill all the way ... Image and perception make or 
break leaders. The early expectations have been replaced by dejection and 
disappointment. No matter how efficiently you responded during the Nepal 
crisis, no matter how aggressively you set the foreign policy agenda, the home 
truths have been different. People need jobs.

They had hoped your economic policies would create them. People want spiralling 
prices to be checked.
That hasn't happened either. If anything, collective morale has been sliding 
rapidly and the cost of living has never been higher. Taking advantage of the 
dis enchantment, Rahul Gandhi has suddenly woken up from deep slumber and gone 
ballistic with the same old pseudo-socialist slogans that had fooled citizens 
during his grandmother's rule. You had claimed you wanted to take India forward 
-that hasn't happened.
Rahul Gandhi wants to drag it backwards -that is more likely to happen.

Narendrabhai, it's time to wake up and smell the masala chai. Your one year in 
office is over. So is our patience. The trait you most need to check is your 
conceit. Foreign trips aren't a fancy-dress parade. We understand all this 
sho-sha is new for you. It's cute to see your childlike excitement on being 
mobbed by desi fans in South Korea. You've mastered the royal wave from the 
doors of your Air India aircraft.But India needs more than selfindulgent 
photo-ops of their PM jetting around the globe in sorbet coloured designer gear.

It's time you got down to business. Bharat is as un-swachh as it's always been. 
Crimes against wom en haven't been curbed. Foul-mouthed Sadhvis and Maharajs 
still spout hatred. Our armed forces are waiting for sensible budget outlays to 
provide mod ern basics to their men and women. And the Kashmir issue is where 
it has always been -stuck in a rut.

Despite these overwhelming odds, Indians are a buoyant lot. In fact, we are 
pretty amazing when it comes to survival. Which is why we were deeply hurt by 
your insensitive comment during your recent trip to Shanghai and Seoul. Sorry 
to say , Modiji, but you should never have made that remark about people 
feeling ashamed to be born in India.

No Sir, we are very proud to be born Indian. But the one thing we do need to be 
`ashamed' of is the fact that we keep voting for people who let us down.

Bring on the `achhe din' Narendrabhai, and all will be forgiven. Kasam se!

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