Sunday, January 20, 2008


Yesterday I was at the Trivandrum airport, waiting to catch a flight back home, when a friend pointed out that the Chief Minister of Kerala was about to board a plane. I looked around, and sure enough, there was a doti-clad person, walking purposefully towards the boarding gate. What caught my attention was that there was just a single policeman accompanying the Chief Minister; no retinue of self-important sycophants jostling around. I know nothing about Kerala politics -- levels of corruption, development, and so on -- but this was a refreshing change from the personality culture that is prevalent in the rest of the country.

Ironically, I witnessed something completely at variance with the above scene, just two days ago at the same airport: a huge retinue of supporters expressing their adulation (via man-high garlands and slogans shouted at the top of their voices) for a bishop of all people.