By Chandrima Pal Mar. 15, 2019
Since he’s assumed the post of Prime Minister, Modi ji has given us a reason to smile, get creative with our memes, and show the middle finger to the world. From his Republic Day outfit to his famous Modi hug, which one is your favourite?
To borrow from Charles Dickens ji, it was the best of times, it was the weirdest of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of Photoshop. It was the epoch of foreign trips, it was the epoch of memes. In just about a few weeks, Narendra Modi will complete five years in office. Five tumultuous years of the man who will always be remembered as the slayer of killer crocodiles and Indian currency. A man who made us believe that long before we discovered the photon, we had the spine-chilling, blood-curdling, goosebump-inducing “mitron”.
Modi ji recently said that Narendra Modi may come and go, but India is forever. Jai Hind, but sorry to disagree. There may never be another PM like him. In these five years, Modiji gave us more than simply headlines and Republic TV. He gave us a reason to smile, get creative with our memes, show the middle finger to the Umrikans who thought they could Trump us. Here are five such moments from the Believe it Or Not – Modiji Edition, that put a smile on our faces through these eventful times.
That Republic Day parade outfit
All of us love imagining ourselves as superheroes in our fantasies. Only a few get to do it in real life. Even fewer get to pose in their superhero costumes at widely televised events. During his first social engagement as the freshly minted Prime Minister, Modiji showed Barack Obama and the world what a desi superhero looks like. Out with the done and dated chaddi-over-tights costume with initials emblazoned on the chest. In with THAT suit that had his name all over it. Literally. If there was one message that Modiji wanted to send out to the world that day, it was that you can neither forget the man nor his name.
That “entire political science” degree
Remember that time you flunked your maths test and hid your report card from your father? Or when you forged mumma’s signature on your report card to avoid being a disgrace to your family? Turns out, you were not alone. In 1978, when many of you were but a distant gleam in your parents’ eyes, one young man was creating history. While his peers were struggling to master just one subject, he was diligently pursuing “all” of them. Modiji was perhaps the first and last student of Delhi University to have been awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in “Entire Political Science.” No one would ever dare to attempt this impossible feat again. When DU was responding to the RTI plea seeking the exact details of Modiji’s marksheet, it should have added a statutory warning: This stunt was performed by a professional. Do not attempt this at home.
That thing he does with children
World leaders love to pose with children. Especially when the children are in diapers, or thrust in their face by an over-eager adult. Some leaders, especially those with children of their own, are naturals. Others, who are trying their best to act as human as possible, struggle to find the appropriate body language for the situation. Leaving us with videos like the one where Modiji punishes a child by pulling his ears. Perhaps the PM just wanted to make sure the child was able to listen to his Mann Ki Baat over the weekend. Maybe he just wanted to show that he too was an affectionate world leader like Chacha Nehru.
That annual tryst with weird yoga poses
For a man who takes pride in his killer fitness regimen, and has contributed greatly to the Make Yoga Great Again campaign, Modi ji looks positively awkward when keeping his date with World Yoga Day. Every year, he twists and turns his body in more angles than Rahul Gandhi could ever find in the Rafale story. Modi ji has the ability to make the toughest of Yoga poses look deceptively simple, like the time he lay sprawled on a rock, arms outstretched, channelling his inner Shah Rukh Khan. If you think that’s easy, we’d like to see you try that when you are jetlagged and have a hazaar cameras trained on you!
That famous Modi hug
You have to give it to Modi ji. He has the ability to leave his mark on people. Just like the “Nehru jacket” became the “Modi jacket”, the bear hug is also now officially the “Modi Hug”. The form of affection, occasionally thrust on unsuspecting individuals, makes for some truly memorable memes. Our Modi ji is so simple and affectionate a man (says his official biographer Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay), he cannot believe there is anyone who would want to refuse his jaadu ki jhappi – whether it’s his former pal Barack Obama, a French president, Mark Zuckerberg, or Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. It must’ve hurt real bad then, when that Gandhi boy, copy pasted his signature move on live camera during a Parliament. Not fair, Pappu!
Chandrima Pal is a journalist, columnist, career insomniac and caffeine snob. Loves food. Does travel. Author of A Song for I (Amaryllis) and At Home in Mumbai (Harper Collins).