When I Grow Up, I Want to Be an Indian Parliamentarian


When I Grow Up, I Want to Be an Indian Parliamentarian

Illustration: Juergen D

Sachin Tendulkar ended his six-year stint as a Rajya Sabha MP with a grand attendance of eight per cent. For someone who loved breaking records on the field, these aren’t numbers the Little Master would be proud of. After receiving criticism from Arnab Goswami, Chetan Bhagat, and all of Twitter, Sachin once again fumbled in the nervous nineties. In an attempt to salvage the situation, he donated his entire salary, approximately ₹90 lakh, to the Prime Minister’s relief fund.

While Sachin found it in himself to be gracious when critiqued, the same kind of light isn’t cast on every underperforming member, as they all get together and waste taxpayer money by doing… nothing.

Okay, maybe “nothing” is too harsh. They do shout slogans and break chairs at times.

Having worked in a corporate office as well as a media outlet, I envy the job of a parliamentarian. When I wake up in the morning, I’m mentally prepared for a long working day. If lucky, I could be free by 7 pm; 8, if I am realistic. When parliamentarians have a lucky day, they could be free within seven or eight minutes. And when you have Satan on your side, every other day is a lucky day. Only Indian MPs – and Usain Bolt – make the most amount of money working the least amount of time.

Imagine being in a workplace where you get a holiday for creating a ruckus but you still get paid for it.

When you leave for work and are back home within half an hour, mom will ask if you’re sick and unwell. But when you’re a MP, that’s just a way of life. In corporate offices, there’s a work-life balance conflict because there’s too much work and very little life. When you’re a parliamentarian, the balance is skewed in the opposite way – you have too much life and very little work. Oh, and they don’t give you a laptop and expect you to work from home or on vacation either.

You work 10 hours a day, every day of the week and you can still afford only Ola Share and economy-class travel. As an MP, however, you work an hour a day in the year and get more allowances and perks than you deserve. While office salary is a negotiation bloodbath with your boss and HR head, the great thing about being in Parliament is you decide your own salary and perks. It’s amazing how gracious you can be when you become your own boss and have to take money from taxpayers and give it to yourself for putting in the barest minimum hours in the office.

When I watch some pretty unparliamentary Parliament proceedings on TV, it reminds me of my school days. Half the class is shouting, there is absolute chaos, and the monitor has lost all control. But in school, a teacher would invariably walk in and there would be order. I guess that’s a bit too much to ask from elders directly concerned with the well-being of the country. When someone is loud, rude and offensive in office, they immediately get a disciplinary warning mail from HR. When you keep doing it repeatedly, you get fired from your job. On the floor of the house though, it is merely an off day, whether you do it once, twice, or for the 87th time.

Imagine being in a workplace where you get a holiday for creating a ruckus but you still get paid for it. It would bring alive the violent seven-year-old, as you’re incentivised for being a rabble-rouser. It’s a dream job, and little wonder that no one ever wants to walk away from it.

Unfortunately, it’s a little difficult for decent and civilised people to get in.

For while your average corporate office places merit on unnecessary things like academics and work experience, a must-have quality to be a MP is having a criminal record against your name.