It seems as though it was only the other day that the Man from Madras Musings wrote about the national awards, you know the ones he is referring to – India Jewel, Lotus Bejewel, Lotus Jewel and Lotus Wealth. And here we are, a year later, with yet another instalment of the awards, with, as a fallout, even more material for MMM to ponder over.

Firstly, MMM is delighted that his dear friend, Man of Drawings (MD), has been conferred with Lotus Wealth. MMM’s happiness would have been double had MD’s good lady, Milady Delightful  been around to witness this but then one cannot have everything in life. The two MDs, man and woman, were exemplars of positive thinking, who made a success of their lives despite all the obstacles placed in their way, and yet had enough cheer left over to spread joy all around. To MMM, MD & MD were India Jewels but the Lotus Wealth is still great.

Now having sung of saintly humans, let MMM come down to the prosaic. A scan of the list of the Lotus Adorned reveals that many unsung heroes and heroines have made it and for that MMM expresses his congrats to the powers that be behind the selection. MMM also sees that the colour of the clothes that people wear has not made a difference – which is all to the good. Yes, MMM would have been happier had there been more musicians, especially of the South Indian kind but he does acknowledge that the two duos who received the Lotus Wealth, making it a quartet of sorts, are most deserving.

MMM however learns that those of the terpsichorean world are not happy. Hell hath no fury like the dancer scorned. The mood, so MMM understands, was not happy to start with what with some low-life individual circulating an email in which he/she had listed what he/she felt were all the evil practices of the dance world. The Government ignoring these artistes for the lotus awards has added insult to injury. For weeks on end, so MMM understands, dancers have been scanning the horizon for the arrival of the beloved, namely the intimation on the award. And what they got was a lemon.

The build up towards this anti-climax has been as predictable as any dance performance – the hopefuls queued up in Delhi, sent messages (read voluminous curriculum vitae) via companion, cloud, parrot, swan and peacock, pined away in anticipation and were tormented by the moon’s rays, the humming of the bees and the song of the nightingale. They pushed away food and milk untasted and wasted away until their watch straps could be used as belts. Now, alas, all of this has been to no avail.

MMM also understands that rage and disappointment was writ large on some celebrities who took to slavishly praising the Prime Minister and his second-in-command on social media in the hope that someone would bring these paeans to his august notice and thereby promote their chances for the lotus. But that too has not worked. MMM hopes that these sycophants realize that much thought has gone into the selection of most awardees and many of the recipients were really not the kind who lobbied. It is quite likely that that era of lobbying is really over.

That message has however not penetrated. MMM hears from sources in the corridors of power that lobbying has begun hard for Lotus 2021. And given the number of posthumous awardees this year, many of those vying for the recognition are reportedly prepared to consider dying for it as well.

In the meanwhile, the snobbery among the lotus-ed people continues – the bejeweled looks down on the jeweled who in turn sneer at the wealth. In the eyes of the bejeweled and the jeweled the wealth are to be ‘cast into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth’ to quote from the good book.

Join me on my forthcoming heritage walks-

The Storytelling Walk at VR Chennai – 8th Feb at 11.00 am 

The Ghosts of RK Salai – 8th Feb at 9.00 pm