DailyOh! Why Parvesh Verma’s father refused to leave a plane, what left Dia Mirza in tears

The real reason Dia Mirza is all sobs — and yet no tissues.

 |  7-minute read |   28-01-2020
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Hello again,

Hope you found the time to update yourself with all that is going around. On second thoughts, updating yourself with ‘all that is going around’ is neither possible, nor advisable. It’s tricky to decide what to read up on and listen to, or watch, and what to leave out. Our suggestion is exercise moderation. Now, that is easier said than done. We know that as well as you because we are all in it together. They even have a term for it these days FOMO (fear of missing out). There are a lot of these cool terms floating around. And the latest fear is that one would be caught not knowing either one, or more or all of them.

We will leave that for a while and take you to Shaheen Bagh in Delhi. Yes, the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests are still going on in the area. Now, Shaheen Bagh has cropped up as a major issue in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly election. Forgotten the dates? Voting will happen on February 8 and results would be declared three days later, on February 11.

BJP leaders have been at the forefront of making some highly provocative speeches in the Delhi elections, especially with regards to Shaheen Bagh.

So, while junior finance minister Anurag Thakur egged on people to complete the slogan, “desh ke gaddraon ko...” (you do know it ends with “goli maaron s***n ko), BJP MP Parvesh Verma said Shaheen Bagh protesters will enter houses, rape sisters and daughters. Want to know the details of what Verma said? Read this. You can also listen to him here:

Now Verma is a BJP MP. That too from Delhi. We understand he has a problem with people sitting on a dharna against a law enacted by his own government. But what we do not understand is the way Verma’s father, former chief minister of Delhi, late Sahib Singh Verma sat in a Jet Airways flight and refused to get down.

Unable to make sense? Hold on. Let us tell the story to you from the beginning and for that, we will have to take you a full 17 years back in the time warp.

So, 17 years back, that is in 2003, Verma senior was a Union minister. The story began when the labour minister was returning to India after watching the cricket World Cup final in South Africa. He was in a Delhi-bound flight at Mumbai airport when smoke on the runway delayed take-off. The airline requested passengers to get off for lunch. But Verma refused. Why? He wanted his food right there, at his seat.

Now, Verma was nearly 60 years old then. So we can assume he may have had trouble getting up. Even if he just watched the cricket match and not play it; at 60, even sitting and watching can leave you tired.

But then, he also insisted that the flight take off despite the technical problems. We doubt he had much understanding of things in the aviation world function, but anyway. So when the flight attendants insisted he get off, Verma began hurling expletives at them. Not just that. At 60, he also served a few blows on the cabin crew. The customer relations manager was so scared that she had to lock herself in the cockpit. Yeah, definitely not the kind of passengers you want to travel with.

After all of this, you might think Verma apologised.

No. Jet Airways chief Naresh Goyal, instead, apologised to the minister because his staff did what it was tasked to do. Remember, we are 17 years back in time. We were yet to turn our smartphones into weapons. From here, we will take you back by seven more months. After missing a Bhuj-bound Jet Airways flight in Mumbai airport, Verma senior had also forced the airline to fly him there in a chartered aircraft!

Cut to 2020. Dia Mirza is all sobs — and yet no tissues. No issues. No, neither Verma junior, nor Verma senior is the reason. This is a different matter. A different story. The actor broke down yesterday during a panel discussion on climate change at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

So, climate change got her crying?

No, Kobe Bryant did. In a way.

The news of basketball star Bryant’s death left many crying. Dia got the news at 3am on Monday morning. She was overwhelmed and that translated into tears during the discussion. You might wonder how do we know about why she cried. Mirza, of course, didn’t tell us. We are saying this because ANI said it. We are still not sure why she cried. We just hope whatever is troubling her is addressed. But what had the internet in splits was when she refused to take a tissue to wipe her tears.

Tissue is made of paper and paper from trees and Dia Mirza feels strongly about climate so she doesn’t use paper. We get that. But the internet doesn’t get why she uses a luxury car that uses so much more fuel and not an electric one when she is so serious about environment. We don’t get it either. And before you start to think that internet is stupid — by internet, we mean those commenting on social media using internet. Internet is intelligent. But even an intelligent internet wouldn’t be able to say with 100 per cent certainty how a car is a lesser climate hazard than a piece of paper.

None of us can vouch for the fact that our lives are 100 per cent eco-friendly. We do what we can. We don’t do what we can’t. Dia uses a car and air-conditioner but not paper. We say, fair enough. But not the internet.

So, while the internet was at it, there were tweets that compared Dia Mirza to Greta Thunberg, the child (think before you infantilise her) environment activist. A comment said, "Sasti Greta Thunberg."

It’s a nasty, nasty world.

And while we were reading this, we were struck by the word Greta. And when a word strikes us, you know by now, it is our Word Of The Day.

Urban dictionary says Greta is a classy, beautiful, well-dressed, artistic woman with a down-to-earth nature. A Greta tends to be a perfectionist, often holding herself to very high standards.

Not using paper to save the environment could be part of those standards.

The word itself is of German and Greek origin, and the meaning of Greta is ‘pearl’. Margaret is the same. Greta is the short form of Margaret. It was Hollywood actor Greta Garbo who actually made that first name of hers famous. (Speaking of Greta, did you know iconic Bengali actress Suchitra Sen was often called Greta Garbo because both of them were recluses?)

Back to Dia. Dia is a sweet name too, actually both short and sweet.

(Aside: We didn’t see even a handkerchief in Dia’s hands. We wonder how the tears were wiped.)

All this talk of protests in India, many say, have given Pakistan a breather. News is soft on Pakistan. Politicians like Kapil Mishra are busy mapping out mini-Pakistan in Delhi. The Election Commission has gone right after his mapping activities gagging his speaking activities.

But we were talking of Pakistan where human rights activist Manzoor Pashteen has been arrested. Governments usually don’t like human rights activists. Human rights activists do not like governments. That’s mutual.

Now, Pashteen ticked off the Pakistani authorities because he works for the cause of Pashtuns in the country. So, while we were reading about Pashteen and Pastuns, we came across Kabuli Pulao. You may think that’s insensitive. But no fight can be fought — or won — on an empty stomach.

So, let us talk about the Kabuli Pulao. And that originated among the Pashtuns of Afghanistan.

Kabuli Pulao is a rice dish consisting of steamed rice mixed with raisins, carrots and lamb. Can you make it without lamb? Yes, though lamb is the preferred meat to make Kabuli Pulao. It can be made with chicken or beef (oops, we didn't say that) and then decorated with raisins, orange peel strips, and chopped nuts such as almonds.

kabul-690_012820042140.jpgKabuli Pulao is a rice dish consisting of steamed rice mixed with raisins, carrots, and lamb. (Photo: YouTube)

It was created by the economically well-off households that could afford to include carrots, plump raisins and nuts in their rice. Overtime, the dish became commonplace.

And that’s when its name changed to Qabili Pulao. In Dari, a language spoken in Afghanistan, qabil means well-accomplished. (Yes, that's the same root behind that Hrithik Roshan movie.) Anyway, the name of the Pulao indicated only a skilled chef can truly balance the various flavours of the dish.

So, qabil people make Qabili Pulao. We say, anyone who can make it right is qabil.

If you want to try your hand at it, you can just look up YouTube. Want to know more about food from Kabul and where to find it, read this.

We will leave you with that for today. Sit back with a plate of Qabili Pulao. Ah, order in if you're not qabil yet to ruffle up the dish.

Meet you tomorrow.

Also read: DailyOh! Tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys, but the show goes on


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