Today’s column is addressed more to youngsters than older folk: It starts with old people living quite comfortably in retirement receiving a letter from a son or daughter settled abroad, inviting them over for a holiday. “A holiday!” They both shout and start packing, though at the back of their heads they wonder if their locked home will be safe, who will look after their dogs or cats, their plants, and that most certainly they are going to miss their friends and maybe evenings at the club.

On this Republic Day, as we salute and celebrate the making of the Constitution of India, I remember the 2001 earthquake, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where many tall buildings fell, some of them face down like a pack of cards.

The reason for the fall? Weak foundations!

This happened many years ago.

The old lady sat in the room sobbing.

The old man, her husband, a retired army major, stared straight ahead.

They had just lost their son in a motor- bike accident.

I sat holding her hand, there was nothing I could say; the grief was intense, unbearable.

A procession by a majority community into a minority neighbourhood, stone pelting by foolish residents, and the next day bulldozer retaliation by authorities, demolishing shops on the same street with the excuse of encroachments, spoiled the otherwise peaceful consecration of the Ram Mandir. 

Tit for tat, right? But when the tit is done by an eighty percent majority, it could have been done in a wiser way.

On one hand we have Donald Trump, from the White House walking to a church clutching a Bible in his outstretched hand for all to see, then we see the same man accused of the most perverted sexual assaults. And yet to the Bible belt Christians in America and even in other parts of the world this man should be voted back in like a messiah! And could be too!

Have we become blind to hypocrisy or has hypocrisy become an accepted norm? This is not just about Trump but other leaders across the world. Leaders who’ve realised the best way to win the hearts of the electorate is to make themselves religious icons and edifices in the eyes of the people.