The art of fawning…

Fawning is to exhibit affection or attempt to please, as a dog does by wagging its tail, whining, or cringing or to seek favor or attention by flattery and obsequious behavior.Many think it is easier to please people by fawning all over them, it is not, as fawning is an art by itself which is done by hardening our hearts. One has to do it in a subtle manner so that it does not look crass nor should it look jocular in order to achieve the desirous result. There cannot be one person in this world who has not practised this on another or escaped being fawned upon. Fawning is regarded as an integral dogma in the political, social and corporate circles. It is difficult to strip it off certain personalities just as it is difficult to not expect the sycophancy.

Sonia Gandhi is probably the most fawned upon in the political circles today. Anyone who watches the proceedings at the parliament or at any Congress meeting that is being telecast would have observed the yes men and the yes women vying to make eye contact with the Mona Lisa of Indian politics. If Sonia glances their way or merely nods her head the yes men break into a rapturous smile, a melting moment for them. The Ministers run after Sonia like little puppies and for good behavior a occassional biscuit gets thrown their way or a bony portfolio for them to chew on, all at the expense of the exchequer. She has her boys on a leash, the old girls who follow her like Sheila Dixit are given a bit more rope and fetch the frisbee or a ball for Sonia or run behind Sonia’s heels.It is difficult to get Sonia to smile, she is naturally rigid. Today she was grinning away a fair bit when Mamta Banerjee was presenting the railway budget. Banerjee was making some wise cracks in the midst of her budget presentation, scolding a few members and threatening to strike off their inclusions if she  were to be interrupted by their incessant demands. Lo and behold, the chiding made Mona Lisa smile. There is a good chance that Banerjee was acting like a school teacher today so that she can make the principal smile. I like to compare Sonia to Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece for more than one reason. Both remain dubious ( mysterious sense and more ) and are less understood, both are of Italian origin, both have a mysterious smirk that is begging to broaden into a smile but fails short of doing so, both were created  by a man, both the men who created them are dead, both their names end with the letter “a”, both have black hair, both have olive skin, both are shrouded under high security day in and out, both can be held for a sizeable ransom, both are always under public gaze, both are worth a fortune, both cannot be decoded, both take people’s breath away. Just to clarify what I mean by the last comparison, how many Congress men have died in mysterious plane or chopper crashes in the last few years…oh well, I think I am convinced, I could go on the whole day about this.

Coming back to sycophancy and fawning in politics, the excessive display is a great source of amusement. The larger than life-size cut outs on the roads for Sonia raises the eyebrow. There was a time when Indira Gandhi’s cut out was the largest, then it was Rajiv’s, currently more trees are cut to produce big Sonias and more shrubs destroyed for sprouting Rahuls who stand a bit behind Mamma. The lady who started the austerity drive should start a paper less drive first. It would be unfair to say that Sonia is the only one who is capable of making men and women exhibit such obsequious behavior. There are a few besides her not just in politics but in other areas too. I blame the boot lickers more than the ones whose boots are getting licked.

Credibility is fructification of valued ethics. We must let our good work do the talking, all other things will naturally follow. Our parents and elders have always advised us of such. But, increasingly there is so much of fawning happening around us that it has become difficult to differentiate between the real and the fake, the truth and the lie, the black and the white. We practice fakery at the drop of a hat now a days. We tell our bosses how great their work is when in reality we are smarter than the boss and he gets us to do all his pending work and the boss is a nincompoop who has been getting promoted every year because he has been telling his boss the same thing. We tell our important friends how trim they look when they are bursting at their seams and have gained twenty kilo. The rich love it when they are made to feel like Richie Rich, the poor little rich boy with a heart of gold and we keep reminding them of it. We have converted every Bollywood and cricket star into cult figures, even the shoddy ones who have not tasted success are fawned over, we gape at them when they make an appearance and make them feel so important. Dead politician’s sons are fawned over more, Rahul Mahajan is one such who has twenty women falling all over him because he is rich. When was the last time we appreciated somebody from the bottom of our hearts ? When was the last time we have let good work do all the talking ? I miss seeing people like Abdul Kalam in public service. A rare gem, a man who did not entertain flattery or indulge in it himself. Are there any more Kalam’s in Indian politics? If there are, they are hiding very well. We must break free from flattery, we can start by taking a good long look in the mirror at ourselves. There will be some answers. In parting, a section from my favorite playwright.

I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar;
Desiring thee that Publius Cimber may
Have an immediate freedom of repeal.

What, Brutus!

Pardon, Caesar; Caesar, pardon:
As low as to thy foot doth Cassius fall,
To beg enfranchisement for Publius Cimber.

I could be well moved, if I were as you:
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumber’d sparks,
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there’s but one in all doth hold his place:
So in the world; ’tis furnish’d well with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshaked of motion: and that I am he,
Let me a little show it, even in this;
That I was constant Cimber should be banish’d,
And constant do remain to keep him so.


19 Responses to “The art of fawning…”

  1. Wow!!!I am the first one to comment today may be!!!!!!!!!!

    Well di,you may say its just hypocrisy in other words……..

    The extract above was a part of literature in tenth standard……tried to understand it but couldn’t…….

    Congratulations di,today Sachin,your favorite player may be,played and won the game for his country…….

  2. Sharmilaji, you are definitely the best. Your repertoire is awesome. Your understanding of people and things is outstandingly brilliant. Fantastic. And please, don’t even think that I’m practicing the art of fawning.

    • Thanks Melwyn! What is this ji about all of a sudden? Glad you liked it, Pritish Nandy too enjoyed this and retweeted on He enjoyes my digs at Sonia, Jaya and Maya a fair bit. I have included my tweets on the blog page now. I know you are no fawn here.

  3. this is the first time i am reading ur blog and must say am reading a well articulated piece after a long long time.

    U hv said something which all us of indulge in every day without an iota of shame. Most of our interactions hinge on “what am i gonna get out of this” and fawning is the fastest way to enter someones gud books..

    i guess fawning is now a part of our culture practiced by one n all in varied degrees.

    reporters fawn on mama’s boy taking baby steps in politics.
    critics fawn on a contrived movie made by India’s top stars.
    celeb writers fawn on socialites who hv nothing to contribute to the society
    business channels fawn on business honchos who will bribe their way to the top
    lesser souls fawn on bosses, clients, acquaintances, spouses

    i have only 2 words for u. keep writing. 🙂

  4. Thank you!!

  5. A great writing no doubt –but Wy only Gandhi clan?? there are others doing the same !! just you need widen your reach.!!

    Nabeel A. khan

    • Nabeel – Thank you for your comment. I did mention in the blog that Sonia is not the only one. If I try including more such people the article would have been rather infinite. Cheers

  6. […] : Sharmili What : The art of fawning… Spicy : Fawning is to exhibit affection or attempt to please and Sonia Gandhi is probably the most […]

  7. anonymous Says:

    Hello Sharmila,

    The article is nice but I would like to offer you a suggestion on the screen color. Since it is black, it gives more problem to our eyes. Please change it to other color. It would be nice to read more article from you.

  8. […] means an exaggerated comment. ( I had written an article on the art of fawning over Sonia – click here ) If the Bachchans had indulged in sycophancy of the Gandhi’s over the last few years, they […]

  9. Juhi Awasthi Says:

    Wonder now if I’M fawning, but I LOVE your article Sharmila, you’ve come so far from the ‘Maradona’ days (oh, they havent ended, I know 🙂 )
    Am SOooooooooo proud of you!! Showed your articles to Mom, she’s an avid reader of anything you write.
    Keep up the good work, may you too, one day, like Sonia, have all the people in the world ‘fawning’ over you, as one of the best writers of this century!

  10. Most do not have any credentials to fawn on. In India that is Bharath we call it chamchagiri

  11. Ju – Thank you very very much, I am flattered now 🙂 I must say that your dancing skills are quite extraordinary too.

  12. Muraliraja Says:

    For the last 1 hour I was searching your blog for the post which I first read in your site. And finally I found it..! This is the one!
    For quite some time I was trying to remember this. But never took the initiative to search. But today reading about archiving this blog in your latest post comments section triggered me to find it.
    All I had is 2 clues.

    1. I vaguely remember reading your blog somewhere between March 10 to April 10.
    2. Pritish Nandy tweet brought me here.

    After few attempts switching between March & April archive I felt lost. Indeed I thought of writing to you & ask which post was tweeted by PN during this period! (Crazy idea! I know…)

    As a last attempt, gave my belief a break! I searched Feb 10 post.
    Stumbled on this post. I remember this post well! I consider this as one of your best work. But I was not sure whether this is the one I read first. Browsed through previous posts & though I don’t remember reading any of them, still was not fully convinced.
    Finally before giving up, just browsed through the comments section & there you go…. You have mentioned about PN tweet! Eureka moment!
    Further I got assured, thanks to my strange assumption & … thanks to Melwyn’s remarkable comment mentioning you as “Ji”.
    Frame tale:
    This may sound little strange.
    When I first read your post & because of
    1. Your Name
    2. A VIP like PN tweeted about it
    3. The maturity & depth in your writing
    4. Melywn calling you “Ji”

    I thought you are Sharmila Tagore!
    (Also I should blame it on “About” section! All it gave me is there are only 1411 Bengal tigers left!)
    Then as months passed, after reading few more posts I came to a conclusion that you are some other Sharmila. But OLD & VIP was in my mind.
    In the 3rd phase I discovered you are not a VIP, but you know PN well & that’s why PN is following you on twitter & reading, recommending your post. Still OLD was in my mind.
    After few months, as I started following your post regularly, I finally decided to follow you via twitter.
    And finally visited your profile in twitter…. GASP!
    That pinkish profile picture shattered all my assumptions!

  13. Wow Murali! I am honestly flattered. Is this fawning going on here?? lol.. But, thank you so much. Well and truly honored with all the lovely things you have said. And, you know what , this one is my favorite post too and coincidently I think I have never bettered this. Melwyn does not call me ji anymore.. I hope not! Sigh, I wish I were a VIP though.. :)))

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