A surfeit of niceness

Sunday, 16 February 2014 - 6:00am IST Updated: Saturday, 15 February 2014 - 11:45pm IST | Agency: DNA
Following his spirited opposition to Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History, Malavika Sangghvi writes a letter to Dinanath Batra of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, to warm the cockles of his dear heart.
  • Dinanath Batra Ravi Jadhav DNA

Dear Mr Batra,
How are you? I hope this letter finds you in the best of happiness. How is your dear family? How are your friends and neighbours? My good wishes to all of them, even those whose names I do not know, will never know, those still to be born and their descendants.

May they all have wonderful, wholesome, fulfilling and ever-joyful lives.

May their days be full and their nights redolent with rest and recovery. May their mornings be sprightly and invigorating. May it all be very nice.

What keeps you busy these days? Busyness is such a wonderful thing isn’t it? It somehow has a way of making every one full of vigour and determination. It gives one’s day an enervating ring.

I wish a lifetime of busyness to you, your entire family and friends even those whose names I do not know, will never know, those still to be born and their descendants.

May they all have wonderful, wholesome, fulfilling and ever-joyful days of busyness and certitude. And of course may it all be a bed of roses. Roses without a single thorn, I might add.

How is your health these days? Health is such a pleasant thing isn’t it? I hope your health, that of your entire family and friends even those whose names I do not know, will never know, those still to be born and their descendants, all enjoy excellent health.

May it all be very nice.

How is the weather in your city Mr Batra? Not too hot? Not too cold? Weather is such a lovely thing isn’t it Mr Batra? One day it rains, the next there’s sunshine, and then the leaves turn colour. It keeps every one so occupied. I wish you and all creatures in your path good and nice weather!

Warm sunshine, cool rain and even — (why not?) — steady, soft falling snow. May every one in your neighbourhood, country and planet enjoy excellent weather, good friends, (they are such a nice thing, aren’t they?) exceptional teeth and a surfeit of happy days.

I am not saying this lightly or out of formality, Mr Batra. Nice, happy days are such a comfort in ones’ old and young age. I wish you, your family, and friends — even those whose names I do not know, will never know, those still to be born and their descendants nice, happy days.

I hope the sunshine of my sincerity shines through my words and touches your good heart with uplifting warmth, Mr Batra.

What else? Ah, yes, what have you been reading these days Mr Batra? A little light reading is such an important thing isn’t it?

Books that please, books that concur and comply, books that conform with our views, and that never offend or provoke or annoy, they are the joy of ones life, the wellspring of our days the engine of our motors, aren’t they?

I wish you and your family, and friends —even those whose names I do not know, will never know, those still to be born and their descendants bushels full of un-thought provoking, unexciting, bland, dry, stodgy, vapid, monochrome, dreary, humdrum, mundane; mind-numbing, plain-vanilla and nice books for the rest of your lives.

As you can see, so much blandness makes for very boring letters. God knows what it can do to books.
I wish you a lifetime of them.

Yours sincerely etc,

Malavika Sangghvi The writer believes in the art of letter writing


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