BETWEEN WORLDS WITH SHASHI THAROOR
Pictures, they say, tell more than a thousand words. At least this one does. Shashi Tharoor, India's hope for the United Nations top post stands here as it were between worlds.
One that represents India, another that represents the world. If you take a closer look at picture, it will give you a glimpse of modernity meeting tradition. For those of you who have spent time in the true heartland of India, you'll know what I mean. Those parts of Kutch, the painters working on those amazing Madhubani paintings in Bihar - you'll get the drift.
To see that painting in the backdrop of this setting says something about the many facets of the writer and diplomat extraordinaire - Shashi Tharoor.
He flits between worlds. That much is apparent in his books. From 'The Great Indian Novel' based loosely on the epic Mahabharata, he went on to give readers his take on the world of Bombay's 'Showbusiness'. In 'Riot', he put together a story told through the eyes of various people. Caught in the midst was an American aid worker who really does not belong to any side in the riot.
If you have been charmed by the fiction, Tharoor has been equally at ease with non-fiction too. Whether it is tracking 'India's Journey from Midnight to Millennium' or analyzing the four pillars of Nehruvianism or going not quite 'Bookless in Baghdad', Tharoor has won readers the world over through his ecletic views.
It is those views that are unravelling quick time on a global stage. As he gears up for one of most closely watched race in the world, he takes on the job of winning over the hearts and minds of not just one or two but the 157 states that make the United Nations what it is today. Well, technically, he doesn't have to win all 157 of them, but the effort that he has put to his current South-East Asian mission, gives one a mere reflection of the seriousness and the depth of his zeal to see a world where the United Nations clearly plays a bigger, broader role.
Some view the 28 years he has spent with the world body as a deterrent. For him, it gives him an insiders perspective. One which gives him insights into the inner workings of an organisation where the world 'complex' would merely end up sounding simple.
As the UN looks for its eight secretary-general in its even more turbulent 60-year old history, they couldn't look for anyone better than a man who truly believes that: "A world without the United Nations is a world without hope."
PS: Another post on all the book stuff will be up soon.