Confession time: I love Sarko. And I think Carla Bruni, his girlfriend/mistress/ temptress/wife is seriously gorgeous. Sarko is what the French call a chaud lapin. Literal translation? Hot rabbit. In other words, he is unstoppable when it comes to women. His ex-wife insists the man is wild and non-discriminating in his choice of female companions. Does that make him a criminal? Mais, non! That makes him a hero, especially in his own country.
What is a man without a mistress? A bore! So many past French presidents have conducted their liaisons openly, fathered children and generally carried on with their parallel lives, no questions asked — or answered. Their long suffering wives preferred silence and complicity over creating a public scandale. Sarko will have none of it! Love me, love my woman, is his clear message. He has stated categorically that he does not believe in the old hypocrisies, and the hell with discretion. That makes the two of them — Bruni says monogamy is not an option. She has proved it several times over. Theirs is a match made in heaven. A hot rabbit and an equally hot... err, foxy lady? Great combo, going by their PDA moments chronicled by panting paparazzi.
So what is all the fuss about? Khullam khulla pyaar ? He is recently single, and she will always remain single (even if she shocks her admirers by tying the knot with Sarko). Why are we going into moralistic overdrive and getting all prim and prudish? Sleeping arrangements? Protocol issues? Come on, give us a break! We are not Saudi Arabia. Paradoxically, a Saudi official can be accompanied by wife number three on formal trips, no eyebrows raised. But Sarko has to keep his hands off Bruni when visiting that region, as local sensibilities get offended by such touchy-feely conduct!
Let's back off s'il vous plait, and let the French decide what status to give Sarko's sizzling companion when (and if), she makes it to India. This is the land of the Kamasutra, the world's best known love and sex manual. We can't risk our reputation at this stage by turning into Victorian prudes and insisting on 'propah' conduct from the cooing couple. What takes place in their boudoir is Sarko's and Bruni's business. Why spoil their romantic frissons by huffing and puffing over silly 'propriety'?
Sarko, the love anarchist, chooses his advisors well. He has our Amorous Amartya on board... and who is to say that Dr Sen's advice will be strictly restricted to economic affairs? What about the more important affairs of the heart — a subject Amartya Sen is not exactly unfamiliar with?
In India, we have a nasty way of classifying adventurous women by sticking ugly labels on them. 'Rakhail', 'kept', 'chudail' are the few printable descriptions. Men with multiple relationships are never condemned or described in such ugly terms. The current 'Kissa Carla Ka' is likely to challenge us in surprising ways, since, like the French of old, we too are a spectacularly hypocritical society. Whether or not Bruni is married/engaged/freelancing/pregnant/single, is her business alone. Let us not trot out that rubbish about such a relationship being against 'our great culture'! Our own netas (including a few in the present cabinet), are known to be Casanovas. Some travel openly with these companions and nobody blinks. Often these girlfriends get elevated to positions of great power and become chief ministers! So, what are we cluck-clucking about?
Carla Bruni, you are most welcome to come to India with your man. Most surveys have shown that nobody has a problem with the situation, except babus going by the book and worrying about some outdated protocol. India has always attracted lovers from across the world. Follow your heart... and libido. Let Sarko worry about his love handles, while we handle the rest. Voulez vous couchez in the Land of Love