Chariots Still Afire

YOU WOULD never think this of Lal Krishna Advani — the grand charioteer of Indian politics — but this politician, known for the Ram rath yatra, is not on a regimen of yoga, meditation or prayer. Ask Deepak Chopra, Advani’s long-standing private secretary of over two decades, about the 81-year-old neta’s routine and he says, proudly, “Advaniji suffers from good health.’’

Lal Krishna Advani
Lal Krishna Advani
Age: 81
Profession: Veteran politician, former deputy prime minister
Confession: Has a weakness for sweets and for Ekta Kapoor’s K serials, particularly Kyun Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi Photo: AFP

He should know. He is always around Advani – including at the 200-plus rallies that Advani hopped, skipped and jumped to in the May general elections as the BJP’s prime minister-in-waiting. The only sign of fatigue Advani betrayed — if it can be thus put — was his throat letting him down a couple of times. “That’s the only weak spot that cracks under campaign pressure,’’ says Chopra.
Advani, in fact, displays a stamina for work and was willing to continue being the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha for a full five-year term, and if he is now talking of donning an elder’s role, it’s because of what the RSS wants and not due to any signals from his body.
The one signal that he absolutely succumbs to is his love for sweets. He is more disciplined about his food intake and as Deepak put it, “I have observed something unique. He has developed a habit of getting up from the dining table with hunger still within him.’’ This never-say-die politician is most peaceful around his family. And yes, Jinnah is not the only Pakistani legend Advani admires. He loves listening to Mallika Pukhraj and Ghulam Ali too.