Nasreen Khan
Kiran Bedi is a busy woman. She has lot of ladies to please before she will get down to answering questions. Her book might be about instilling basic civic sense in the common man, but for the time being she is selling it to the elite English speaking gathering of FICCI ladies at a five star hotel. Translations even in Bengali will follow, she assures.
That this former police boss has good sense of humour is evident as she shares funny anecdotes with the motley gathering of high society ladies. She shares how the Delhi police pass on her mobile number to any woman in trouble even though it is not her job anymore. She talks of how she dreads switching on her mobile on Sundays. Highlighting the lack of basic manners she points out the menace of mobiles ringing when we are in the middle of a gathering. As if on cue, a mobile rings out loud. Like a school teacher talking to little children Kiran Bedi points out, “Isn’t that a Broom and Groom situation?” referring to her just launched book.
She is not just the person who brought sweeping changes in the conditions of inmates at Tihar jail or other postings. She is a social reformer who is making every effort to define that role. She reminds about the time when a police officer under her towed away the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s car. It had earned her the sobriquet of Crane Bedi. She reiterates that it is important to do your job “fearlessly”.
This Magsaysay Award winner reminds the gathering, “You can be what you want to be if you choose to be.” She is at her convincing best when she draws parallels to drive home her point about how women can be the harbingers of civility. She talks about worries of good skin and manicured nails and how one has to care about them from before they can be flaunted. Clearly Bedi knows her subject. And she repeats how this book of hers is the answer to a better society. Of course, she invites suggestions from her readers as well. She also uses the opportunity to invite sponsors to “adopt” underprivileged students under her NGOs and talks of how she is making the effort worldwide.
What attracts you to Kiran Bedi, apart from the fact that she is THE Kiran Bedi, is her playfulness and her sense of purpose. She winks as photographs are being taken, smiling at the importance of posing right. Next minute her Aap Ki Kachehri self is evident when she answers queries to various problems cited by the women in the audience.  And the very next she is sharing her childhood memories or talking about “moving on if you are in a bad situation”. She is not the one to talk of how the law takes a long time. She believes in finding a solution to the problems and being amicable about it as well.
She points out her four “C’s” to success — competency, confidence, compassion and crucibles. The crucibles being the troubles and difficulties one has to face in life. That she has been clear about her future is evident when she says, “I never dreamt of being a bride and decking up. No way! I knew I wanted to run the country rather than run a home.” Is there a political ambition? That query is overlooked. For now she is sticking to her social work. It seems this policewoman and now social worker is fast becoming a lifestyle guru. Her new book is just the beginning.