The only ‘aam admi’ in party’s Mumbai office

Mumbai :  The fragrance of an expensive perfume hits you as you enter the small office of the Aam Admi Party in a shopping centre in suburban Chakala.

Dozen-or-so law students — interning with the AAP — are glued to their Apple laptops. Half-a-dozen pensioners and full-time volunteers are sitting on various tables, chatting merrily.

The only ‘aam admi’ in party’s Mumbai office

The ‘others’ are wannabe volunteers, ranging from affluent housewives to aging NRIs. The crew of three TV channels was wading through this motley crowd, trying to capture the mood, while waiting for their turn to interview the party’s local leaders.

The TV channels had it good: the office secretary, a middle-aged woman draped in a costly saree and reeking of a costlier perfume, had no time for print media.

The only time she looked up from her touch-screen laptop was when a TV journalist approached her.

As the frame was being readied, the cameraman asked for an AAP symbol that viewers could relate to. Within no time, a brand new set of brooms appeared on the table. Madam was now ready to address the nation.

An AAP volunteer, who had just returned from Delhi, began with, “I am from a well-to-do family and have never faced corruption. But I can feel the pain of those who suffer from it.’’

A man in his early sixties seemed interested in talking to this correspondent but excused himself on learning that he was facing a print media journalist.

This correspondent tried to speak to volunteers but they had a ‘’do not disturb’’ expression on their faces. Eventually, a senior citizen, who said he had worked as a textile firm manager for 29 years in Kenya and Tanzania, began talking.

“I came to India in 2011 and joined the anti-corruption-campaign. I used to read about it all back in Africa. I felt the pain of the common public. So I had to join this movement,” said the man who was clearly dreaming of becoming an MLA.

This correspondent moved on to the youngsters in the room who were hunched over their laptops. “I am just an intern here. Actually I am a law student and will go back after a week. They are teaching me how to handle media, advertisements, filing RTIs. I need to know all this for being a lawyer,” said a girl.

Finally, this correspondent realized that there was no ‘aam aadmi’ in the room apart from her.

Swati Jha

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