Social media can end up being a great leveller. Come to think of it, anyone who has a basic understanding of the way this predictable monster function, could have told a specific turn awaits in the unfolding of the remarkable Ranu Mondal story. Yes, Ranu Mondal, the busker from Ranaghat town in West Bengal, has a voice that left internet teary-eyed (in a good way).
Ranu Mondal was social media gold. Many sites, including us, earned millions of of views with her videos. But like any hardened netizens will tell you, another spate of videos were just waiting to follow.
The slug, Shame On You Ranu Mandal, reveals the intent of the video. But the video itself is symptomatic of the way in which we interpret ‘good success’ and ‘bad success’.
In the video, the host cites an interview of Ranu Mondal by a journalist . The interviewer keeps asking Ranu probing questions about her financial condition before her big break. Ranu seems distinctly disturbed by the questions and tries to avert them. When Ranu is asked about Achindra Babu, the person who shot the now viral video, she calls him ‘Bhagwaner Chakor’, a servant of God, but the host of this video keeps insisting that Ranu called him a mere naukar (servant).
In a moment, Ranu, internet’s favourite rags-to-riches icon becomes something else. She seems ungrateful towards the very man who ensured her video reaches millions. The man who changed her fortunes (because, as millions of buskers singing in thousands of stations across the country will tell you, talent is always incidental in such stories). Many of us sighed in relief. Why? Because it’s a fall of grace that vindicates what most Indians wants to make of every success story they come across.
The person at the receiving end of all the adulation and success, is wholly undeserving.
It doesn’t matter that Ranu Mondal’s quote was taken out of context, it doesn’t matter that she was almost badgered by the journalist about personal questions that she was not comfortable answering, an invisible line of morality had been trespassed. The ‘good success’ script had to be dissolved. How dare the receiver of such good fortune be anything but grateful? How can she be assertive about her own role in all this?
Privacy, mood and assertion are meant only for those who are born to privilege. Not any busker from Ranaghat who has the good fortune of being discovered.