When Rahul got personal

This is about three speeches, two interviews, some matchmaking and what can happen when you return home after eight years to find that at least one woman doesn't believe you.

General Pervez Musharraf was interviewed by Arnab Goswami about the LoC incident (Times Now) and proceeded to dictate terms like Goswami usually does, in a series of stern rebukes: "Please don't interfere, interrupt when I am speaking... I refuse to answer questions on the internal situation in Pakistan... no questions on Kargil", etc. That left Goswami murmuring respectfully, "Sir, I object, Sir, the anger has tipped over, Sir..."

Lance Armstrong took Oprah Winfrey on the ride of his life (Discovery). Maybe he shouldn't have. She was always going to win this one, even before she climbed on and let him pedal through the seven Tour de France titles he won with banned substances, the hundreds of lies he told to deny taking those substances and all the reasons he did it: just "the ruthless desire to win". By appearing on her talk show, he gave her "the biggest interview [she had] ever done in terms of exposure", as she told CBS. He revealed the "flaws" in his character to her and she almost graciously allowed him to admit his sins. With a mixture of accusation, indulgence and amazement, she converted the two-part inquisition into a morality play. At the end, she asked him if he was a better person now. "Without a doubt", replied he, staring hard with marbled eyes.

Oprah won not because she redeemed him, made him a better human being or because she got him to plead guilty, but because she exuded a human warmth. Armstrong seemed to have iced water running through his veins. At no stage did you feel kindly towards him. Not even when he spoke with softened, moist eyes about his son, Luke, defending him. As he acknowledged that he had lied, cheated and sued people who had told the truth, you felt he was "scary", the word he used to describe his actions. For the first time in a long while, you felt no sympathy for a man who said he was sorry, that he would spend the rest of his life trying to make amends for what he had done. Maybe because there was one question you wanted to ask him that Oprah hadn't: why should we believe that he is truly repentant now when he lied for 10 years at the cost of so many people? Who is to say he's not lying?

Sonia Gandhi's speech as the beginning of the Congress's "chintan" fest in Jaipur was prosaic, straightforward and distant, with a touch of the schoolmarm about her when she criticised lavish living. In contrast, party vice president Rahul Gandhi, suddenly leaner and balding as if his elevation had him lose kilos and hair, was emotional, very personal in his "thank you" speech. You almost felt sorry for him. Poor chap, you thought, now he's gonna have to talk about all the things he hasn't spoken of publicly: policies, for instance. Rape for another. Maybe even Telangana. Does being party VP mean we'll hear more from him than we have in the last eight years?

Where Rahul was full of woe, US President Barack Obama's inauguration speech was full of vitality. He spoke from memory, barely consulting his notes. Meanwhile, Sonia and Rahul still read out their speeches.

Hope you're occasionally, at least, visiting the Hero Hockey League 2013 (Star Sports). They're really making a match of it. It's racy, pacy and you get to watch many foreign players alongside the Indians, albeit not the Pakistani stick-wizards. Also, the commentary in Hindi and English has former Indian players like Mohammed Shahid and Pargat Singh, Cedric D'Souza and A.B. Subbaiah. Just listening to their views on Indian hockey are a treat.

Homeland is on the air (Star World). It is taut and tense, as CIA operative Carrie Mathison is desperate to find something that will reveal Nicholas Brody to be the terrorist she believes he is. Neither lead character is particularly attractive, which makes the drama even more compelling, because your sympathies see-saw between the two. Homeland is calculated to deprive us of sleep (ends at 12 midnight) but there is a repeat at 7 pm, which makes a mockery of the late-night scheduling.


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