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Mukul Roy has Walter Mitty delusions

By Anant Rangaswami

Mukul Roy, the minister for railways, has promised to bring back the "glorious" days of the railways. "Safety, security and punctuality are our top priorities," Roy says, but he does not say how he will improve these.

He hasn't spelt out how he will do it, he just makes a statement to that effect.

Looking at Mukul Roy and mulling over his statement, one is instantly reminded of the fictional character Walter Mitty.

Looking at Mukul Roy and mulling over his statement, one is instantly reminded of the fictional character Walter Mitty. AFP

Walter Mitty is a fictional character in James Thurber's short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

"Mitty is a meek, mild man with a vivid fantasy life: in a few dozen paragraphs he imagines himself a wartime pilot, an emergency-room surgeon, and a devil-may-care killer. The character's name has come into more general use to refer to an ineffectual dreamer, appearing in several dictionaries. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Walter Mitty as "an ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs", says a Wikipedia article on Mitty.

Mukul Roy has a vivid fantasy life as well; just days into the job, he imagines himself transforming the beleaguered Indian Railways into an organisation that better reflects the "glorious" days.

How that will happen is a mystery - perhaps only his boss, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, has the answer. Maybe it's not Mukul Roy who is Walter Mitty - maybe it's Mamata Banerjee herself, dreaming her vivid fantasies through Roy.

by Anant Rangaswami

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