Get together Nancy Tyagi and Kanhaiya Kumar!

Kanhaiya should order a spiffy bespoke kurta from Nancy to wear on counting day

I have been following Nancy Tyagi on Instagram for over a year. Her video showed up on my feed, and I was immediately fascinated by the thin brown girl with the erect stance, striding purposefully through the dust and grime of what looked like a fabric market in north Delhi, with a tote bag slung over one delicate shoulder. Sitting in Bengaluru, I was immediately taken back to the time when a younger me had braved the heat and dust of a similar market with minimum budget, maximum hope, a celebrity outfit in my heart and a hunter’s hungry glint in my eye.

Nancy conferred with a succession of pudgy shopkeepers, made her selection, hailed a cycle-rickshaw, and came home with bales of red velvet and satin inside her tote. Using an old-school hand-operated sewing machine very similar to my mother’s, and a brass tailor’s scissors, she stitched herself an outfit exactly like the one Amrita Rao wears in the classic ‘Gori Gori’dance number from Main Hoon Na (2004). As she modelled the outfit, pouting and pirouetting, I was utterly hooked. Last week, Nancy, her IG following now swollen to over 10 lakh, graced the red carpet at Cannes in two stunning self-made ensembles, a dramatic pouffy, pale pink gown and a diaphanous, glittering mauve sari and cowl.

Sonam Kapoor, a Cannes veteran and a fashionista in her own right, gushed over Nancy’s second outfit and tweeted to Nancy, “Make me something, Nancy Tyagi.” Sonam may have to get in line though, as Nancy is blowing up big right now. It is a Cinderella story of the best kind, with an impoverished young girl, a gorgeous gown and a fancy ball at the heart of the plot, except this young girl is her own fairy godmother and her own Prince Charming.

Nancy Tyagi and Kanhaiya Kumar | Reuters, Kritajna Naik Nancy Tyagi and Kanhaiya Kumar | Reuters, Kritajna Naik

In today’s uncertain world, with rampant unemployment and crumbling institutions, being one’s own godmother, significant other, and support system is emerging as the surest (if not sole) way to success, especially if one is born without a silver spoon in their mouth—you know, in the sort of family that eats with their fingers, which is to say, most of us. This ‘Do It Yourself’route of success calls for an incredible amount of focus, determination, hard work, homework and stamina. And while I am fairly certain that Nancy is not actively looking for a Prince Charming, thank you very much, the interfering Indian auntie and indefatigable romantic in me cannot help recommending that she check out the IG page of a remarkably intelligent and charming young man who seems to be in possession of all these qualities, and who (just like her) has a million plus followers—one Kanhaiya Kumar, originally from Begusarai and JNU, and currently hoping to be a member of Parliament from North East Delhi.

Now I know THE WEEK’s pages are not Karan Johar’s couch of manifestation, but Zerodha’s Nikhil Kamath’s recent rant notwithstanding (‘I’m not going to ruin 18-20 years of my life babysitting. What if the child says ‘scr** you’ at 18 and leaves anyway’) our country urgently needs clean, talented self-made people to get together ideologically at least, if not romantically.

Of course, romantically would be better (no couple in India is as popular as Virat-Anushka—stable, focussed, high achievers who inspire young people to be the best they can be.)

I feel I am starting to sound dangerously Hitleresque with this dream of creating a master-race of self-made super-achievers, so I will now desist. Have a great election, Kanhaiya. (And maybe order a spiffy bespoke kurta from Nancy to wear on counting day?)