Monday, October 26, 2009

The Dinner table pep talk

INDIA SNUBS CHINA”, screamed the TV headlines in Font size 72. By way of explanation, it added in slightly smaller font size, “PM tells Chinese Premier that Dalai Lama is our honoured guest and free to travel anywhere in India”.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see such headlines, I have this tendency to form quick mental images. The one that I formed in this instance was of our PM barging into Mr Wen Jiabao’s room in the middle of the night, shaking him by the collar, pushing the muzzle of his gun into the latter’s nose, and yelling into his ears in FONT size 72, “ THE DALAI LAMA IS OUR HONOURED GUEST. HE IS FREE TO TRAVEL TO AP, ANDHRA OR ARUNACHAL, GOT IT?”. And of a terrified Mr Jiabao nodding his head to convey surrender.

On calmer reflection, I realised that our PM was too gentle a person to attempt such heroics. Perhaps there was a better explanation.

There was. The morning newspapers quoted the PM as saying that he had sat next to Mr Jiabao during the dinner, in the course of which he had passed on this message concerning the Dalai Lama.

As nobody overheard this conversation, and as there were no interpreters sitting in between the two, we have only our PM’s version that such a conversation took place. We will never come to know the Chinese version.

As our PM is far too honest a person to claim that he had uttered something that he had not, the only explanation is that he must have done an “Aswathama’. As the Wonton soup was being served to all, and in the general noise of soups spoons hitting the sides of the bowls, and soya sauce and vinegar bottles being passed around, our PM must have slipped in the sentence in Font size 8 italics and in his muffled tone, “The Dalai Lama is our honoured guest. He is free to go to any corner of the country, by train, air or by foot”. Mr Jiabao must have heard only the last word and to continue the polite conversation, would have asked the PM, “ Did you try the foot massage here?”, which our PM would have interpreted as “ Yes, I get the message”.

On such exchanges and conversations are TV headlines and Govt press releases made.


Balajisblog said...

Raj - I am waiting for a piece from you on a similar conversation between M K Azhagiri and Sonia Gandhi....Balaji...

Usha said...

Ya or may be Jiabo asked him how the Dalai lama funded all his travel within the country - who paid for all that and Mr singh said it was all free for him being an honoured guest and all!

Raj said...

Balaji, I would love to hear Sonia pronounce the name " Azhagiri".

Usha,or maybe when the Dalai Lama asked to go to AP, our PM thought he meant Andhra Pradesh

ramesh said...

you simply are awesome old man