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Friday, October 19, 2007

A Day in the Life of a Prime Minister

Here's how I imagine a day in the life of Oxford alumni, India's Prime Minister, probably is:

4:30 AM
PM wakes up. Goes to the dairy. Fetches milk and delivers to the residence of Prakash Karat, Sonia Gandhi (and family, one by one). Returns back to PM's residence and begins morning prayers, "Oh God! May my government not fall today. May mighty Prakash and almighty Sonia shower their blessings on me today too. Amen!" In the background, photos of Prakash Karat and Sonia Gandhi, with incense sticks fuming him to oblivion. He has reached a trance.

7:00 AM
PM gives wake-up call and bids good morning to Sonia Gandhi (and family, one by one). Sonia Gandhi faxes back the list of places the PM has to visit and the papers he needs to sign the day today. PM then rings up the residence of all Left party leaders and asks, "It's 7:15 AM. I've been holding it since 4:30. Can I go to the toilet now?" Dare he not go against the common minimum program. Dare he not do anything more than the bare minimum. "Who am I to decide?" he muses.

9:00 AM
PM reaches office. On the wall are neatly arranged pictures of Sonia Gandhi and the entire progeny. Alongside is a check-list of the UPA coalition's common minimum program (CMP). It's a coalition government after all. The word "minimum" is the highlight. Time and again has the PM been reminded by his coalition partners that their aim is to do the minimum and no better.

The PM takes his seat and rings up the caterer who services breakfast to Prakash Karat. "Has it been delivered yet? What! What the hell are you up to? I will fire you." And yes, he can. When it comes to care-taking the appetite of his Left allies, he has supreme jurisdiction.

10:00 AM
PM chit-chats with Finance Minister.
PM: What's up with the sensex, dude? You told me it won't rise. 18k to 19K in 4 days. Are you kidding me?
FM: I don't know. I tried. I have the RBI and SEBI try every trick in the book, but the bulls have been raging the market. Evidently, they see India as an excellent growth corridor.
PM: I don't care about what you do. I just want it down. You have no idea how mad Prakash sir is going to be with me today. He had personally asked me to ensure that no progressive attitude be tolerated. How will the millions of sulking sobs survive if India's economy ramps up? We cater to the "common" only -- that's the plan. Anyone who has enough to eat two meals a day is not common. We don't care for them. The beggars are my friends.
FM: I do realize how deep the pole goes inside you. Believe me, I'm at my wit's end. All industry majors have been doing wonders with the economy. Lately, Mukesh Ambani rallied up to become one of the richest in the world. It's shameful I know. We have millions below the poverty line. How dare he make so much! I suggest that we seize all his money and bring him down to rags. Then and only then will he realize that the poor are his brothers.

11:00 AM
A train of cars screech towards PM office. All cabinet ministers come rushing towards a conference hall in PM's office. PM wonders what the meeting is for. "It only befits that they don't inform me when the guys are meeting. I mean, who am I to know?" All of them assemble inside the conference room. PM follows. Only the doorman gets up to greet the PM. And why not? He was appointed there through the national employment guarantee scheme. He did not deserve the job. What's great with giving the job to a deserving candidate anyway? It's divine only if the candidate couldn't dream of the job. Then it's mercy. Then it's charity. Then it's virtuous. No wonder the doorman is cheerful. Homo sapiens have no tail, or else one could see it wag.

The meeting has already started. PM quietly pulls a chair and seats himself beside Sonia. Prakash Karat is already furious and he would dare not aggravate the situation.
Karat: What's up with the Nuclear deal? What will we do with all the energy? Poor people don't have light bulbs or cars. We don't want the deal.
Montek Singh (from Planning Commission): Sir, our energy requirements scale exorbitantly with industrialization. We cannot afford to buy oil for long. The Nuclear deal is important.
Karat: You just don't get it, do you? We cannot purport the idea of being friendly with America. They are the bad guys. They waste money on education and science. Americans consume so much while so many in the world die of hunger.
PM: But, sir, with progress....
Karat: Shut up. Just shut up. Not a word from you.
PM: Sorry, sir.
Sonia: But Prakash, we must do something about the scaling power requirements. Where will India get its power from?
Karat: The nuclear deal will happen over my dead body. Cut the problem at it's source. Why do we need so much power anyway? Banish all industries. They are only corporate money minting machines. Dismantle all schools. Life was so much better in the stone age. Oh the stone age..
(face blushes with evident orgasm)
Sonia: Ok. As you say, Prakash. The N-deal is done for. I assure you it will be blocked indefinitely. We'll teach Bush a lesson. Manmohan, tell Bush to go to hell.
PM: Yes, Ma'm.
PM looks excessively worried, perspiration running down his chin.
Sonia: What is it now? Why are you sweating?
PM: Ma'm. Just this one thing. Not a big deal. If I call off the N-deal, the people are going to tell me to go and die. They are going to ask me to resign. They'll hate me. Why do I have to face the brunt? Oh, God, why!
Sonia: You mean they don't hate you already? Look.. spare us the thinking. You just giggle and nod along. Think of America. If the mightiest nation can have a retard for a president, there's absolutely no reason why you can't head India.
PM: (almost squeaking) Ma'm! I went to Oxford!
The room bursts into laughter. Everyone leaves the room and heads for lunch.

12:00 PM
Lunch time. All cabinet ministers are seated around a round table. Manmohan is the real boss now. He is busy giving directions to the caterers as they scurry around hurriedly. Who says he doesn't have a control over his ministers? Who says he doesn't run things? He's feeding them currently, isn't he? He has the sole responsibility of their nutrition. Don't say he doesn't have powers.

One of the catering boys, an OBC, aspires to enroll into the B.Tech programme from a reputed Indian university next year. His eyes are lustfully fixated towards Arjun Singh, his hero limping along to fill his plate. He rushes towards him and performs the needful and jestfully mentions "I'm an OBC" at an opportune moment. And why not! No one else stood for a cause as noble as marking deep the social caste divide and plant into an unprecedented territory as higher education. OBCs have suffered for ages. It's time to reverse the winds now. Arjun Singh looks back in his eyes with an equal lewd. Sparks! Cupid strikes. Arjun drops his plate and drags the boy to an adjacent room. Door bangs shut.

1:00 PM
PM is sitting on the floor of his office, trying to mend the broken wheels of his revolving office chair. It broke the other day when Rahul Gandhi took his mother's words too seriously when she said "My son will take the chair soon". How alarmed the PM was that day while he wrestled with Rahul pulling onto the chair from either side. "Naughty children!" muses the PM merrily.

2:00 PM
PM heads towards a suburb in western Delhi. He is supposed to inaugurate a newly built road near Indira Nagar. The road is christened M G Road, named after the "father" of the nation. PM is oblivious to the fact that the new road leads up to another road of the same name at the next turn.

5:00 PM
PM heads back to office. Meets a few people, mostly representatives of charity organizations, anti-industrialization gangs, anti-rich campaigners. He has had a tiring day. Being the head of a 1bn strong democracy is no mean job. He prides himself and gives himself a pat on his back. Another day passed. He was able to push all "contentious" decisions for another day. 'Why should I have bother about these? Ma'm is there. Who am I to think?"
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