The strange insomnia of Sardar Manmohan Singh

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The Prime Minister is not able to sleep these days for a variety of reasons. Although he has mentioned some of them in public, his doctor was ready to share more information on this.

“He just can’t sleep when the stock market is going thro’ the roof and the industry is doing very well,” said his doctor.

I was surprised: “Why? That should make him happier!”

“He thinks of the salary the captains of industry are making. He is worried the Navarathna chiefs may also start demanding similar salaries, and because of this all night he keeps counting the rupees, er, instead of counting the lambs.”

“But surely the PM must understand the rationale here. The private sector is not DRDO and is doing very well.”

“That’s the problem. The Navarathnas don’t want to be called so just by name. They want salaries matching their new status. The PM feels first it will be the PSUs, then MPs and MLAs will be asking for further raise and how can he sleep when he is counting with his fingers and toes all night?”

“Even the 1984 attack on Sikhs after Indira Gandhi‘s assassination seems to be bothering him now affecting his sleep…”

“You are right. To see riot-instigators still moving around in his party as heroes, instead of being in jail, must be gut-wrenching for him.”

“Can’t he shut his mind off before he goes to sleep?”

“Easily said than done. These days he can’t sleep thinking what Pratibha Patil will say next. Her statements have started giving him nightmares.”

“No point in worrying about it as Patil herself doesn’t know what she is going to say next. Even if she says something absurd, she can always get away saying she didn’t mean it as she was re-living something out of her own dream. Still, it would be dreadful in the coming days for the already sleep-deprived PM?”

“Indeed, as she can keep him in tenterhooks for the next five years. Imagine being sleepless for that long. By then, even his nightmares will have nightmares!”

“Do you think anybody can survive in such a state of mind for that long?”

“Good question. After some time there will be ringing in the ears which is when PM will start picking up noises from the Inner Voice.”

“Like what?” I asked.

“Finito. Khel Khatham. It means Thanks and Good Bye,” concluded the doctor.