E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The cabinet met with its new ally for a breakfast meeting. Now that the Indo-US deal was through, signatures affixed, and agreements sealed, the team met to plan ‘what Next’?
The room itself was facing the west, with a cheerful open foyer instead of the dingy musty room they used the last six months. As songs of Mariah Carey and Bob Dylan swept the room, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made his entry.
Forever a sober person, he surprised everyone when he breezed in, in denim knickers running down below the knees with matching Lotto footwear. His Benetton T- Shirt was a designer wear showing ‘I Did it!’ across his chest.
Gone was the namaste, being replaced by a cheerful ‘Hi’ and a firm Dale Carnegie handshake as he walked around the table.
“What’s our Agenda folks?” asked the Prime Minister as he sipped his chilled orange juice.
“We are here to explore other areas of cooperation after the Indo- US deal,” said Priyaranjan Das Munshi with black coffee in hand. Gone were the kadak chai and Bengali sweets like chum-chum and misti-doi from Das Munshi’s morning menu.
“Okay. Let’s move it,” said the PM kickstarting the meeting.
“The Indo-American Association wants to celebrate the nuclear deal. They have made posters with ‘Indi-USsi bro bro’—ten million of them to be distributed all over India and pasted on trains, buses, office buildings and also on the offices of the Left in Delhi, Calcutta and Trivandrum,” said Das Munshi. “T-shirts for students will come in later.”
“That’s great! Isn’t it?” said the PM while breaking a piece of chocolate doughnut and dipping it in black coffee and taking a bite. People habituated to seeing him dip aloo paratha into dahi were surprised to see this change.
“The Americans want to setup McDonald’s and Burger King in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha canteens. Starbucks will also be part of this setup. It seems this was in ‘123’ Agreement Para IV sub text in small prints. They have sent their experts to design the location of the kitchens. After finishing in Delhi they will setup similar kitchens in Assembly and Legislative Councils in States.”
“Was it a part of the deal?” the PM asked and answered it himself. “It must have been. I didn’t read it with a honeycomb. Let them go ahead and do their thing.”
“The American Baseball league wants us to organize a World series Championship on the lines of IPL 20-20. Lalit Modi and Shah Rukh Khan are already in Boston talking with Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. If you clear this I will go next week and work out a calendar to squeeze this item in our schedule.” That was Sharad Pawar with a bagel in hand.
“Super Duper stuff! Good to get Baseball in here than beating the same old cricket stuff all the time.”
“We have no objection to it, Mr Prime Minister,” interrupted SP’s Amar Singh and continued, “But we would like Abhishek Bachchan to go with Lalit Modi. Since Abhishek studied in Boston, he knows the city and the game inside out. Also, he is not a Paanchvi Class-fail and will do a better job.”
“That won’t be a problem at all. Let’s switch the names’ said P.M. who was now eating Kellog’s power cereal.
“The US Department of Agriculture wants our farmers to use only GM Seeds. It seems this part was added by them just as our team was entering IAEA meeting hall. It is in annexure XXX which can’t be magnified. Even our CBI failed to enlarge this for us.”
“Let’s not go into the nitty-gritty as our friends from the Left were doing. They never read the Report but were only interested in annexures and comments on the margin.”
‘Anything else,” asked the PM while eating Apple Pie with black coffee.
“We have a couple of points to make,” said Mulayam for the first time.
“Shoot,” said the PM.
“I want actions initiated on what we have already agreed when we saved the Government from the ‘No Confidence’ motion. First. We want all cases against Amitabh Bachchan withdrawn and all the land purchases he made, restored to him. Case against Jaya Bachchan allegedly giving wrong information before filing Rajya sabha election should be withdrawn. Next, we want you to talk to President Bush and arrange a lifetime award for Amitabhji in the next Oscar Award presentation. Our next list will be ready before the winter session of Parliament.”
“Done! Yes to all demands. Get George on the line. He will be in Camp David now,” said the Prime Minister as he dunked the last coffee gulp of breakfast