I was on my way to office this morning, when I saw a poster that read “Enemy of Mankind – Bush go back!” I realized with a twinge of regret that the Mr. George Bush was visiting us, and we could not care any less about nuclear deals. Delhi has been gearing up for this day I suppose, but certainly, the excitement generated when Bill Clinton visited India a few years back, is clearly missing here. When Bill Clinton was here every detail of his stay was chronicled. His room in Maurya Sheraton was photographed to the last nail, the bottle of Evian spring water that he left unfinished was auctioned among the hotel staff, the overcoat with C inscribed on it, was on the fashion billboards for a good two weeks. Bukhara- the restaurant where the President had dinner overnight became the place to be seen it. The chef of Bukhara was photographed and featured on the cover of high brow political magazines and the menu was on the first page of every newspaper worth its salt. We were in college then (luckily I went to college in Delhi around the same time that Clinton decided to visit India) and even though our college was about five kilometers away from Rajghat, we lied to everybody, that we met Clinton. The following day, Times of India featured a half page picture of Bill dancing with folk dancers and Madhuri Dikshit was jealous.
In contrast Dubya is boring. Sometimes he does come up with “I Know the Human Being and Fish Can Coexist Peacefully” and “We're Going to Have the Best Educated American People in the World” but most of the time, he limits himself to saving Ground Zero from being bombed, killing civilians instead of militants in Iraq and searching for Osama Bin Laden in the caves of Afghanistan. Yes, Dubya is boring, but we can do better. So Delhi has prohibited the preparation of chicken in any restaurant in the Capital as a harassed chicken-loving colleague informed me, because Dubya is susceptible to avian influenza. The board exams are on, but Dubya must visit Raj Ghat at 9 in the morning and show the world what a traffic stopper he is. Delhites returning home from office must bear with Dubya again in the evening, when he visits Purana Quila at 6PM.
We were content with Bill in Maurya Sheraton. We felicitated him in Hyderabad House in Delhi. But Bush will go the distance. “It's No Exaggeration To Say That The Undecideds Could Go One Way Or Another.” We sent him to Andhra Pradesh for a trip to remember. Chandra Babu Naidu is not happy. Naidu hobnobbed with Bill Clinton as the Chief Minister, the last time around. But Bush is no Clinton and alas! Chadra Babu Naidu is Chief Minister no more.
TRP ratings taken a minute back show that people are more interested to know how Irfan Pathan lost his wicket than, whether the signing of the nuclear deal and opening our nuclear reactors will put Chhattisgarh in the seismic zone. As for Bush, Delhi will soon dig into Tandoori chicken, poultry will learn why human beings wear mufflers in winter and a waiter at Bukhara will arrested for stealing the silver fork that Bush used for dinner. Pakistan will crib because, they bombed an embassy, but Bush did not consider it promising enough to sign a deal and Laura Bush will go back and knit gloves for the little orphans she met yesterday.
Before you leave Mr. Bush, to use one of your quotes, “Let Me Put It to You Bluntly. In A Changing World, We Want More People To Have Control Over Your Own Life."