British Prime Minister, David Cameron, is currently on a three-day business trip to India. He has been keeping a diary of his action-packed itinerary, which he was kind enough to share with The Unreal Times, in the interests of students of history. Here are excerpts of his seminal trip to the subcontinent:
New Delhi, 9:00 AM; Called on the royals at 10, Janpath: We paid a visit to 10, Janpath, accompanied by Dr. Singh. Was impressed by the deference Dr. Singh showed to Sonia Gandhi. In comparison, I come across as a lout in the presence of Her Majesty. Need to learn a lot from Dr. Singh about etiquette in the presence of royals. I also picked up some cool Hindustani idiom from him: ‘theek hai’. Plan to use it in my next address to Parliament.
10, Janpath is not a shade on Buckingham Palace. I can never understand why they did not copy our system of a constitutional monarchy. After all, when we left in ’47, India had over a 100 princely states. Sonia ought to hold court from the Viceroy’s palace on Raisina Hill. She’s right up there with Her Majesty when it comes poise and royal demeanor. I am told she also sometimes takes a keen interest in governance.
That Pranab chap, on the other hand, ought to be sent back to Bengal. I struggled to comprehend what he was saying. When I asked him to speak in English, he said that’s what he was doing. I had to ask for a translator.
Mumbai 11- 12 AM; Cricket at the Oval Maidan: Took some time out for a stint on the cricket pitch. Was very nervous about facing a genuine Indian leggie but this chap, Piyush Chawla, bowled a few gentle full tosses which I slogged out of the ground. Wanted to thwack a few more but Samantha gave me that dirty look as if to say ‘stop being a bully’.
Mumbai 1-2 PM; Photo session with Aamir Khan in Janaki Devi College: What was meant to be a light-hearted session of posing for the shutter-burgs with some pretty college girls from the Janaki Devi College and Bollywood star, Aamir, turned into a bout of emotional catharsis. Aamir was very interested in knowing how the British people were coping with hardships in the face of a sluggish economic recovery. I told him with a sad face that unemployment continued to remain high which was forcing my government to persist with the fiscal stimulus package.
As I said these painful words, his eyes welled up with tears, and so did mine. And after a few moments, I burst into tears. Aamir patted me on my back and assured me things will take a turn for the better. He then turned to the girls and said that if they want to do something to expedite the recovery of the Western economies, they should SMS Osborne, (Editor: UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer) with their ideas.
All in all, very therapeutic.
New Delhi 8:00 AM; Breakfast meeting with Dr. Manmohan Singh: Started the day with a heavy heart. Was scheduled to visit Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar and offer condolences for the awful things we did in 1919. The thing is I need to do this for the sake of the Sikh votebank.
Fortunately, I had breakfast with Dr. Manmohan Singh, who noticed that I wasn’t my ebullient, cheerful self. When I told him what was weighing on my mind, Dr. Singh immediately lapsed into an impassioned speech (by his standards) on the beneficial consequences of the Raj such as the rule of law, a free and thriving press, a professional civil service, an independent and efficient judiciary. I began to feel much better about our colonial legacy after his feel good talk.
I am beginning to take a liking to Dr. Singh. So much so that I am thinking of requesting him to campaign on behalf of the Tories in constituencies with significant Sikh populations this summer.
New Delhi 4PM; Tea with Rahul Gandhi in Hyderabad House: Finally met Prince Rahul. He is around my age but looks much younger. Wish he wouldn’t address me as ‘uncle’ though. He reminds me of Prince Harry in many ways. Rahul claimed he too is fighting in a war – the war against poverty as he put it. He wanted me to come with him to his constituency, Amethi, and spend the night in a poor man’s household. I told him that I would love to but have a tight schedule. I promised to get Prince William and Kate to pay a visit to Amethi and spend a night with him which made him very happy. I’m glad I’m not a prince but a mere career politician.
New Delhi, 8PM; Fascinating encounter with the Tharoors, British High Commissioner’s Residence: Samantha and I ran into this fascinating couple, the Tharoors, at the British High Commissioner’s residence. The man spoke in an intriguing accent that definitely wasn’t Indian but wasn’t British or American either. He was using many words that sounded French or Latin to me but Samantha assures me they were all English words. I need to check the dictionary. I must also put it on record that I did not like the way Samantha kept smiling and blushing every time he flicked his hair.