Today’s visit by Pakistan president Asif Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto to the Ajmer Dargha and their subsequent lunch stop over at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s house has got me thinking.
You see, every time a Pakistani leader visits India or vice versa and bilateral talks are held, I always wonder what these guys talk about in the meetings? I am sure that the leaders on both sides have tried earnestly over these decades to try and build a solid platform of trust between the two countries to ensure lasting peace but sadly, the results on the ground and the harsh truth of reality speak of a complete impasse in relation building. Thanks to mutual suspicion, inefficient governments on both sides and an indulgence in a globally prevailing selfish attitude to Terror, the demoralized public from both countries suffer the most.
So I wondered, what would a suffering, politically atheist common man think happens in these ‘bilateral’ meetings between the leaders of the two countries solely based on the results achieved so far? Here it is, a figment of my imagination:
Plot: Pakistan president Zardari lands in Delhi along with his son Bilawal Bhutto to visit the Ajmer Dargha. They meet Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi for Lunch.
Act I: The Welcome
PM: Mr. Zardari. Welcome to India. I want to welcome you on behalf of the people of India who want peace with their Pakistani brothers and….
Zardari: (looking at the doors closing) All right Dr. Singh, that’s enough. The Media can’t hear us anymore.
PM: Oh boy, thank God. I am sick and tired of saying the same thing to visiting heads of state. Please sit down.
Zardari: Prime Minister, I want you to meet my Son and my successor, Bilawal Bhutto.
PM: Good to see you Bilawal. You look so much like your mother. I am sorry for your loss. Please meet Rahul Gandhi- he’s not my son but successor for sure!
Bilawal: Yo Gandhi boy! Wassup dude?
Rahul: Hey Billy Bhutto! Long time Bro. How you doing?!
Zardari: You guys know each other already??
Rahul: Yeah of course. Billy and me go back a long way. I’ve met him quite a few times back in London during my holidays. Those were some good parties we had back then!
Zardari: (Nostalgically Sighing) Yes. We all sure do miss the good old partying days don’t we Prime Minister?
PM: Er.. yes! Speaking about good days, I hear your real reason for the visit is to pray at the Ajmer Shrine?
Zardari: (Turning Sombre) Yes. These are difficult times we live in.
Rahul: (Drawing doodles aimlessly on a map of India) Tell me about it!
PM: (Looking at the Indian Express paper on the table) Lot of problems with the Army huh President?
Zardari: Yeah, am surrounded by wily politicians, suicidal Pakistani Taliban, rogue elements of the ISI, American drones, the Chinese and of course the all powerful Pakistani Army and Of course, you guys.
PM: (Nonchalantly) Am just surrounded by my family, party leaders and Montek Ahluwalia.
Zardari: I envy your position Prime Minister. Relations between me and the army have touched a new low! There is a rumour of a military Coup almost every day. It has gotten me all paranoid. The other day I was attending a public function when a small boy in the crowd loudly screamed ‘Coup’! I instantly put my hands up much to my embarrassment. Thank God the video footage wasn’t such a rage that day on TV since Hafeez Saeed had made an inflammatory anti-India speech in the afternoon which went viral!
PM: Actually, regarding Hafeez Saeed…
Bilawal: Uh Dad, can we eat now? Rahul and I quickly want to catch up on a game of snooker after lunch before we depart.
PM: Sure boys. Let’s eat first then. Please follow me gentlemen.
Act II: The Lunch Table
Bilawal: (In between Kebabs) Hey Gandhi boy! I am really sorry about Uttar Pradesh dude.
Rahul: (Stone faced) It’s ok. I’ve made sure it doesn’t affect me.
Bilawal: Good. I appreciate your Grit and courage.
Rahul: No No. I meant I am going to throw out everybody who campaigned with me so that I don’t get a bad name. I’ve already fired a few of them.
Bilawal: Oh I see. But wouldn’t that scare people away from campaigning with you in future?
Rahul: (Casually) Nah. I’ll take them back in a year or two.
Rahul: (Sadly) If only I could be clever enough to pick the right ‘Campaign Manager’ in the first place.
Bilawal: Who you talking about?
Rahul: Digvijay Singh man. He screwed it up for me. I am going to get him fired first.
Bilawal: (with an air of resignation) We all have our own Rehman Maliks huh!
Enter Rehamn Malik into the scene eyeing a piece of Kebab suspiciously.
Rahul: (changing topic) So you watching the IPL?
Bilawal: Yeah man, a little. Who you rooting for?
Rahul: I always support Delhi dude! That’s where the power is!
Bilawal: Yeah, perhaps you should just stick to Delhi in politics too.
Rahul: True that!
Bilawal: (burping) Thanks for the lunch dude! You should visit Pakistan soon for me to return the favour.
Rahul: Only if you promise to seat me next to Hina Rabbani Khar! She’s a babe man!
Bilawal: Oh yeah, she’s hot all right! I am finding it extremely difficult to shield her from my father!
Rahul: Hee hee, I remember how your old man flirted with Sarah Palin dude! He’s still got it, the old dog!
Zardari: Boys, join the Prime Minister and me in the living room. We need to discuss some important issues.
Act III: The Living Room (Onto Serious things)
PM: (Holding a note pad and Natraj pencil) So, what can we do to enhance trade?
Zardari: Let’s make our ambassadors and diplomats meet and figure it out.
Rahul: Yeah, that sounds good
PM: Next, you need to tell Rehman Malik to shut up.
Zardari: Nope. Not possible. I’ll give you 10 prisoners instead.
Zardari: Can you send the Indian cricket team to play in Pakistan. We’re kinda getting desperate.
PM: Out of the question. If something were to happen to Tendulkar, I’ll be skinned alive!
PM: Fine, I’ll give you 10 prisoners!
Zardari: Yay! Thank You.
Rahul: Prime Minister, I think it’s time to come straight to the main point.
Bilawal: Oh God, here we go. Do we need to talk about it today, after such a fabulous lunch?
Zardari: (With a confused ‘George Bush’ look on his face) talk about what?
Rahul: Our entire relationship depends on it.
Zardari: Are we going to talk about Kashmir?
PM: We want Hafeez Saeed!
Zardari and Bilawal: (Synchronized Groan) GROOOOOOOOOANN!
Rahul: (Angry) Come on man. How long do we need to ask? Just give us that SOB!
Bilawal: C’mon Gandhi boy. You know it’s not that simple. He’s very popular in our country!
Zardari: Yeah and also, he’s probably the only terrorist in Pakistan who’s not trying to kill me. It’s comforting to know there is somebody like that!
PM: But he’s killed Indians and….
Zardari: Listen, let’s set up our delegation of diplomats to talk this out in detail sometime later.
Enter Rehman Malik
Malik: Mr. President, we need to leave now to arrive in Ajmer at the right time. We don’t want to be late in front of God.
Zardari: Heavens No!! Everything else can wait. Mr Prime Minister, Rahul, it was a pleasure meeting you. Let’s go out and wrap up the media briefing before we take off.
Act IV: Media Briefing
Zardari: Today’s meeting over lunch with the Indian Prime minister was very fruitful. India and Pakistan can work together and…..
Curtains Close……… (until the next lunch)