(Washington Post, 20 April: Indians, not Brits, are Shakespeare’s biggest fans, survey finds)
Since 89% of the Indians polled by the British Council survey said they liked Shakespeare, an unreliable source reported this conversation at an alleged all-party dinner held yesterday to commemorate Shakespeare’s birthday and the 400th anniversary of his death:
Modi: I must to the barber’s, monsieur; for methinks, I am marvellous hairy about the face.
Amit Shah: Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.
Rajnath Singh: Why is Time such a niggard of hair, being, as it is, so plentiful an excrement?
Advani: Because it is a blessing that he bestows on beasts; and what he has scanted men in hair, he hath given them in wit.
Rahul Gandhi: Why, but there’s many a man hath more hair than wit.
Amit Shah: He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.
Jayalalithaa: There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Modi: Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.
Jayalalithaa: There’s daggers in men’s smiles.
Chidambaram: A man cannot make him laugh — but that’s no marvel; he drinks no wine.
Mamata Banerjee: Make the doors upon a woman’s wit and it will out at the casement; shut that and ‘twill out at the key-hole; stop that, ‘twill fly with the smoke out at the chimney.
Mulayam Singh: Though she be but little, she is fierce.
Karunanidhi: Frailty thy name is woman!
Manmohan Singh: How every fool can play upon a word! I think the best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence; and discourse grow commendable in none only but parrots.
Smriti Irani: Educated men are so impressive!
Venkaiah Naidu: What time o’ day?
Chidambaram: The hour that fools should ask.
Sonia Gandhi: The time is out of joint.
Sharad Pawar: Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.
Lalu Prasad: Unquiet meals make ill digestions.
Shashi Tharoor: I would give all my fame for a pot of ale.
Modi: Drink sir, is a great provoker of three things….nose painting, sleep and urine.
Arvind Kejriwal: Dost thou think because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?
Rahul Gandhi: Good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used.
Venkaiah Naidu: More of your conversation would infect my brain.
Mamata Banerjee: You speak an infinite deal of nothing.
Sitaram Yechury: The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
Arun Jaitley: This is very midsummer madness.
Nitish Kumar: Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.
Sushma Swaraj: I will make an end of my dinner; there’s pippins and cheese to come.
Mayawati: All’s well that ends well.
Manohar Lal Khattar: But, for my own part, it was Greek to me.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
The views expressed are personal