Bill Shakespeare once said that “the course of true love never did run smooth”. And who better than our babus to ensure this when French President Nicolas Sarkozy comes calling soon along with his très chic companion Carla Bruni. The mandarins of South Block have got their knickers in a twist because a ‘girlfriend’ cannot be considered a spouse. Now the French have a certain je ne sais quoi about such issues and Sarko is unlikely to be aware of the severe moral dilemma he has thrown our officials into. Distraught MEA officials are wringing their hands at the ‘situation’ and are wondering what privileges Mademoiselle Bruni can be extended.
Why, oh why have we raised this ‘situation’ to a fever pitch? If this goes on, the French are likely to be un peu perturbed with us starchy lot. Instead we should welcome Mlle Bruni, once seen on the arm of legendary rockers like Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton. It is a long time since we have had a touch of haute glamour at our dry as dust events like Republic Day. What will our MEA lads do next? Insist on seeing the marriage certificates of all visiting dignitaries? All this kerfuffle is likely to cast un petit shadow on the high-profile visit. After all, even the great Mitterrand thought nothing of a little romantic side business all the years he was married. Old Sarko, no slouch in the romance department given his scorching track record, will certainly find our moral standards a little quaint.
Let’s hope that all this amour impropre on the part of Indian officialdom doesn’t scare away French investors. We should just adopt the policy that all the world loves a lover and guide the two to the Taj. This will show them that we don’t take matters of the heart too much to heart.