The postman may always ring twice, but the Indian media — the first ones to comment on the need for India to develop a sense of self-worth — is crushed by the fact that the US President-Elect and Darling of the Free World Barack Obama did not call our Prime Minister. The salt has been rubbed in especially after our pundits realised that Mr Obama, currently enjoying a global popularity worthy of Gandhiji, Mandela and Che Guevara all rolled into one, had talked over the phone to other leaders like Pakistan’s Asif Zardari and China’s Hu Jintao.
What the press here has deciphered to be a snub has been explained away by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a media misunderstanding. According to Mr Singh, Mr Obama had indeed dialled the number of the Prime Minister’s Office — 91-11-23012312 — but our PM simply didn’t have the time to take the call. According to him, the American called him on November 8 but couldn’t talk because “the time that was suggested was too short” for Mr Singh who, since then, has been travelling.
We’re waiting for the American equivalent of our media pundits to interpret that as a put-down from a rising economic power. In the meantime, there are some suggestions from a few wise men here — specifically on the rolls of this newspaper, actually — that Prime Minister Singh didn’t take the call from Mr Obama because he was aware that there was a crank caller who called up Sarah Palin pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Look where Ms Palin is now.