Patient: Doctor, I don’t feel like doing any work.
Doctor: Who does?
Patient: I feel listless, drained of energy.
Dr: How’s your sugar?
Patient (blushing): Eh? Oh, she’s fine.
Dr: I meant your blood sugar.
Patient: Oh that. It’s ok.
Dr: Hmm. Let’s see. I suspect LSE.
Patient: But I was never at the London School of Economics. I’m from Oxbridge.
Dr: I was talking of Low Self-Esteem. But that settles it, nobody from Oxbridge ever suffered from low self-esteem. I think you have GDD, Governance Deficit Disorder. You know, like Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD.
Patient: Ah yes, my colleague Mamata has ADD. These deficit disorders seem to be in the air. My friend Pranab suffers from Fiscal Deficit Disorder and Sharad has an Onion Deficit Disorder.
Patient: Why is it odd?
Dr: I meant ODD, as in Onion Deficit Disorder.
Dr (taking out a hammer and tapping patient’s knee): GDD is a deep-seated disinclination to govern. But let me confirm my diagnosis.
Patient (jerking his knee): What are you doing?
Dr: It’s confirmed. You see, GDD often leads to knee-jerk reactions. Do you have any pain anywhere?
Patient: I don’t want to mention names, but many of my ministers are a royal pain.
Dr: No, no, I meant in your body.
Patient: Well, where else? They’re all a pain in the backside.
Dr: Never mind. Any other symptoms?
Patient: I have this uncontrollable itch to set up committees.
Dr: Ah, very significant.
Patient: How dangerous is the disease?
Dr: Unchecked, it could lead to paralysis. That’s what happened to a patient called Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in West Bengal. But there’s hope for you — unlike others, you don’t suffer from inflammation of the ego.
Patient: Some people were saying a JPC could help.
Dr: JPC is a medical term, the full form of which is Jumping on the Poor Chap. It might help, but will leave deep scars. Instead, we should go in for psychological treatment, like Confidence Building Measures. For instance, you shouldn’t introduce yourself as ‘Umm. Er. This is Singh here’. Learn from 007. You must say instead, “The name is Singh. Manmohan Singh”, with a firm handshake. Also, have your vodka martini shaken and not stirred.
Patient: I don’t drink vodka.
Dr: OK, your nimbu-paani then.
Patient: I feel a bit shaken myself.
Dr: Nonsense. You can also try to laugh it off. Joke about it.
Patient: How about this limerick: I have never done anything illicit/ Anything nasty, or even complicit/ Yet I can’t sleep a wink/ And all I do is think/ Of that darned governance deficit.
Dr: That isn’t funny. Why don’t you try and emphasise positive things.
Patient: Well, economic growth is going to be around 8.5% this year. If we’re growing that fast, surely governance isn’t all that bad.
Dr: Man does not live by growth rates alone. There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Patient: I’m Manmohan, who’s Horatio? What philosophy?
Dr: Let it be. Any other positives?
Patient: Well, there’s the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Right to Education, we’re thinking of a Right to Food.
Dr: Now you’re talking. But you must also learn how to evade the negative things. How come you didn’t get GDD during your first stint in office?
Patient: Oh, we blamed the Left for not governing.
Dr: Precisely. It’s time now to blame the others, like the NCP and the DMK.
Oh, one more thing. I’m prescribing a balm which you must apply twice daily. It’s very soothing and easily available — it’s called Yeddyurappa balm.
Patient: Thank you, doctor. What did you say your name was?
Dr: The name is Swamy. Dr Subramanian Swamy.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint The views expressed by the author are personal