Here is the transcript of the conversation at the Mohali cricket match between Yousuf Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh:
YRG: Ah, the team is out.
MS: Out? Is the game over already?
YRG: I mean out fielding. It’s when you are out batting that you are out.
Aide: If I may explain, sir. We are in the pavilion but two of our players are out in the field. When they get out, they go in the pavilion. When they all get out, they go out in the field.
YRG: I heard you had a bad time over WikiLeaks?
MS: The Opposition sent down some bouncers, but I played a captain’s knock.
YRG: Do you play cricket in Parliament?
MS: No, the Opposition plays dirty. It’s just not cricket.
YRG: Yes, looked a lot like wrestling to me. What do you think would be a good asking rate?
MS: Well, it depends. For saving the government in Parliament, I believe it can be crores.
YRG: I meant for this pitch. But let’s talk about Kashmir.
MS: Please don’t mention the K word.
YRG. No issue, Singhji. These kebabs are wonderful.
MS: Let’s discuss increasing cultural contacts.
YRG: Who’s using the ‘K’ word now?
YRG: Kulture, kontacts, all ‘K’ words. Bye.
MS: No, no, you can’t go so early. We have arranged a dinner.
YRG: I meant that was a leg-bye. What’s his economy rate?
MS: Mine is around 8.5%. You mean the economy’s growth rate, right?
YRG: Not really. Look, that’s a maiden.
MS: Where? How old-fashioned, over here we mostly call them chicks.
YRG: I meant a maiden over.
MS: Over what?
YRG: Over, you know, six balls.
MS: We should change the topic.
YRG: Quick glance to fine leg.
MS:I never steal glances at legs, especially when Soniaji is around.
YRG: That’s a Chinaman, isn’t it?
MS: Of course not, she’s originally Italian. And she’s a woman.
YRG: I was talking of the delivery.
MS: You mean like a Caesarean?
YRG: Never heard of that one. Catch him, goddamn it.
MS: Be careful about blaspheming, Gilaniji.
YRG: I’m so happy I can blaspheme to my heart’s content over here. That’s a wide.
MS: I believe the correct term is broad, not wide.
YRG: I meant the ball, goddamn it.
MS: What? How does the ISI feel about improving relations?
YRG: Look, if we don’t discuss the K word, we shouldn’t discuss the ISI either.
MS: I think that’s a silly point.
YRG: That guy? Isn’t he more towards gully? Lovely.
MS: Yes, good shot.
YRG: I meant these pakoras.
MS: Oh. Shall we prepare the official statement?
YRG: Yes, with cricketing metaphors.
MS: How about, ‘Our governments pledge to ensure the total supply of cricket will always equal the demand for it’?
YRG: Ugh, how horrible, what on earth does it mean?
Aide: If I may interject sir, how about, ‘May our relations be as wonderful as a smooth, perfectly-timed lofted shot that soars above all obstacles for a spectacular six?’
YRG: Yes, that’ll do. Goodbye.
MS: Yes, I’m sure it was a marvellous leg-bye.
YRG: The game is over, Singhji. I meant goodbye, farewell, see you.
MS: Oh, is it over? I look forward to continuing this scintillating dialogue at a cricket match in Pakistan.
(Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint.)
*The views expressed by the author are personal.