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Waiting for Obama’s call

I think there’s something seriously wrong with this Obama guy. Doesn’t he know how we Indians rooted for him? Hasn’t anyone told him how practically all of us have relatives in US? Manas Chakravarty writes.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2008 00:26 IST
Manas Chakravarty

Recent events have left me completely frazzled. I’m referring to the extraordinary delay in that all-important call from Obama to our Prime Minister, which left many of us totally unnerved. You’ll get an idea of the trauma I was going through by my diary entries for those harrowing days.

5 November: Oh, what a victory. Obama’s speech on TV was history in the making. I’m sure he’ll make the world a cosier, nicer place.

6 November: Why hasn’t Obama called the PM yet? Of course, he must be exhausted. I hope the PM has rehearsed an effusive congratulatory speech— first impressions are so important.

7 November: 10 AM — I hear Obama has appointed a guy called Ram to be his Chief of Staff — he must be an Indian-American. It shows how important India is to him.

6 pm — I believe Obama has already called the leaders of Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. I’m sure he’ll call Manmohan Singh soon. He can’t have forgotten we’re an emerging superpower, could he? Ha ha, not likely.

12 pm — Obama’s Chief of Staff isn’t Ram, it’s some guy called Rahm Emanuel, not one of us. I hope the PM doesn’t switch off his phone at night, you never know when the call will come through.

8 November: Today will go down in history as a Black Day. This was the sad day when the president-elect of the US called Pakistani president Zardari, but not Manmohan Singh. How could this happen when we’ve got Sonal Shah in Obama’s transition team? She’s completely useless. I think there’s something seriously wrong with this Obama guy. Doesn’t he know how we Indians rooted for him? Hasn’t anyone told him how practically all of us have relatives living in the US? Doesn’t he know how our newspapers wrote of nothing else but his victory for several days after the election? Didn’t anyone tell him how the TV channels interviewed random people in cities all over India asking them about Obama’s victory?

9 November: Couldn’t sleep last night. I’ve got dark circles under my eyes. I’ve been watching the news all day but all they show is stuff about the credit crisis. Besides Zardari, he also called the chiefs of several other countries. What’s the point of calling this Mubarak guy in Egypt, I mean is Egypt America’s back office the way we are? Do they love McDonald’s and Paris Hilton? Do they watch Oprah?

10 November: Thankfully, the PM said today Obama wanted to call him the day before yesterday, but he didn’t have time to take the call. The PM’s secretary must be a moron, if he can’t manage the PM’s phone calls. The big question is: did Obama try to call the PM before or after he called Zardari? I’m worrying myself sick. The PM shouldn’t have met Sarah Palin and he shouldn’t have said Indians love Bush. Obviously Obama is offended.

12 November: Phew! Today is a red-letter day. Obama has finally called the PM. I’m so elated. Thank God the tension is over and I can get a good night’s rest.

Obama’s diary:

6 November: Tried calling the Indian PM. Someone said, “All lines on this route are busy.”

7 November: Tried again. This time I got a message, “The telephone you’re trying to contact is switched off.”

8 November: The phone rang but nobody picked it up. I hope they’ll respond to the missed call.

9 November: They still haven’t responded. When I tried calling, someone said, “Please check the number you have dialled.” Did Bush give me the wrong number?

10 November: This time they said, “The number you dialled is unreachable.”

11 November: They came up with a new one today: “The dialled number does not exist.”

12 November: Finally got through. Told Manmohan he really needs to do something about the phone lines in his country.

Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint