The newspapers have been full of India's economic growth plunging to the lowest in the last nine years. In order to make things clear, I have deconstructed some of the comments.
An economist: "Stagflationary concerns could return to the fore as the recent rupee depreciation adds to inflation worries, even as the negative output gap tempers demand conditions."
What he meant: Reach for that crash helmet.
Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman, Planning Commission: "We have to do something about it."
What he really meant: I've been telling them to do something for years. I've written lots of reports telling them to do all kinds of things about it. About what? It, of course. Now that things are so bad, it's all the more necessary to keep telling them to do things.
HDFC non-executive chairman Deepak Parekh: "This is a wake-up call".
What he really meant: I'm sick and tired of these guys. We've been shouting from the rooftops about the slowdown, we've been raving and ranting about the need for reforms, but the only response we got was a loud collective snore emanating from New Delhi. Now the snoring seems to have stopped, but I'm not sure whether that's because they've woken up, or instead slipped into a coma.
C Rangarajan, chairman, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council: "The figures are disappointing as they turned out to be much lower than what we had expected."
What he implied: If we had forecast a lower GDP growth number, we'd be perfectly happy.
Rajiv Kumar, secretary general, FICCI: "We may be in danger of slipping into a 1991-like crisis."
What he felt: Talking with these guys hasn't helped. Pleading and cajoling has got us nowhere. The only option left is to scare them into action. BOOOOO.
Pranab Mukherjee, Union finance minister: "These are disappointing figures... but have to be seen in the light of overall global developments."
What he hoped: The best thing would be to blame those damn Greeks. People will believe anything about them - about how they're responsible for our high subsidies, our policy paralysis, our lousy infrastructure.
BJP leader Arun Jaitley: "It's high time they took some concrete steps."
What he really meant: Oh goody, this gives us another stick to beat them with. We shall, of course, do our best to prevent them taking any steps. Look how successfully we've stalled the Goods and Services Tax, which economists say will add quite a bit to economic growth. And I do hope they hike diesel prices, so we can have another Bharat Bandh.
Mamata Banerjee, chief minister, West Bengal: Silence.
What that means: The economy has been sabotaged by the Maoists in league with extra-terrestrials, aided and abetted by Papua New Guinea and the CPI(M).
Manmohan Singh: Total silence.
What he means: Being prime minister is really cool. You get to travel, see the world. Had some lovely khao suey during my Myanmar trip. But it's nice to be back home, this bungalow is gorgeous. The pay's not great, but the perks are good. Best of all, you don't have to actually do anything. What GDP numbers? You should ask some economist, they're a dime a dozen, unlike us prime ministers.
Man on the street: "No jobs. Pay cuts all around. Prices going through the roof. And our leaders are bothered about cartoons."
What he really wants to say: S**t. B****y H*ll. S*****d. B******d.
Views expressed by the author are personal