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Curse of London

Chief ministers appear to have learnt of the fatal effect a London visit has on their tenure. It was said, based on hard facts, that a London visit normally cost CMs their job. Those who learnt this at a high cost to themselves, included the late N T Rama Rao, Mulayam Singh and a few other, writes Vijay Dutt in London Diary.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2004 13:07 IST

Most amazing things happen in and to London. This is why the old blue-blooded Londoner used to say his city was a fountain of eternal youth. We may not agree to his description, after visiting all the old spots to which all of us are lured to by the British tourism.

But the fickle weather does keep the contour of our life and of the city's contour changing perpetually, some time to our utter delight.

The weather was supposed to be typically English, dark, gloomy days with drizzles. But, instead the sun has been shining and the parks are full of shrieking children jumping or running with their dogs making no less racket. It's like in Delhi in late November. May be summer this time is early.

The number of VVIPs, scheduled to come from India, has started to climb up. It does every year, as the clime there become to hot and sultry. So far we know three ministers will be here in May, so will a few senior bureaucrats. A bigger contingent might fly in, in June.

But, chief ministers appear to have learnt of the fatal effect a London visit has on their tenure. It was said, based on hard facts, that a London visit normally cost CMs their job. Those who learnt this at a high cost to themselves, included the late N T Rama Rao, Mulayam Singh and a few other chief ministers from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab and even the seemingly indestructible Laloo Prasad Yadav.

In fact, he said that he had heard of the danger to a chief minister who "dared" visit London and that is why he went to the US first and then came to London. As things turned out he lost his chief ministership anyway. His safety measures did not help him.

Only one who escaped the London curse was Digvijay Singh. He came here twice, but he still is in charge of Madhya Pradesh. So is Capt. Amrinder Singh, but those who have get a thrill from the London curse point out that Mr Singh visited gurdwaras as well. That apparently helped him remain in power in Chandigarh. But, most CMs do not seem to take any risk. So there are no CM visits scheduled so far. It is better to endure the India's summer than risk the fatal effect of an Indian summer of London.

A paradise for terror

Even those who persuaded the two suicide bombers to travel from Derby to Tel Aviv could be rueing their own jihadi plan to use British passport-holders. Ever since the report that their passport facilitated their evil mission, people, egged on by the media, have been in a rather introspective mood, cursing and ranting about their own system and liberalism that spawned Hanif and Sheikh.

The British passport has been called a passport for murder and Britain has been named a paradise for terrorists. Various views and opinion have been pouring in as to why this country has become a refuge for terrorist masterminds. The consensus is that political correctness and policy errors have made life easy for terrorists and they have spawned in large numbers in Britain's backyards.

Of course, many Indians are correctly pointing out "we said so". When money used to be collected in mosques for violent disruptions in Kashmir and in other parts of India nothing was done. When the French said that Algerian terrorists were holed up in a few parts of London, it was not noted. So why, even some Britons are asking, one is shocked at a Hanif or Sheikh, strapping themselves with bombs and going on a suicide mission. London is every terrorists dream. But, now Mossad is likely to shatter that and turn it into a nightmare for them. The Londoner is relieved.

It's all in the name Indian

The old saying what's in a name is no longer true, at least as far as the wine world is concerned. A year-long experimentation was sponsored by Chor Bizarre restaurant of Rohit Khattar in London's Mayfair two year ago to find wines that would go with different Indian preparations. It was great fun to sip. A Bordeaux with say aloo tikki or a Chardonnay with dahi papri.

Then we got from the Billimoria wine stable a range of Merlots and white wines. They covered a number of Indian dishes all together. Merlot has been a hit with the connoisseurs. But now we have another range of wines that are "named" for the Indian diner.

I was quite surprised to see a wine card at Eriki, an Indian restaurant that is making waves among the young crowd in north London, which offered Shanti, Raz and Asha wines to "compliment Indian cuisines". They are the "Spirit of Time", claimed the card. I thought we had now another Indian brewer flooding the ever-growing market for Indian food and wine. I was mistaken.

Shanti, Asha and Raz have come from Germany. But Asha is supposed to give joyful hopes to those eating tandoori preparations and vegetarian dishes, Raz has been "brewed" to go with kebabs and Shanti is for meals on "celebratory occasions". So now we know to sell anything in the food world, be Indian in name if not in content.

Democracy in print

Can we write such things, sample this. " Having been widely condemned for her opportunistic greed, Cherie Blair is flying to Bermuda to give a speech to the Bermuda Bar Association. She's is taking her mother and children, and they will stay at Government House.

"This will be at the Bermudan taxpayers' expense, which is a pretty seedy behaviour. Clearly criticism has only strengthened her determination to milk the system, and to hell with what anyone thinks." Is this democracy at work?

Last word

He must be a husband all husbands of the world must respect and emulate. His wife said, " My husband objects to me using four-letter words….such as 'work', 'cash' and 'lazy'." Clever guy !

First Published: Jan 06, 2004 11:57 IST