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Sore throat or hoarse trading

First, the Prime Minister?s knees got more attention than Monica Lewinsky?s.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2002 00:03 IST

First, the Prime Minister’s knees got more attention than Monica Lewinsky’s. Then, Time published such a long list of his ailments that people wondered whether the PMO should permanently employ an RMO. Now At-ill Bihari Vajpayee’s critics are crying themselves hoarse over his sore throat.

If you and I suffer from a similar inconvenience, a couple of salt-water gargles will take care of the matter. But if a Prime Minister gets a galey mein khich-khich, everyone will jump to the conclusion that it’s ‘government mein khit-pit’. In fact, the PM stood accused of feigning such discomfort only to avoid answering uncomfortable questions on the dissidence in UP which resulted from the cabinet expansion of Ms Mayawati. The sore-throat conjecture is not far-fetched considering that the lady is a chronic pain in the neck.

The PM’s malady, alleged or actual, mobilised a battery of oral rearmament. An army of consultants got involved because his indisposition held up a decision on defence equipment. Mediclaim got into the act because also delayed was a decision on the 10th Five-Year Plan which covers the nation against socio-economic ills. After Mediclaim came Modiclaim: the Gujarat riots relief package was the third key decision deferred by the festering sore throat. Thank God, the Cauvery artery wasn’t affected, else the controversial Dr J.J. would have jumped into the fray. And she can single-handedly infect the entire body politic.

It’s not just the NDA that seems to need DNA-splicing. Politicitis has become as endemic to the entire country as gastro-enteritis. OPD has begun to stand for Organised Party Destruction, and, at any time of day or night, you can see long queues of dissidents, lining up with their files and nursing their sore points. Kashmir has gotten so out of his hand that Dr Abdullah has pulled off his mask and gloves, and taken recourse to golf. No one knows how long the patients and patience will hold out while a new team is being knocked together.

This skewed way of looking at high-profile health hiccups has worried me all week. A sore throat was blown up into something as explosive as Deep Throat. Why should even the most ordinary ailment always be diagnosed as a political crisis? Why don’t we accept it as simply a medical condition, instead of reading all the nation’s ills into it ? Let me try to cure this with my verse remedy (patent pending).


There’s no reason for the media hysteria.

It’s just a simple sore throat, not pneumonia.

To the PM’s trouble with walk

Is added the problem with talk.

But if we need a spin doctor, we’ll phone yer.

Kalyan-ji, stop rocking the boat.

Dissidents, don’t yell for a vote.

It’s just laryngitis,

Not Mayawititis.

So please defer the Amar Singh Antidote.

Don’t bring in Italian geography.

There’s no need for expert historiography.

For a Congress prognosis,

Just go in for diagnosis

With a tool as simple as Soniography.

Thackeray shouldn’t bother the nation

With his bilious, heart-burning sensation.

His Dussehra speech

Is not a communal breach.

Just treat it as routine inflammation.

Let troop pull-out proceed at its pace,

Don’t give it an American face.

We need nothing prosthetic,

Just a General anaesthetic,

For it’s only a border-line case.

Don’t tear our Salman apart,

Or parade him in the vile public mart.

He’s not the prime hood

Of Big Bad Bollywood.

He just needs to bypass his heart.

They say it’s not resurrection,

South Mumbai’s being strangled by construction.

But why such a hard stand

On builder-grabbed land,

When it’s only a runaway erection?

* * *

Alec Smart said, “What did the Supreme Court tell the Chief Minister? ‘Play your part, and stop your Kar-natak’.”