Looking for the president

If India wants a President who eats his soup instead of drinking it, then Shivraj Patil is the right choice. He won’t be reciting poetry to young students. He won’t applaud an entrepreneur. He won’t do many things. But he is quite posh.

It is surprising the amount of politicking that has been going on for the post. There are leaps of affiliation and imagination taking place. Poor Dr. Karan Singh, former maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir, continues to be called an ‘erudite scholar’, but he is still waiting.

They have talked of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. He is the Vice president, so he could be pushed up.

I have my Shivraj Patil story. A few years ago when he was out of favour, as they say, he was seated next to me on a Mumbai-Bangalore late evening flight. I did not recognise him although he looked familiar. I immersed myself in my book. When dinner was being served I showed the disdain one is supposed to towards such minor details of life. He smiled.

“You look familiar…” I said, almost in an accusatory tone.

“Oh, well…” Nice accent. Polished.

“You are Gulzar!”



“My name is Shivraj Patil,” he said. He did not feel affronted. I did not need to apologise.

At that time I had a major problem with Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar and a host of others, and he listened. I said everyone is corrupt. He kept quiet.

The soup was brought. Nice table manners, as much as is possible on an aircraft.

He was wearing a safari suit but he seemed to carry it off rather well.

Just when the plane was to land he made sure to ask if I had transport to take me to my destination. In the inky darkness he was gone. I did not hear about him for long till he resurfaced.

From that one encounter, I think he will be okay. They are saying he is a lightweight and fluffy. So is soufflé.


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  2. blog
    I have the privilege to wrtie with my humble English in this blog of FV who is a famous Indian Journalist/celebrity...

  3. Huh? We were mere fellow passengers. The difference then was he seemed to relish soup, I did not :-)


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