I tell you, these MI5 chaps are indeed very resourceful. Why, in a matter of days they cultivated a mole in Rashtrapati Bhavan who has given us some vital inputs which may serve me in good stead at the Games opening ceremony. As a matter of fact, the feedback is that President Patil may declare the Games open in Marathi. Apparently, this move was considered after text messages from Shiv Sena’s Bal Thackeray (no relative of William Makepeace) and his nephew Raj who runs a political party called the MNS. Anyway, the two implored the Prez to promote Marathi which also happens to be her mother tongue. The MI5 even tracked down Prez Patil’s message. The operative part is: “Games suru hovu det!” which means “Let the Games begin.” So, the big question before us was if Ms Patil did indeed resort to using an alien tongue, how should I respond? At first it was suggested that I say something in Celtic or Gaelic. But then would it have any impact in India? After several top-level strategy sessions, the MI5 came up with the bright idea of hiring the services of the Delhi-based ‘All Translations Services’ for rendering a brief stretch of my speech into Marathi. The all-important translation in Roman script read: “Inglandchya Maharani ni apaar anandani hya vismaraniya upkramala tyancha aashirwaad dila aahe. Aadarniya Rashtrapatiji, mee pun ghoshna karto: games suru hovu det. Dagad-ani-gulati chalu kara! (The queen is happy to give her blessings for this great event. Madame President, I too declare the Games open. Let the rock ’n roll begin!).”
I must admit that the Marathi bit has put me in a spot of bother. Practising the lines has upset Camilla no end. “What crap are you muttering?” she asked, most unlike a lady, leave alone a Duchess. Anyway, the long and short of it was that in a huff she took a British Airways flight to Bangalore. And, believe it or not, she checked into the Soukya spa in Whitefield at the unearthly hour of half-past midnight (GMT). Imagine yoga and meditation at that hour! Anyway, that apart, to be fair to Camilla, she has also been rather helpful. Why, after she read reports about snakes at the Games village, she was caring enough to write to the All India Reptile Association chief who operates from Anantnag and is accessible on e-mail. Well, Camilla requested Vishnu Nag to direct all snakes to keep off the venues where I would be present. Thankfully, the king cobra assured my safety and wrote back saying he had sent text messages (courtesy a newly acquired Vodafone) to his brethren in Delhi. That was indeed a relief. I must remember to send him a thank-you card once I return to England.
That apart, I must say I have happy memories of India. Why, I remember being kissed by actress Padmini Kolhapure in 1980. Indeed, in my heart of hearts I am hoping some Indian beauty will do me the honour this time around too. Of course, Camilla will not approve...but what the heck!
(As imagined by Ajith Pillai)
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT