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Phew, free at the age of 80 after years of public service. Of course, all these years I had maintained 142 official diaries which shall be useful when I sit down to do my memoirs, which I propose to call ‘Around the World 80 Times’. My hard work and dedication to the job enabled me to undertake so many visits (80 nations), second only to the record 108 set up by Hillary Clinton.
I had critics who often attacked my leisurely style of diplomacy. Did they know that at the United Nations and at Foggy Bottom (US state department) I was voted the “most immaculate diplomat”. Dozens of younger envoys sought my advice on dress sense, hair maintenance and ‘cool’ outlook, even during hot debates. New York University wanted my help to start a diplomacy school and I may accept a consultancy position. On one condition, though. The school must function at London during Wimbledon fortnight and a seat must be reserved for me at Centre Court. I have not missed a Wimbledon for years though in a way, I was moved to retire after watching Leander and Mahesh play this year. You cannot go on endlessly. I could also take up a consultancy job with a chain of tailoring establishments on Saville Row specialising in the ‘Oriental’ look menswear.
As for media rumours that I was “eased out”, why should the government and party object to my “easygoing” diplomacy? I did things in my own way and I deny that the PM was not pleased with my approach. My aim as foreign minister was to spread goodwill among nations, big and small, and let me tell you, the smaller nations greatly appreciated my gesture in reading out the speech written by the Portuguese envoy at the UN. Mind you, this was not a gaffe but a well thought out strategy to win over the smaller nations. I just learnt that the government of Portugal will honour me with an honorary foreign minister title, the first in its history. How can anyone say anything against me when my ministry was untouched by any scams, we didn’t even buy land for our missions abroad and gobble up half of it.
Let me note down in my secret diary that I commend the induction of youth but experience and maturity does count in diplomacy. One of the most acclaimed Indian foreign ministers was Sardar Swaran Singh who seldom opened his mouth. When he was the Soviet envoy to the UN, Andrei Gromyko was highly effective with just one word, ‘nyet’! Of course, I shall be an active MP and speak out on national and international issues, except during monsoon sessions when I could join Vijay Amritraj as Wimbledon commentator. Less yak yakking but more special smiles!
The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 AT gmail.com