Debating India

Hair-brained idea

Friday 17 February 2006, by GANGADHAR*V.

Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran waved me to the chair opposite him and continued to talk on the telephone. "This is top priority," he snapped. "Let someone from our high commission contact him immediately and get the details of his hair dresser. I mean, name, address and so on. He could be in Delhi, Jharkhand or any other place but we have to get him here fast." He put down the receiver and grimaced.

"Hair dresser at the foreign office!" I exclaimed. "What is going on?"

"A new step in Indo-Pak relations," he said. "Ever since Musharraf praised Dhoni’s hairstyle, I have not had a single moment’s rest. That man Musharraf always comes out with something new. We have to match him."

We walked to the room where the Pakistan desk was located. About half a dozen diplomats were at their computers or talking on the phone. All of them wore their hair long.

"This is our response to Musharraf’s hairstyle diplomacy," Saran explained. "Bureaucrats at our Pakistan desk are the most likely to come into contact with Musharraf. By the time their next meeting takes place, they will have hair like our Dhoni. That is why I want his hairstylist to come here."

"Do you think the strategy will work?" I asked.

"It can," he replied. "You see, Musharraf is an impulsive man and we have to respond in a similar manner."

"Where does the PM stand on the issue?"

Saran smiled. "Manmohan Singh is taking a personal interest in our hairstyle diplomacy. Do you know what he suggested? You see, he was planning a visit to Pakistan in June. But that may be cancelled. He has suggested we send President Abdul Kalam instead."

"How will that help?" I asked.

"You have missed the point," Saran retorted. "While the PM sports a turban, Kalam has flowing locks. I mean, a bit like Dhoni. Between now and June, we will request him not to trim his hair. I am sure Musharraf will be impressed."

"There is one more step we are planning," he continued. "As an ultimate gesture, we will present Dhoni’s hairstylist to Musharraf. I am sure we can then expect far-reaching concessions on Kashmir, cross-border terrorism and other problems."

I had a doubt. "Do you think Dhoni will agree to part with his hairstylist?"

Saran shrugged. "He is a patriotic man," he replied. "And we will promise to honour him with a Padma Vibhushan."

See online : The Hindustan Times

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