Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Day I Saw the Prime Minster of India

The afternoon before the day the PM was going to be in Barmer to dedicate the new Cairn oil well to the nation I did not have an invitation.  I tried to get my NGO to arrange one for me as they all had invites to go but no such luck.  So I called my connection in Cairn, Shankar and he told me I could come, he would have my invite at the entrance.

That night I didn’t sleep well as I discovered that no one in the office was going to the event, except maybe Hitesh.  Most were out of town for various reasons and no one could tell me where the event was.  My Shankar’s phone was not working, or he was too busy planning the celebration to answer.  So I didn’t know when or where and I really wanted to go to see the PM for some strange reason. I got up early and ate a good breakfast and then proceeded to make multiple calls and drove around to try to find out the necessary details I needed.  Finally Hitesh called me and told me to hold still, he got me Magraj Jain’s pass, which he delivered to me, and told me to go get the invite from Mr. Jain’s house.  At the house no one had any idea of what I was talking about.  So I left with some sketchy instructions about where the event was, some 25 kilometres down the road and hoped for the best.  Actually finding the place was easy.  The road way had been all cleaned up for the PM visit and there were signs everywhere.  Security at the parking lot was intense, soldiers and security guards everywhere.  I parked my motorcycle and went up to one of the Cairn staff, who were all dressed in their blue coveralls.  One of them recognized me and got me an invite and helped me pass the security check.  I got onto a bus which took us another 4 kilometres to where a huge tent had been set up.  But first there was another security check and without a proper pass I was not able to go beyond that point.  Fortunately I spotted another Cairn blue boy and called  him over.  I got him to call Shankar who came right over and cleared me through and then took me to the next security check at the VIP entrance.  He got me through that as well and I went inside to a very nice, very large air conditioned tent with room enough for about 3 thousand people.  I sat down with some water and waited.   I was the only person who did not have a brightly coloured pass hanging around his/her neck.  And of course I was one of the few white people there too. Finally the PM came, speeches started and then were over.  The PM gave a short lack-lustre speech, turned a wheel valve to signify that the oil had begun to flow and one hour later the whole show was finished.  Well almost, there was lunch to come.  I went into the VIP lunch room where a short press conference was being held and then a most wonderful lunch buffet was available.  I have to tell you I went right for the non-veg section and filled my plate with meat.  I ate it all and then filled my plate with vegetables twice before having desert.  As I was walking out I notice a familiar shape on the table where the presentations were held.  There were two Toblerone bars out of their paper wrapper but in their tinfoil suits. A guy was cleaning up and I asked him for one which he gladly gave me.  It melted a bit on the way home but was the real thing!

So that was it.  I saw the PM, end of story.  Lunch was worth it.  Oh and I did speak briefly with the CEO of Cairn and he gave me his email address to continue our talk. However I put the paper in my shirt pocket and due to my sweating, the ink got wet and all blurrrred.

Typos are very important to all written form. It gives the reader something to look for so they aren't distracted by the total lack of content in your writing.”  - Randy K. Milholland




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