Everyone looked up. The secretary looked up. The deputy secretary looked up and so did the assistant secretaries and the associate secretaries. Well, if the secretary looks up, the others had better not keep their head down as this is what gives a wrong signal and allows supersession in offices. The secretary then asked me to go to the reception and meet his secretary. ‘Well, this is quite a wonderful world here,’ I said, ‘full of secretaries.’
I walked out and asked the secretary of the secretary if he was indeed the secretary of the secretary and he said, ‘I am indeed.’
‘So tell me,’ I said, ‘why is the sensex so dependent upon whatever happens in China today?’
‘Ask the secretary.’
‘But you’re the secretary.’
‘I’m only the secretary to the secretary and not the secretary.’
The way the PMO and, in fact, all these government offices function can be quite harrowing for simple folk like me. But this was more than just harrowing… I felt I was inside a pitch-black pipe and rolling with no chance of ever stopping. No wonder they say that the government is invariably rolling well or rolling back something or the other or heads are rolling. Rolling is quite a popular activity in the PMO as well. Do well and you’re on a roll… slip once and see your head roll. The people there role-play. They know their role well and roll in tandem. And thus the government rolls… and often like a roller-coaster, going higher and higher and then doing a noisy free-fall, but always rolling. It rocks and rolls too, really speaking. Rolling is what it does well other than rocking.
And this leads us to rocking. Each of the services has their own rock throwers who do their job well. We’ve just being seeing one long rocking-battle between the defence guys and the civil services… operation OROP, as one veteran told me once. The common chant all over all the ministries is: ‘Rock their boat! Rock their boat!!’ The PMO, I discovered, is no less. They are adept at rocking boats in office and even after they have retired. Read the books that they write (which have, of course been written while they were in service and pretending to do some really complex fiscal jogging to help the nation afloat) and you’ll know how popular the sport of rocking is in a sarkari environment.
Come on now, the government isn’t just about the babus and also has its roles shared by the netas. Though many of them prefer to roll than walk, but that being only an outcome of their physical attributes, they need to be adept at rocking as well. And the opposition is always rocking the decision-making abilities and bill-passing of the party in power. Ironically, the party in power believes they are rock stars and have a rocking performance.
This is so confusing… but Specky, my wife thinks otherwise. She told me the other day that most of these rock stars in our parliament would look up and scan the skies if their leader were to suddenly shout, ‘Rock it!’ So I asked her if a command to ‘rock on’ will probably get them scurrying to manage a guitar!
But let me not digress and let my thoughts not play second fiddle to any other thoughts that our bureaucracy and our politicians light up so easily. I had gone to the PMO to ask them about what the nation needs to do.
The secretary to the secretary heard the word nation and looked up, ‘Ah! What the nation needs to know is that the rupee is like an iceberg, still afloat. Icebergs never drown.’
‘Noble thought,’ I said, and immediately wrote a few lines sitting on a chair in the PMO…
An appeal to the market
how much further will the market fall
for how long shall the Bulls now crawl
the Sensex that once made me glad
piles figures and emotions that are bad
I know this cycle of bad and good
is a combo of could, would, and should
but it is time for the fiscal roll to stop
to hop the chop and pop the drop
it is time for life to have some bounce
without fiscal fear ready to pounce!
As I was leaving, I decided to let my readers know that the PMO that I went to was some Prime Merry-making Office that every government office really is.
Post published in Business Insider on 15 September 2015:
Post written on 10 September 2015
Published in Business Insider on 15 September 2015