Monday morning. The doors of Air India-001 are flung open at the Srinagar airport. The sky is blue, like the British Conservative party flag. A lean figure with a light blue Turban -- snowy white hair concealed within -- appears at the door. He has a duffle coat on. There are whispers on the Tarmac: Prime minister, Prime minister. With a brown bag in hand. Lots of goodies for us.
Slowly, with the grace of a sonneteer, Manmohan Singh descends the air-stairs. There is sound of salutes. Left. Right and centre.
Omar, clad in a crisp jacket, hair greying, like an amateur philosopher, steps ahead and extends both his hands for a hand-shake: Mr Prime Minister, Welcome to Kashmir.
PM: Nice day. The weather is fabulous, Omar.
Omar: Yes Sir, it was raining all through the last week. And the week before. We feared floods. All rivers are flowing over the danger mark.
PM: Hay Rabba [Oh God]. Why is everything so dangerous here?
Omar, tittering: Nothing serious, Mr PM. The rains can be a blessing sometimes. The only way to keep the separatists indoors.
Both step into a waiting car fitted with a zillion gizmos. Not even a robin on the tree can trill when the motorcade passes by.
PM, turns to Omar: Oh, by the way, I was mulling over to invite the separatists to a closed door.
Omar: Well, sir -- Geelani sahib is angry, like always. CID wallas tell me that even Mirwaiz is irate. And Yasin has been asking people to burn torch-lights at night. Sajad writes angry notes on Facebook.
PM: Grim, very grim. Why are they so annoyed?
Omar: Must be the weather, Sir. Grumpy like northern sky.
PM: I shall still renew my offer for peace. Sonia Ji insists.
Omar: How can there be peace Sir, when people are plucked out of their fields and clobbered to death?
PM, gaze a little stern: Don’t sound gloomy, Omar. It is a nice day.
Omar: Pardon me, His Excellency, I was a little distracted.
PM: You know we can’t afford to loose focus.
The cavalcade crosses a desolate looking Boulevard. Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad follow in their respective cars. Sirens blaring. Farooq taps his driver to overtake Azad. [Tez Chalav Shahmas-lada -- Drive fast, you dimwit] Soz trails in another car, looking repeatedly at his cell-phone, wondering why it stopped working [Khabar haz kya gov yath – What happened to my phone? – Jammers Professor, Jammers]
Meanwhile in the PM’s car –
Omar, gathering courage again: Frankly, I am for zero tolerance, Sir.
PM: So am I.
Omar: We are on the same page.
PM: Zero tolerance for violence and terror.
Omar (in his thought-baloon): And human rights violations.
PM: Did you say something?
Omar: No Sir – we are already at the convocation centre. Let’s step out.