It’s late evening. Shivraj Patil is walking down a tree-lined street in Lutyens Delhi. He has a confused expression on his usually serene face. Sonia Gandhi had earlier said to him, “Go home.” What did she mean? Was she relieving him of his porfolio? Or was she cheering his ministry? And more importantly, should he wear the dark-blue Bandhgala tomorrow or should it be the black one?
Suddenly there is a flash, and there appears in front of him a bald man with a Ferrous expression. Shivraj notices that the apparition is clad in crude, homespun clothes which are disturbingly crumpled.
Shivraj Patil (raising his eyebrows) : And who might you be oh ill-dressed man?
Vallabhai Patel (sonorously) : I am the spirit of Sardar Patel. The first home minister of independent India. I have come to rebuke you on your terrible performance in the same role.
SP : Fiddledeedee. You are talking through your hat. I have comported myself with dignity, decorum and dandiness. I was a much better home-minister than you ever were.
VP (aghast) : What?! I’ll have you know sir, that I united the country.
SP : Yeah yeah. So did I. Read the papers. Watch TV. Every single person has called for my resignation. Isn’t that true unity?
VP : Well, …er… but people adored me. I was called the Iron Man of India.
SP : Teehee, I too am an Iron man. Check the crisp crease that I have achieved on my sleeve.
VP : C’mon, you know what I mean. Where would Junagadh & Hyderabad be without me?
SP : And where would Gwalior be without me. And er… Raymonds & Vimal.
VP : You know the problem with you? You’re pathetic in a crisis. Why did you reach Cama Hospital so late, that the terrorists got impatient and left?
SP (shiftily) : Oh, I had ..um.. pressing… matters to attend to. Some details had to be.. ah.. ironed out. I had to consult the rest of my wardrobe.. I mean cabinet. So I was a bit delayed.
VP : Seriously, can you tell me, why do you have this obsession with clothes?
SP : Look. Gandhi said something like, “Be the change that you want to see.” I just follow his advice. Sometimes thrice in one hour. Especially if there is some mudslinging going on.
VP : Ok. Ok. Leave your clothes aside. Why didn’t you carry out Mohammad Afzal’s execution?
SP : Like you, I was waiting for instructions from a Gandhi. They screamed, “Hang him.” I said, “Hang on.” (which incidentally is an anagram of Sonia Gandhi)
VP : Leave Afzal. What about all the other terrorists? Why are you so soft on them?
SP (indignantly) : Who said that I was soft on them? Soon after taking up office, I announced that I was ready for meaningful intercourse with the terrorists. Which is just a dignified way of saying that I will f… you know what I mean… like have Congress with them. (Shakes his head) I’m a much misunderstood man.
VP : Oh spare me your tears. I shudder to think that you nearly became the President of India.
SP (wistfully) : Ah. A ceremonial job. I’d have been good at that. Such jobs really appeal to my pansy.
VP : Oh I’ve had enough of your inanities. Obviously I was the better home minister.
SP : Excuse me. Let’s sort this out once and for all. I’m the best home minister India ever had. Simply because, I ensured that people stayed at home. You see, they were too scared to step out. “Home” minister. Get it. Teeheehee (prods Patel). So, go rust in peace, oh iron man.
Sardar Patel is crestfallen. He vanishes in a puff of smoke. Shivraj looks around nervously, in case Ramadoss got a whiff of the puff, and carries on walking. Whistling “Hurry Home Hurry.”
Disclaimer : The ghost of Sardar Patel is as fictional as superman, spiderman and Shivraj’s spine.
Additional Reading : A list of Patil’s gaffes (Economic Times).