Saturday, 17 May 2014

Chai-Wallahs, Pianists, Prime Ministers

BBC World Service is currently excited by the fact that a ‘Humble tea-seller’ has ‘risen’ to be Prime Minister of India. It is not clear how they know him to have been a humble tea-seller; in Varanasi (Benares) once I met a rather proud tea-seller who taught me the Hindi word for ‘Bun’. (It is ‘Bun’). Perhaps the BBC thinks chai-wallahs are by definition humble.

Personally I should be more impressed were I to hear of a Prime Minister who had resigned to take up the honest job of tea-seller. I am reminded of the two Frenchmen discussing the career of the great pianist Paderewski: one said ‘Did you know he later became Prime Minister of Poland?’  the other replied ‘Quelle chute!’.

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