More and more Delhi people, I find, are visiting Bombay. For instance, in the last fortnight I twice came across Mr. Santosh Bharatiya, one-time right-hand man of V.P. Singh and Janata Dal hopeful for the post of deputy minister for information and broadcasting. That the two occasions were of little consequence and of no, official value (the Debonair party, where a lady sprang out of a X'mas cake, and M.F. Hussain's birthday party, where mujrawallis sang and danced in a loft), reflects as much the kind of socil calendar I observe as Mr. Bharatiya does. But then I am a Bombaywalla and permitted.
Mr. Bharatiya has this very gracious Delhi style of greeting people, hands folded and a manner which states - I am your humble servant, sir. Only Delhi people can carry this off, when Mr. Murli Deora attempts it, he looks like the film star Jeetendra.
Other Delhi people I have met recently include Mufti Mohammed Sayeed (the home minister, in case you have forgotten). Last Sunday afternoon, I was officially (by the Press Information Bureau) invited to have lunch with him at the Raj Bhavan. Myself and several other working journalists and some non-working journalists.
"Come in come in, how are you?" he greeted me, forgetting that I know him, he does not know me. He greeted others also similarly and some of them actually thought that he knew them.
He talked of several things concerning his ministry, carefuly creeping around the subject, not committing himself once. I thought it was pointless, at the end of it all to say that everything was off the record, since there was nothing that could have gone on record, unless you wanted to waste newspaper space.
The lunch - yes. It was a typical Raj Bhavan lunch, prepared by too many cooks and a large serving staff.
I do not know in what capacity the Mufti was visiting Bombay. I am told it was to preside over a Hindi Prachar Sammeian (the things home ministers have to do.)
The other ministers who were here last week Mr. George Fernandes and Mr. Madhu Dandavate. They, at least, are both Bombaymen, though neither had bothered to stand for the elections from Bombay. They were probably worried they would lose, and Mr. Fernandes certainly would have lost, though not Mr. Dandavate.
Still, I think it is unfair that politicians should contest elections from constituencies other than those where they have lived and worked in. Cricketers have to qualify from their own states, so why not politicians.
There are other Delhi people who have been visiting Bombay. It is a long list, I will not go into it. Instead, I will tell you the one question that they all ask when they meet me: "You don't come to Delhi much, do you?"