Now that the governors are being made to resign and a fresh lot are to be appointed, I am wondering that if I was offered a governor's job and given a choice of States, which one would I choose.
To start with, it would not be Orissa, that is for sure. I mean, what would I do sitting in the raj bhavan in Bhubaneshwar or wherever. For that matter, what would I do siting in any raj bhavan anywhere, but that is a separate issue.
Jaipur, I would not mind, though our Late Vasantdada Patil did not like it at all and spent most of his gubernatorial tenture in Bombay and Sangli. But that was because he was a politician first and last, and retired life a governor did not suit him at all.
Bhopal is another city which is out. I cannot think of anybody voluntarily living in Bhopal, even if Mr. Arjun Singh were to return as chief minister. And Lucknow may be okay, but it is too far from home and I would be thoroughtly homesick. Sir Homi Mody was for some time the governor of UP, residing in Lucknow. For him it must have been like for an ambassador posted posted in Bucharest. (Poor Julio Ribeiro, he waiting to be sacked and returning home.)
New Delhi may not be bad, but also wants to be only a lieutenant governor. For the same reason, Panaji is discarded, though, mind you, Goa is a lovely place to live in and lord over. I had visited the raj bhavan there, when Mr. Jagmohan was the lieutenant governor. It is called the Cabo, a romantic Portuguese structure in white stone, banquet halls, verandahs sprayed by the sea, stables, an orchad of mango trees. Mr. Jagmohan gave me a box of mangoes to take back with me to Bombay. Not for myself…for Mr. Mulk Raj Anand.
But to carry on, at another time and in another situation, Srinagar may have been an ideal place to govern in. not now, it is the place to avoid. You can only came out of it with your reputation ruined. The same with Punjab, though the job would be challenging, and, with the President's rule, it would involve a lot of administrative work. And the whole idea in being a governor is not to do any work.
In that respect, Banglore would be the appropriate place to live a peaceful retired life as a governor. Madras also is peaceful, but you only go to Madras if you want an eye operation, there is nothing else there.
But for real peace, I would choose Sikkim or the tea estate states of north-east India, though there also the situation is somewhat unsettled at the moment.
Calcutta, no. The raj bhavan is right in the centre of the world's dirtest city. And being governor, I would not be to travel by its superclean metro every day and enjoy it.
That leaves only Bombay. And that would be ideal. To stay at the raj bhavan, have no more accommodation problems, cultivate its gardens, call over friends every day, tell Mr. Sharad Pawar where he gets off when he comes to me with his list of new council members. The trouble is, they don't make you governor of your own state. So that is that.