Saturday, March 11, 2006

Power Trappings

Or lack of it..

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen is in India now on a 5 day tour and will be inagurating the new Nokia factory in Chennai today (March 11, 06). The Prime Minister and his entourage traveled with me from Frankfurt to Chennai by Lufthansa last night. No one noticed the presence of an VVIP in the plane. Everything was absolutely normal and business as usual in the plane. I came to know about the VVIP on board only because his press officer was sitting next to me and we chatted. When I asked her whereabouts of the Prime Minister in the plane, she pointed to a guy who was just 2 rows ahead of us. I was impressed with the simplicity of the whole team and the Prime Minister. Even though they were a group of about 15 with a VVIP in their midst, there was no extra layer of anything.

All that changed when the team landed in Chennai. There was a big group led by some TN State Minister waiting to welcome the Prime minister. They blocked the aero bridge for good 10 minutes and didn't let anyone to alight. The usual garlanding and photo shooting went on at the cost of other passengers. I wonder if the Finnish team really liked this welcome.. Because they could clearly hear the murmur of the fellow passengers who were getting restive.

Welcome to India, Prime minister Matti Vanhanen.. You may not have liked the welcome last night, but be prepared for more of it in the next few days. In India, even a junior civil servant has lot of power trappings and they flaunt it.

PS: I caught the Prime Minister watching Vijay's Sivakasi in his personal TV monitor. He may be catching some of the 'Tamil' culture before landing in Tamil Nadu.