Getting calls from your family and friends, enquiring about your well-being amid crises such as Covid-19 is not unforeseen, but if the caller is the Vice-President of India himself, it certainly is. Just before the third lockdown was announced, several journalists were pleasantly surprised to get a call. “Up-Rashatrapatiji will speak,” the caller said. M Venkaiah Naidu came on line and asked if everything was okay and any help was needed.
Vice-President Naidu has been around in Delhi for so long, it is quite natural that he would know most fixtures in the capital by name, even journalists of a certain age. He likes talking to them and his signature remark is: “Nothing is off the record.” He is jovial and loves cracking jokes.Thirst for power
It is always a pleasure to delve into history with former foreign minister K Natwar Singh. This week he writes in his column in the Sunday Guardian: “On February 27, 1967, I sent a note to (then) Prime Minister Indira Gandhi regarding what a German Member of Parliament, Felix Von Eckardt, had said about nuclear power. I thought it would amuse her. It did. “Non-proliferation is like a club of notorious boozers who demand a written agreement from the teetotallers that they never take alcohol and won’t even touch a drop when a glass is offered to them. And then after the pact is signed, these drinkers not only sit together and booze again, but throw the empty bottles at the teetotallers.”