This is a guest post by SHARAD MATHUR
In the summer of 1999, practising our family tradition, we were availing a government LTC that my father was entitled to, being a senior central government officer. Since we could travel by air, we decided to take a trip to Darjeeling, while halting at Allahabad, Varanasi, Lucknow, and Calcutta for some sight-seeing. Those were the days when flying was an experience for most Indians; yet the emotional memory of this trip did not record much of the excitement induced by flying, but took vivid account of disappointment – with a chance conversation and of missing another.
It was on our flight from Lucknow to Calcutta, I was sitting with my younger brother while my parents were sitting together in a row behind us. I was on the window seat and was too occupied with the process of luggage sliding inside the plane, to notice two gentlemen who came and sat next to my parents and my brother respectively. My gawking was however interrupted by my father excitedly introducing me to one Devi Singh ji, who I was told happened to be Personal Assistant to Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. Being a big BJP enthusiast, partly because of their mesmerizingly bright coloured flags, I looked up to this BJP heavyweight and was elated to meet his personal assistant. My excitement was doubled when Devi Singh ji introduced us to a gentleman sitting next to my brother, on the aisle seat, as Modi ji who was accompanying Bhairon Singh ji to the Bihar convention of BJP. However, this excitement remained short lived.