M4: Garima

This is a blog novel post. Please read M1, M2 and M3 before proceeding in order to maintain continuity

Present day. Year 298 of the third age

Garima woke Suketu up early morning that day. She bathed him up, dressed him in a make shift combat uniform, put a nice woolen cap on his head and instructed him to perform his daily routine of Surya Namaskar and other asanas. The sun was shining brightly on this beautiful summer morning. Sitting on the edge of the culvert built along the rear mountain road, she could see the city of Kansar spread over. It was completely devastated 6 months ago. However it was being rebuilt. Half built temple tops were being raised. The royal court was being reconstructed and horizontally expanded. Few of the western farmlands were being razed, possibly to create a large stable for, what one could guess, at least 1000 horses and horsemen to stay. The levee on Sattvi river was still untouched. But she had heard stories that a port was conceived. The construction could begin any time. The king is doing a good job, she thought. But a crook he is and I shall never forgive him for what he did to Kansar. The war had lasted 15 days. It was more of a guerilla war, until Bramhakush entered the fray on the 13th. Within two days, every thing was over. Garima remembered the meeting with, who she called The Beast on that fateful night. Had it not been for the sacrifice of 7 of her men, she wouldn’t be alive. She had to retreat into a self imposed exile. Not for her own safety, but for the prince…

“Maasi… I’m done!” Garima was lost in her thought when suddenly her slumber was broken by a tap on her shoulder and a sweet voice. Suketu with a beaming smile was standing besides her. Of all the things she had endured, Suketu was the only good thing that kept her going. 

“Oh wow! My good boy. Common now, lets go and play some fun games. Hari bhai must be waiting for us.” She said turning towards Suketu.

Garima, along with Haridra Kant, were the one loyal to Raja Namandev. Because of her looks, Garima was able to camouflage herself as a man or as a woman within no time. She was the leader of the Chhaya doot squad, an elite group of commandos of Kansar who kept a watchful eye on all things happening in and around Kansar. They were true to the name, like a shadow. No one noticed, and yet they were always there. Haridra, also fondly known as Hari bhai, was one of her finest men.

Nearly a year ago, one of the chhayadoots had spotted Sardar Trikoot, lieutenant general of Pindhar along with few of his soldiers crossing the river Sattvi from the eastern banks. As most of the habitable and navigation capable bank of the river was under Kansar’s rule, anyone who wanted to cross or pass by had to take permissions from the office of border control. Kansar had such offices on both eastern and western banks. Any one entering either of the banks, who had to travel across were handed a memo with the border office seal. They had to surrender the memo at the other office. Heavily armed ships or army contingents were disallowed to pass, unless under a diplomatic treaty. On that day, the eastern border control office received a request from Sardar Trikoot along with his soldiers to cross over to the other side, a region that belonged to Bramhakush. Reason, they mentioned was a visit to the ashram of some sage in the jungles of Kumud Vihar. As was the custom, the border control office notified the police about the crossing lieutenant general, and the chhayadoot mole at the office informed Garima.

Although it wasn’t unusual for the Pindharis to cross over, and there were some stray incidents of unlawful activities too. But this visit of Trikoot raised a doubt in Garima’s mind. Why would the lieutenant general visit an ashram in the jungle? And even if it was a personal visit, why then he should take the entourage of his personal guards? She put Hari bhai on his trail and immediately thought of sounding off her king. Raja Namandev, however, dismissed the threat thinking it could be a genuine visit. His relationship with Maharaja Shivchandra was cordial and friendly. He was one the invited chief guests for the Kansar mahotsav. Although Namandev allowed the surveillance, he didn’t Trikoot’s visit as suspicious. A mistake he was going to regret in the next few months.

to be continued…

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M3: A war that wasn’t to be

Scroll down to read M1 and M2 before proceeding.

13 months ago, Kaumudi Bhavan

“Sardar Trikoot is here, Senapati”, the dwarpal announced.

“Send him in”, said Mayant. He was standing near the parapet on the second floor, shadowed by the presence of large cannons facing the Sattvi river. These cannons developed by the scientists of Vishala were capable of shooting fireballs to a distance of nearly 10 miles. What more, the accuracy was 10m radius and they could be reloaded within no time. Bramhakush was the only country in Aryan Habitat who had achieved this technical feat. Other countries who were able to develop their share of Columbiads, none could match the prowess of the cannons, what Maharaj Shivchandra liked to call GajGamini. He had 10 of them in the army. On Mayant’s behest, he placed 4 at the Kaumudi bhavan.

“Pranaam Senapati Ashtabal.” A rather loud and coarse voice greeted Mayant. Trikoot, a stoic looking deputy general of the Pindharis stood behind. He was average height and rather heavily built for a warrior. Anyone could mistake the round face and fair complexion for a trader. However those who went by his looks had to repent later, for no one wielded a sword like him. He was astute, ambitious and most importantly the son of Pind Raj’s sister. Mayant needed him for his plans to succeed.

“Welcome Sardar Trikoot. I hope you were able to find this place easily.” said Mayant.

“This is a fortress, Senapati Ashtabal. It is visible from miles away. Even from above the mountains… and my eyesight is good.” remarked Trikoot. He knew Mayant had some plans cooking in his evil brain. Otherwise the commanding general of the Bramhakush would not take pains to send for him for a personal meeting.

“Indeed it is, Sardar. And I want the whole of Aryan habitat to see what it is capable of… and with your help, the world will notice.”

Trikoot glanced at the Gajgaminis. He had only heard of them. For the first time he was witnessing the massive war machines Bramhakush had developed. They were much bigger than what he had heard of them. Strangely, all four of them were pointing towards the river, and beyond. But their mouths were sealed and camouflaged. Even if any one had an eagle eye, Kansar could never know when they would fire.

“I see… looks like a sinister plan already in place. Is it?” Said Trikoot curtly, without removing his eyes from the cannons.

“A plan is as good or bad as the strategist, Sardar. In a dwandwa yudhha (dual fight), one yodhha has to win. It doesn’t matter who is noble and who is sinister. One who wins the dual gets the crown. History only remembers the victorious.” said Mayant, looking in the eyes of Trikoot. “A capable man such as yours is worthy of more than just passing remarks. Imagine, what will it be like to rule the land north of Sattvi. There will be abundance, there will be power and prosperity. No longer will the King of Pindhar wait for the waters to be released from the river. Imagine, Raja Trikoot?”

A wryly smiling Mayant was now towering over Trikoot. Yet, he was unmoved. “My country’s resources are already depleted. For decades we have been surviving on minimum available means. And yet, we have prospered. Every minute I breathe is for the betterment of my country. I cannot compromise the security of my people for personal ambitions.” said Trikoot.

“… and you can’t risk an open war too… Trikoot. Can you?” said Mayant, raising his voice. He turned around and clapped twice. Within a minute, a beautiful maiden came out carrying a large plate in her hand. On the plate was placed a carved silver bottle, possibly containing wine. Tied to the bottle was a beautiful Brami knife. It was supposedly forged in the mines of Bramhakush, to the west of Vishala. Considered to be one of the finest, it was also rumored that the edge of the knife was laced with poison. But Trikoot could not take his eyes of the maiden. She was fair with golden hair and radiating skin, didn’t look aryan at all. The Pindhari sardar, who was used to looking at mountain women, had never seen someone as beautiful as her. Mayant sensed it.

“So sardar… what do you think?”

Trikoot regained his composure. He picked up the knife from the plate and looked at it in admiration.

“If you join hands with me, all three could be yours.” said Mayant pointing towards the maiden.

Trikoot looked at the maiden again and turned to Mayant. “Maharaj Shivchandra knows about all this?”

“Maharaj knows what he must know.” Mayant retorted.

“What do you want from me?” asked Trikoot.

Mayant grabbed Trikoot’s hand hurriedly walked him inside. There was a green colored cloth laid out on a large granite table. He hurled it away and held it against the burning lanterns. As the light percolated, Trikoot could make sense of what it was.

“Oh… this is the map of Kansar?”

Kings Chamber, Kaanchi

“No it is not possible. I don’t believe it.” Raja Namandev was talking to a silhouette figure in his chamber. 

“Nath, I have seen the Pindhari Sardar cross Sattvi this morning. He was making his way towards the Koumudi Bhavan. We must be careful.” said the silhouette.

Bramhakush will not entertain the Pindharis, Namandev thought. Then he turned to speak. “Hmmm, I see. You keep an eye. Although I don’t see any thing alarming yet. But we will be careful.”

“Okay Nath. Jai Kansar” and the figure disappeared in the dark.

… to be continued

5 things Spain should do to avoid defeat

Spain must look to their bench for revival. (c) fifa.com

I know this post will be redundant after tonight. And I’m sure Spanish team management is not going to read my blog OR consider my suggestions even if they read it. But I have a suggestion to Mr. Del Bosque, rather 5 suggestions. Hope they apply their mind and pull off a win today, which looks increasingly difficult with the current situation and Chile’s form

  1. Play with 4-1-2-1-2 formation, or essentially a diamond formation with two up front. Generally Latin American sides play a similar football that allows wingers more space and support for the forwards. Besides, you can have a floating defensive midfielder who will control the passing from behind the half way line. It gives cushion to the back 4 and more options to attack through the flanks
  2. Send Sergio Busquets home. He still thinks he is playing for Barcelona. Instead, if the above formation is adopted, play Alonso at the bottom end of the diamond, Silva and Juan Mata on the wings and Iniesta just behind the front 2. He can be later substituted by Fabregas or Xavi depending on how the match progresses.
  3. Play both Costa and Torres upfront. Spain needs to score goals and quickly. For that matter even Pedro can be considered in place of Torres, given the current form. If Spain scores 2 goals in the first half, they can substitute Costa with Xavi and have a traditional 4-5-1 formation (or 4-2-3-1 option). If they let a goal in, they can substitute Mata with Pedro/Villa and play in 4-2-3-2 formation.
  4. Play Raul Albiol in place of Pique. Pique was horrible in the central defense. Azpilicueta can also be replaced on the right (or was it left?) by Juanfran. Playing Juanfran will give them more option on the wings where he can run down the flanks to support Silva.
  5. Retain Casillas. However we may debate, he is still their best keeper. Da Gea is injured I guess and Pepe Reina has lost place in Liverpool goal since long. So leaving Casillas will be the last thing to do.

Spain are you reading this?

Awesome 3 day fruit diet plan

Image courtesy (c) Filariasis.com

Believe it or not, this 3 day fruit cum salad diet plan has helped me reduce 2 kgs in just 6 days and that too with minimum exercise, sufficient eating and regular routine. Here is how you can follow what I did:

Day 1:

As soon as you wake up, have a full glass of water. It will help you detox a little bit and also quell some overnight hunger. Then have an early breakfast of 1 slice of brown bread/ one chapati without butter. Day 1 is going to be much less on calorie intake. So in case if you are worried of fainting or fear of giving up, you can have a boiled potato without salt or half a glass of milk without sugar.

Light exercise is fine, such as climbing 50 steps or walking for 500 meters. If you exercise, you can have lemon water with a dash of honey after that.

Eat a balanced fruit diet for lunch with sufficient carbs and juices. During my diet, I had 4 bananas and an orange. If possible try to avoid evening snacks. But if you feel tired, you can have an apple or a kiwi or similar fruit that has less fats and is low on sugar.

Have just a small bowl of rice with plain dal (lentils) or curd. Try not to add sugar or salt.

Day 2:

Follow the water routine of Day 1. Instead of a brown bread, have egg white (boiled). You can have 2 or three eggs but try not to stuff yourself.

Do light exercise, such as stretching and brisk walking for 500 meters. If you climbed 50 steps yesterday, push yourself to 100 or at least 75. Instead of lime water, have carrot juice today.

Repeat the lunch the similar to Day 1 and try to avoid evening snacks as much as possible. If you cannot, just have half a glass of milk or a small banana.

Have a boiled egg and 1 brown bread/ plain chapati for dinner.

Day 3:

Repeat the schedule of Day 1 & 2 for Day three but skip eating eggs, potatoes and bananas. You can add tomatoes and cucumber to your diet in order not to dehydrate yourself.

Check you weight on day 4. I reduced 2 and half kgs! And wonder who created this diet plan? ME!   🙂

Some more quetions for Shri Shri

Blocking questions? image (c) ibnlive

Shri Shri, you have very well answered my previous questions. Thank you so much. But the latest closely fought cum abjectly surrendered cum ‘could have easily won’ test match debacle has prompted me to ask you few more questions. Are you going to answer them? No? No problem… the answers are obvious anyway. (PS: Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you about your relations with Meiyyappan or Srini or about your real estate investments or the sports management firm you own or even about your wife’s latest darkest shade of lipstick… oops!)

Q1: What did you tell the team before the start of the second innings that you didn’t when the test match started?

This is quite simple. You might have hurled the choicest of abuses at the team with help from Arsene Wenger (BPL leaders Arsenal lost 1-5 to historic rivals Liverpool last Saturday) or from Sir Alex Ferguson (ManU had lost 1-6 to their horrible neighbors Man City few years ago… at home). A just thing to do, Shri Shri. But the question is, why didn’t you do it earlier? We lost 0-3 to SAFs in the ODIs, then drew a test match we should have won, then lost a test match we should have drawn, then lost the ODI series to NZ 0-4. I must appreciate your patience. For you now have the dubious distinction of being the captain of a team white washed when they were no. 1 in both tests and ODIs.

Or may be you didn’t say anything at all. And the bowlers received an sms that they will get a night out with the Hollywood actress of their choice if they bundle out NZ for a less than 100. But poor lads were denied that luxury by Wagner and Boult, who both will be summoned by ICC for breach of bulls*** conduct, come July. You know why.

Q2: What makes you think Zaheer Khan is a better batsman than you?

He is not, right? Then why on earth were you rotating strikes? When Zaheer came in, we needed another 80 runs. It was a cake walk for you. You could have conserved him and then tried to score in bulk. NZ was not threatening with the ball. But instead, you were seen taking singles on the first ball and Zaheer was trying his favorite cow corner slaps.

Wait a minute, did you think Zaheer could score a half century the way he did against Zimbabwe an era ago and blasted Henry Olonga for 4 consecutive sixes? Boy!

Q3: Is it that Kohli and Jadeja never listen to you or you do not bother how they get out?

Option 1: Kohli listens but Jadeja doesn’t. It was a bad day for Kohli and as usual day for Jadeja. Hmmm, then we must sack him?

Option 2: Both don’t listen. Then what the hell are you doing? Why don’t you try your famous helicopter shot on them?

Option 3: Both listen and both forget what I tell them. – (Smiley) (Smiley) (Smiley) (Smiley)

Option 4: I care a damn! Well then, nothing needs to be said

PS: Post is just for gags!

Q & A with Shri Shri Mahendrasinghji Dhoniji

Image

(c) Santabanta.com

So, after a tete a tete with Mr. Kejriwal, here is my another tete a tete with Mahi. As always, I’m a common man and he is not. So he is not going to answer my questions. Then who is going to answer my questions? Will you tell this to me or should I tell you? I will… so read on!

Q1: Shri Shri, what is the reason for India’s abject failure on overseas tours, particularly under you?

Possibly the answer is, he doesn’t know. Mahi himself has played very well in the last couple of series. But for some reason we have always faltered. We abysmally lost in England. Didn’t learn anything, lost in Australia again. Then played mostly at home, saw Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman retire, played no overseas tour until the recent ‘shorter than T20 match’ test series in SA and lost it as well. So I have no reason to believe that Dhoni knows how to win overseas. Yes his predecessors also didnt win a series. But some have done well than him. And if he is rated the best ever Indian captain, which he is, he should have known the answer. So does the problie in team selection? Lets find out

Q2: Why have you persisted with the likes of Rohit, Ishant and Suresh Raina for that long?

Very difficult one for Mahi. Rohit is a great talent, time and again Raina has finished games for CSK and Ishant looks like a menacing fast bowler. But they all have been consistently inconsistent. Rohit has mostly failed when it mattered and Ishant has mostly not taken wickets when he should have (save today’s performance). But a question Mahi might ask us. If not them then who? At least as of now I cant see any one else we can play in place of Rohit. Ranji has produced some new contenders. But the irony is, top run getters in Ranji change every year. So the lack of consistency starts from there. Besides if we go by Ranji record alone, Rohit was a phenomenal player. As for Ishant, I think the think tank at office has messed up royally. He was indeed a menacing bowler. But time wore him down. He is slowly going the same tunnel where the likes of Munaf and Irfan Pathan have traveled. Classic case of talent mismanagement. May be Mahi thinks he can stem the rot. Otherwise the replacements and peers of Ishant (Shami, Bhuvi, Yadav, Aaron, Pandey) will follow the same route. 

Q3: You have mastered the art of pacing the innings. Why do you think every one can do it?

As much as Dhoni criticizes the team in public, the culture the team is getting into is the same that he himself follows. Dhoni is lazy when he comes to bat, takes time to settle and then hammers every bowler. He is able to do it. But what about others? Shikhar Dhawan never knows what is right. Should he let the ball go or put the bat in the way. We have lost 2 ODI series back to back without registering even 1 win due to poor death bowling and lack of mindset by the opening bowlers. If not captain, who else will guide them?

Q4: What makes you think we are the best fielding side?

Obviously we are not, and you know it. But when the players of national level stop following basics, it hurts. Mahi himself was an average keeper when he came on the international scene. But he was a better batsman than his rival (DK) and he proved his worth eventually. When he started playing, we had the best slip fielders in Dravid and Laxman who were followed by Ganguly, Tendulkar and Sehwag. Even Kumble has fielded in slips. Number of catches these guys have collectively dropped in the whole career is probably lesser than number of catches current team dropped in SA and NZ. It has cost us matches. And I’m sure Dhoni is worried about them as a captain. Slip fielding is more like wicket keeping without gloves. It needs a patient mindset and the eye on the ball… always. I remember Mongia used to help the slip fielders. Isn’t Dhoni telling them how to hold on to catches the way he does? 

Q5: Do you think you can turn this team around?

Obviously he thinks he can. I have a doubt, though. He has the best talent at his disposal. They all, as individual players, are menacing. As an opposition, I’d have been fearing for my life to bowl at Dhawan, Rohit, Kohli and Pujara. But it is not happening. I see the reason in the way Dhoni manages the team. He is consistent in his own performance because he is methodical. But at times, especially in sports, one needs to be passionate. I always remember Tendulkar’s assault on Warne as the classic example of passion followed by Laxman’s 281 & Dravid’ 180 at Kolkata & Galguly’s 144 on a bouncy Gabba. We have to win not because we are superior on paper. But because we believe we can ans must win. Australia’s recent turn around is a classic example. They had an inconsistent lineup with misfiring seniors (Warner, Watson, Johnson), inexperienced fringe players (Bailey, Smith, Rodgers) and not-so-potent individuals (Siddle, Harris, Lyon). They were led by a mild mannered leader who wasn’t able to unite the team only 2 series ago. But they fought. And boy, how! Can we do it? We did it once under Dhoni (T20 world cup 2007). Can we do it again?

Yes!

Q&A with Arvind Kejriwal

(c) Firstpost

Looking for answers Arvindbhai? (c) Firstpost for image

So you came here thinking I’d have conducted an interview with Arvind Kejriwal? Sadly, no. I’m a common man… as of now. And he is no longer a common man. Yeah, he is not. At least not now, while he heads the Delhi Govt. He has been making all sorts of promises, patting his back, stabbing others and throwing mud at every one. But is he really THE man India is looking for? Lets find out. I will ask a question I want to ask to Arvind Kejriwal and try to be as logical as possible in my analysis. If I’m biased, you may stop reading and go else where to some other paid media.

Q1: Why did Arvind Kejriwal for a political party?

In the annals of political history, great parties and great leaders have taken birth out of a mass outcry or a nation wide movement against gross atrocities. Some leaders such as JP, Vajpayee, Advani are an examples of it. So Kejriwal forming a party of common men was not out of place. He was challenged time and again to step into the system and change it. He sort of volunteered. What beats me though it his constant denial of the fact that he never had (or has) political ambitions. He always wanted to change the system and remove corruption. Every one knows if one wants to clean the sewerage, he must get in and get his hands dirty. Thats how it happens. But when a person who has got in starts throwing filth at onlookers… there is when the problems start

Q2: When you say you want to end the congress rule and establish good governance in the system, why do you oppose Narendra Modi and the BJP?

Beats me again. No doubt congress is corrupt till the last vein. He has happily and strongly put congress out of power in Delhi. Every one knows they have no chance at the center. Besides BJP and Narendra Modi haven’t had a chance to for central government. When Vajpayee was prime minister for 5 years about a decade ago, hardly any corruption charges surfaced. So we can safely assume that they were the less corrupt and better at governance (if not fully honest). They also have the strength and experience to form a stable central government. Why then oppose the BJP? Besides Narendra Modi is widely recognized as a progressive leader. Never has any corruption charges leveled against him or his ministers in Guj. Even the SIT and courts gave him a clean chit in the 2002 riots case. How then is he your enemy number 1? Pl acknowledge the fact that AAP is neither strong nor intelligent enough to lead the nation as of now. But in 5 years, may be. Let the right people do their job.

Q3: You targeted Robert Vadra for a paltry land row but targeted Nitin Gadkari, then national president of BJP for supposed irregularities in his business (Not politics)

It was equally surprising. Robert Vadra got the benefit from Haryana Govt. So they were at fault and not entirely Vadra. Beside he is an unimportant person even in the Gandhi family, let alone Congress. Then why target him and not some one more important such as Shiela Dixit or Suresh Kalmadi or Diggy? But you chose to target the national president of BJP. The irregularities that you pointed out were, though dubious, but within the system. No one got arrested but led to lot of face loss and the party post of Nitin Gadkari. After that you never targeted any one. Why so? Congress’s ally in Maha, the NCP is THE MOST CORRUPT in the world. But never every you have dared to act against them. You have never even mentioned the proven conman Sharad Pawar in the list of corrupt. Can I ask why?

Q4: You have not even proven yourself in Delhi and you are already gunning for Loksabha elections?

One of the reasons could be because of AAPs popularity around the country. After they won good number of seats in Delhi, they got many more registrations across the country. It is though being said that most of the people who have applied have asked for a ticket looking at what kind of people were fielded in Delhi. But with growing popularity, AAP has become conscious. But again, though you are growing in numbers, the sanctity has not been proved. Thats the reason why people like Somnath Bharti, Yogendra Yadav, Kumar Vishwas and Anjali Damania are getting unnecessary exposure. But they are not good enough. They are not even close to being good. Dont you think it will be good to build a party first and then try? This way, people who may vote for an honest Arvind Kejriwal will have to content with opportunist leaders who are no good.

Q5: Are you going to get out of the protest mode?

CM protesting outside rail bhavan instantly made news. But the reason for protest was so down rightly stupid that it made heavy weather of the proven and test method Arvind Kejriwal has introduced. Or should I say reintroduced? Mahatma Gandhi gave us a peaceful way of non-cooperation. That led to out freedom. But look what happened after that. non-cooperation took form of strikes. Now every now and then some one holds the city/country at ransom for a paltry demand. If the chief minister is going to sit on a dharna every now and then, what is the general public supposed to do? I must say it here that leaders dont whimper. They take up the task in hand, find a solution and do it. It is time you understood this.

Q6: Is your sole purpose to stop Narendra Modi from becoming a prime minister?

Could be. The way you said BJP is your main enemy makes me feel this is true. Because I dont see any reason why Congress is tolerating your non-sense. To prove this, let me take you to Andhra Pradesh of 2008. After going to public and collecting their opinions for 6 months, south’s most popular actor Chiranjeevi decides to float a party. Why? Only holy Balaji knows. He declares a manifesto in which he counters most of Telagu Desam Party’s promises. TDP and Chandra Babu Naidu were the strong challengers to the incumbent congress government. TDP is also widely regarded for making Hyderabad what it is today. Chiranjeevi also advocated a unified Andhra in a bid to woo voters. In many of his speeches, he promises that if he comes to power, he will end the rampant corruption by the YSR government. Most of his promises were populist measures. He obviously did not win too many seats to form a government. But he did manage to massively split the Congress-TDP votes, mostly urban. And then what happened? Congress formed the government with help from Chiranjeevi’s MLAs. Rampant corruption by YSR be damned. Further in 2011, 2 and half years after floating the party, Chiranjeevi suddenly has a change of heart and merges his party with the Congress, citing good governance by Congress (and possibly death of YSR).

Notably, TDP is a part of BJP led NDA. And do you know the name of the party Chiranjeevi’s party? Praja Rajyam or the rule of the people. Aam Aadmi? Rings any bell? May be all of it is not true. But till date, the AAP story is starkly similar to Praja Rajyam. I hope this is not true and I’ll be sincerely happy if Arvind Kejriwal becomes our man friday. But for now, my vote still goes to Narendra Modi!