Love across the Salt Desert, re-imagined

For Julia.

Love across the Salt Desert, re-imagined

Sharif and Modi shook hands in Ufa,
did they later use a loofah
to scrub the stage clean
for the NSAs to then preen?

Aziz said Kashmir, Swaraj said terror
Aziz said Hurriyat, Swaraj said NEVER.

this was not meant to be.
Like two angsty young lovers,
they did not see
how useful
a heart-to-heart could be.

But all was not lost
and open were some doors,
for the Rangers and BSF met
and so did the DGMOs.

They agreed to be clearer
on issues such as terror,
after every naughty interlude
of erring on the wrong side of error,
where ceasefire violations
were the standard-bearer.

Star-crossed lovers
at the Waldorf Astoria,
only managed small waves
despite their secret euphoria,
which the foreign ministry later denied
as phantasmagoria.

In chilly November, Nawaz and Modi attended
a summit, in the city of love,
where they could have hardly pretended;
who knew then
that a good guftagu was intended.

Suddenly, like ice-breakers,
emerged Doval and Janjua.
Humein lagta hai
kuch kuch hua.

Then came Islamabad
in Sushmaji’s travelogue,
this time with Aziz,
they agreed on a dialogue.

What’s in a name?
Composite, Resumed, Comprehensive;
isn’t it really more of the same?
Truly, this is all just beginning to sound
really lame.

Right then.
Can they hurry up already, we simper,
and if they have to go back to square one,
let it be
“not with a bang but with a whimper.”

Ruhee Neog and Tanvi Kulkarni


Image: Ajay Aggarwal-Hindustan Times, Flickr

Posted in , Culture, India, India-Pakistan Relations, Pakistan

Ruhee Neog

Ruhee Neog is the Director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) in New Delhi, India and the coordinator of its Nuclear Security Program. Her research focuses on the nuclear weapons politics of India, Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea. Prior to IPCS, Ruhee worked as a political and parliamentary monitor at the House of Commons and the House of Lords, UK, and with the Labour party, UK. She holds an MA in History of International Relations from the London School of Economics, and a BA in Literature in English from St. Stephen's College, New Delhi. She was an SAV Visiting Fellow in July 2017.

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Tanvi Kulkarni

Tanvi Kulkarni teaches Defence and Strategic Studies at the Savitribai Phule Pune University in India. She has a PhD in Diplomacy and Disarmament Studies from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her thesis examines why states in a nuclear dyad negotiate nuclear confidence-building measures (NCBMs). Tanvi completed her M.Phil in Diplomacy and Disarmament in August 2014, and for her dissertation, she worked on tracing the evolution of the ideas of Credible Minimum Deterrence and No First Use in India's nuclear doctrine and policy. She researches and writes on nuclear politics, national security, and strategic issues. She was a South Asian Voices Visiting Fellow in 2015. Tanvi has previously worked with the the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi and the Chaophraya Track II Dialogue.

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6 thoughts on “Love across the Salt Desert, re-imagined

  1. This is simply brilliant, Ruhee and Tanvi. A great farewell note for Julia. Wishing her well in all her future endeavors.

  2. Wonderfully written Ruhee and Tanvi! Never imagined how simple rhyme schemes could do such wonders to diplomacy. Looking forward to more such pieces.

  3. “Think left and think right
    and think low and think high.
    Oh, the thinks you can think up
    if only you try!”

    Thoroughly amused by this piece. Has such a Dr. Seuss feel to it. Nicely done, ladies.

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