As always, it is left to me to look for meanings where none exists. Anyone can find meanings where they exist. The real talent is to find them where they don’t. (Some people might call it delusion but that’s that).
Watching the official 12 minutes and 48 seconds long video of U.S. President Barack Obama and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif joint statement to the media yesterday, I was struck by a couple of things. The only time there was some levity was when President Obama reminisced about his visit to Pakistan in 1980. Obama said in college he had two Pakistani roommates whose mothers taught him how to cook daal and keema. The reference to daal and keema animated Sharif instantly as he laughed.(See the picture below).
Then after Sharif concluded his part of the statement he said that when Obama visits Pakistan again keema and dal will be waiting for him. That brought about a wide grin on the president’s face. (See the second picture) It is amazing how food and conversation about it can lighten up any discourse. Of course, I could not help but notice that Sharif subtly changed the order to keema and dal, thereby signaling a difference of opinion between the two. (I told you I was looking for meanings where none existed).
All diplomatic engagements should be built around basic human needs such as food and sex with larger, more intractable issues thrown in between. No one has experimented with it but I am fairly certain such an approach would produce more positive results.
I suspect it might be easier for Sharif to convince Obama to stop the drone attacks on Pakistan by ensuring a steady supply of daal and keema to the White House. Someone in Pakistan’s diplomatic establishment should have recognized that all the fury that Obama feels towards their country is caused by not having had proper daal and keema since 1980. It has been 33 years and someone should have been more sympathetic towards the president’s appetite. Let’s call it daal and keema therapy.