In a nearly 45-minute long speech on New Year’s Eve, Prime Minister Narendra Modi waxed eloquent about the virtuous conduct of ordinary citizens who had borne the pain of demonetisation with fortitude.
Not once in the speech, though, did he use the word that has become his signature address to fellow Indians: ‘Mitron’, recently mocked as the world’s shortest horror story, when news first broke that Modi was to make a new year’s eve speech.
Modi’s use of the term, which means friends in Hindi, has prompted much humour in the past. A satirical piece reported that the PM had been chosen for the Nobel Prize for Physics for the discovery. “Narendra Modi has been credited with discovering ‘Mitron’, which has been deemed as the fourth sub-atomic particle after Proton, Electron, and Neutron,” it said.
In fact, ahead of his much anticipated speech, many were hoping to cash in on his favoured word. A chain of pubs in Delhi had come up with an offer where customers would get a pint of beer or a shot of liquor at discounted rates for every time Modi used the word. A mobile payment company was offering free recharges on similar lines.
Like the poor in Allahabad who were expecting Modi to announce that the government will transfer Rs 50,000 to their bank accounts, or the middle class that was expecting tax rebates, those who were looking forward to a free drink or a mobile recharge were disappointed as Modi used sathiyon, dosto (friends), and deshvashiyon (people of the country) instead of mitron.
But Twitter managed to have a good laugh.