In The Picture of Dorian Gray, the titular character continues to look young and handsome throughout his life because all the ugliness that is inside him is transferred to a magical painting in his attic that rots on his behalf. Similarly, though Manmohan Singh is very polite and deferential in real life, his journals tell a different story. They let us know what he’s really thinking, instead of the genteel version he shares publicly. We bring you this exclusive exposé thanks to a generous leak from our friends in the Kremlin and the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The following are some recent extracts.

January 20

The world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket. The American people, in their infinite wisdom, have deemed it okay to let a third grade conman lead their country for the next four years. When you look at him and his cabinet, it feels like that moment in a superhero movie when the super-villain wins an election and appoints other minor villains to positions of power. The last time I saw so many blatantly corrupt people in a single family I was having lunch at my friend M Karunanidhi’s house. To explain the new American government in desi terms, imagine if Arindam Chaudhuri was prime minister, Subramanian Swamy was his deputy and the finance ministry was led by Vijay Mallya.

January 21

Just saw Arun Jaitley campaigning in Amritsar. Which is a good sign! Who else knows more about winning campaigns in that city than a guy who lost a safe seat in a wave election to a guy who didn’t even want to be there? The fact that he lost the election after years of accusing me of never being able to win one was just the icing on the cake.

My belief in karma has been restored after seeing that Jaitley ended up doing the exact same things he used to accuse me of. At least I had some independence when it came to setting the policies of the government. Arun is basically a gofer whose only purpose of existence is to take the blame for every misstep of the central government so that his insecure boss can keep pretending to be above the fray.

February 2

The other day I was at a book release function and two boys came to take a selfie with me. I didn’t realise who they were until they both opened their mouths and asked me what I thought about their election strategy in Uttar Pradesh. I told Rahul and Akhilesh to keep doing what they’re doing. Why do they need me when they have the brilliant Prashant Kishor? The same guy who thought Sheila Dikshit was a great candidate for Uttar Pradesh chief minister. What was she going to do? Build a flyover over all the criminal activity in the state? Make all the schools serve chamomile tea after lunch to calm everyone down? Bring people together with strongly-worded speeches?

What advice do I give to a person who rode my coattails in the 2009 Lok Sabha election and took all the credit? He is riding along with Akhilesh for this one so let’s see where this goes. At least he doesn’t have me to use as an excuse now. Thank god for small mercies!

February 9

Yesterday, something funny and unusual happened in the Rajya Sabha. First, my successor showed up in Parliament. That is a rare event in itself. Halley’s comet shows up with more frequency! Then, in his speech, he made a joke about me. Scratch that. I should say he tried to make a joke. I’ve read WhatsApp forwards that were much funnier.

But I was really amused when my party colleagues in the Rajya Sabha got up and tried walking out of the House. It was hilarious watching them try very hard to gin up some outrage at my so-called insult. Really, that offends you? Not the constant undermining of my prime ministerial authority during my two terms in office? Okay, then. Whatever.

Sure, I might have presided over one of the largest corrupt governments in the history of the country, but that’s not my fault. Every government is the “most corrupt government in the country’s history”. It’s the nature of time! In the 90s the times were frugal and you could buy a minister’s loyalty for a few crores of rupees. But in the aughts, as the economy expanded so did the demands of my cabinet colleagues. Can’t wait for the next Congress government to come to power so that people start calling my government the second-most corrupt government in the history of the country.

Mr Modi, whatever my faults, at least I don’t need to have one of my minions manipulate the house proceedings in such a way that I don’t have to hear even a second of criticism. At least I still posses the ability and self-confidence to sit there and take whatever is thrown at me, unlike some successors of mine.

At least I didn’t voluntarily throw a spanner in a thriving economy and reverse its growth. At least I didn’t destroy the rural market or bankrupt farmers or force people to use the barter system to fulfil their essential needs. Seriously. I’m getting heat from the guy who forced millions of people back into a system last used before the invention of money? Cool story, bro.

The demonetisation fiasco has made people nostalgic for me. Even some of my most stringent critics are full of praise for me since November. It’s like a Manmohan Singh renaissance. People come up to me everyday to say nice things about my time in office.

Which is quite irritating. Oh, now you miss me? Now that Modi’s taken all your money that he’ll probably waste away in some dumb scheme with a terrible acronym, it has belatedly dawned on you that maybe having a person with a deep knowledge about the country’s economy wasn’t such a bad idea? Well, tough noogies, children. Good luck with all that.

How do you like me now, huh?