Why I profusely apologised to Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh was coming to town and I had planned to meet him. Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao had done something out of the box. He had appointed Manmohan Singh who was not a politician as finance minister. PV became prime minister in the aftermath of the death of Rajiv Gandhi. Considering that Manmohan Singh had a chequered career as as economist, even having served as RBI Governor and advisor, economic affairs, to Prime Minister V P Singh, Narasimha Rao decided Manmohan Singh would be the right candidate. He had also served as RBI Governor. 

Manmohan Singh was coming down to Hyderabad for a visit to attend a closed-door official meeting. But before he got down to business in the city and would become unreachable, I kept track of his arrival from Delhi to Hyderabad. Like all VVIPS, he would stay in the Lake View Guest House. I confirmed it with the staff. The regular flight at Begumpet airport would have landed, I presumed and called up the guest house. "He has not come in as yet," the staff told me. Within a gap of five to 10 minutes, I called again. "He has not arrived," was the response. I decided I should have a word with Manmohan Singh on the phone first and then rush to meet him wherever he would give me time that day. "But the flight has already arrived. Has he still not come in?" I questioned the Lake View Guest House staff after having checked with the airport. The Lake View Guest house staff were polite. "Sir if the flight has come, he should arrive in here any moment. I will certainly put you through to him," a voice at the other end said as I called once again. 

Within just a few minutes, I called up yet again. The person who took my call at the Lake View Guest House slammed down the phone. How could they do that to me? For the last one hour, I was trying to speak to the finance minister and just at the right time, the guest house staff hung up the phone on me. They had recognised my voice. This behaviour was completely unacceptable to me. I called up again immediately. I was furious and I wanted to show my anger and displeasure in my voice itself. If all the while I had spoke in a friendly and informal manner, this time I decided to be firm and if that was being harsh, I decided to sound as harsh as I could.
This time there was no 'hello'. I decided there would be no niceties. How could they have hung up on me the previous time? 
With a voice that meant business, and the tone harsh and bordering on the impolite, when the guest house staff picked up the phone again, I said: "Put me to Manmohan Singh." 

“May I know who is speaking?" the voice at the other end asked. This time, I was even more annoyed. 
It was as if I was calling up for the very first time and they did not recognise my voice. I refused to identify myself again. 
"Put me to Manmohan Singh. Just do what I say," I said bluntly. "But can I know who is speaking?" the voice at the other end requested. "Just put me to Manmohan Singh," I demanded. "This is Manmohan Singh. Can I know who is speaking?" was the response from the other end.
Polite in his speech, Manmohan Singh did not lose his cool despite my harsh tone. But I hardly expected him to pick up the call. It was supposed to land at the reception and then they would have had to connect me to his room. 
Since I had called again, the staff had recognised my voice and had directly put me through to Manmohan Singh's room after he arrived. The call had got disconnected. When I called up again, they had done the same thing, putting me through to Manmohan Singh directly.
I was apologetic to Manmohan Singh for the way I had spoken to him. There was no time to explain the whole story to him but when I requested for time to meet him for an interview for the newspaper, he informed that he was to leave by the first available flight back to Delhi after a meeting in Hyderabad. "We can meet the next time I come to Hyderabad," he said.
Never got to meet him again as finance minister but as Prime Minister of India, I covered a few functions which he attended in Hyderabad. But I will carry my guilt of having spoken rudely to him. 

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