The French Cancan


NDTV, Rio de Janeiro

So, there we were, waiting for the French President to address the media. Big deal, you may think, at a summit where there are over a hundred heads of state, how does it matter if the French President is coming?

But it was a big deal of sorts, since very few heads of state actually choose to come and interact with the press, many prefer to use the electronic interface of the webcast: so even though they are sitting in a big hall not too far away, we cannot ask them questions. (smart, some would say, "security concerns" makes for such a perfect excuse to avoid the uncomfortable!)

I stumbled upon the press conference, as it was the only room with some room to sit. Journalists were all over the place at the summit. (even occupying the floor after all terminals were taken)

And it wasn't just me who stumbled. The lady who was to respectfully apologise for the delay in the arrival of the President, ended up saying sorry for the delay of french President Nicholas Sarkozy! She might as well have stumbled off the stage!

Never mind the faux pas, French President Francois Hollande did arrive and that too over 45 minutes late. And since I hadnt carried a translation machine, here was the perfect chance to polish my French or flaunt it.

So I happily gloated as I understood the dimensions of his speech: the insufficiency of finance, and of innovation for poverty eradication, the sobreity of consumption, and though there was disappointment, the need to have hope in the time of crisis. So far so good, right? Perhaps not. I was so pleased with myself that I could make sense of what he was saying that I hadn't made any notes at all. All I had was bullet points with heavy french terms that couldn't have made a coherent copy.

So moral of the story, don't wait for figuring out the coup d'etat, be happy with the merci and s'il vous plait, when the time comes.

By the way, Francois Hollande left in just 15 minutes, I waited three times that for him to show up. And if you are interested in what he said, pick up a copy of Le Monde or Le Figaro. I can help you with the translation. :)