Heads of our soldiers are being cut but we are feeding their prime minister chicken biryani. This country is ruled by weak leaders,” Narendra Modi speech in May 2013.

“Mr Prime Minister — No dialogue over dead bodies. Please cancel your meeting with Nawaz Sharif,” Sushma Swaraj tweet in September 2013.

If the first week of a year determines the next 365 days, then the Narendra Modi government is facing its biggest test yet in 2016. The terror attack in Pathankot air base and the spooking of the markets after the China downslide are stark reality checks for a prime minister, who has been in almost perpetual campaign mode since his famous victory in the 2014 general elections. Then, be it getting emotional with Mark Zuckerberg or his routine Mann ki Baat broadcasts, there hasn’t been a moment when Modi has pressed the pause button to reflect and introspect.

I suddenly felt 'old' this morning when at 5 am I got an sms saying Murli Deora had passed away. Murlibhai was the first politician I became a 'friend' of: you could not but be a friend of the ever smiling Mumbai Congressman if you were a journalist in Mumbai 1980s. Murlibhai, who was then the city Congress chief, knew just about everyone in the city: he had friends and 'contacts' across party and ideological lines.

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