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2005: A heart transplant

Agra, July 16, 2001: On the breakfast table ' Kashmir, Kashmir, Kashmir'.

New Delhi, April 17, 2005: Kashmir, Kashmir' ahem, Bollywood.

The general staged a sequel to the Agra breakfast blockbuster today in the capital, but missing in action was the shoot-from-the-hip cockiness many Indians found difficult to digest four years ago.

'I have come with a new heart,' Pervez Musharraf declared to a battery of editors this morning, also over breakfast.

If Musharraf spotted a flash of disbelief in the faces before him ' many of them had been left speechless by his performance in Agra ' he pulled out a weapon few would expect in a general's arsenal.

'I beg to differ. Phir wohi dil nahi laya hoon (I have not come with the same heart). I would like to say main naya dil laya hoon (I have come with a new heart).'

The reference was to a television news channel's headline, 'Phir wohi dil laya hoon', a take-off on the title of a hit Hindi movie of the sixties.

The choice of the movie could not have been lost on the Kashmir crusader. The theme of the 1963 blockbuster was the reunion of two childhood friends ' Asha Parekh and Joy Mukherjee ' in where else but Kashmir.

Who would have reminded him of that movie' Maybe Rani Mukherjee, whom he met at the Prime Minister's dinner on Saturday and who is Joy Mukherjee's niece. Rani's Veer-Zaara, about a cross-border love affair, has created waves in Pakistan.

So mellow was Musharraf today ' despite his irresistible urge to indulge in verbal tit-for-tat ' that he took pains to contrast Agra with Delhi.

'It was acrimony, it was hatred. We were angry at each other. We were killing each other. There were tensions.'

And in Delhi' 'Now, there is friendship, there is harmony. We are talking peace. We are not angry. We are very happy. So it is totally different.'

This was a far cry from 2001 when the general, who had just elevated himself as chief executive, fired fusillade after fusillade on Kashmir.

So, does Pervez Musharraf indeed have a new heart' Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was non-committal. 'I am not an astrologer. I am not good at reading hearts.'

Pressed on what he has done to change Musharraf's heart, the Prime Minister had the last word: 'I was not at Agra.'

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