Correspondents on the petroleum beat were stumped when they ventured to cover the visit of the Iranian Foreign Minister, Manoucheha Mottaki, late last week. After the meeting with the Petroleum Minister on gas pricing, Mottaki and his delegation proceeded towards the conference room with the journalists following closely.

At one point, the Minister turned towards them and out of the blue said "

k

ya haal hai"

in chaste Hindi. The diction was so clear that quite a few media jaws dropped as they looked around to find out who spoke to them. It seems Mottaki had spent considerable time in Bangalore as a student and still retains his knowledge of spoken Hindi that he had picked up then.

Our Delhi Bureau

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 24, 2006)
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