Asif Zardari should star in the sequel of this season's big Bollywood hit, Bachna Ae Haseeno. He has always fancied himself as the ultimate lady killer... and look at how he behaved when he met the luscious Sarah Palin in New York. Unable to contain his schoolboyish yearnings for attractive ladies clad in shimmering hipsters, Zardari's tongue was virtually hanging out as he gushed, "You are even more gorgeous..." as incredulous presswallahs froze the moment on camera. It didn't end there. The smitten man went on to say, "Now, I know why the whole of America is crazy about you." Oh! Just then an aide asked them to shake hands for a photo-op. Zardari stopped short of pouncing on Palin, warning ominously, "I might hug...." Phew! That was a close call. Imagine the international reverberations of such a clinch! Back home in India, such a video clip might have eclipsed the infamous Rakhi Sawant-Mika kiss in terms of the number of hits generated. Zardari is irrepressible... we know that. But in Palin's presence, he was almost uncontrollable. That is known as the Palin Effect. Right now, America is reeling from it. For better or worse, the 44-year-old mother of five has injected some much-needed pep into the presidential campaign. Oomph is good. Voters respond to oomph, even if they pretend to hate it. It is silly to deconstruct or intellectualise the oomph factor in any case. Palin has it, she flaunts it. Zardari was out there with his mushy feelings. He drooled! While Zardari swooned, Manmohan Singh blushed. And mumbled some niceties that were entirely kosher in content. How boring! Palin turned out to be McCain's secret weapon. He caught the world (and America) off-guard when he nominated Palin as his running mate. Jaws dropped at the unexpectedness of that move. Palin sashayed onto centrestage with the ease of a beauty queen (which she once was). She was savaged by critics (can anyone forget Obama's jibe about lipstick on a pig?) who tore into her lack of experience in matters that went beyond shooting moose in her native Alaska. Her world view was mocked (Palin only got a passport last year), and it didn't help matters that Palin's teenage daughter got pregnant. Since those awkward early days when Americans refused to look beyond her trendy 'peep toe' sandals, or comment on her stylish glasses, Palin has surprised voters by her bluster, if nothing else. Her current favourite word is 'exceptional'. Palin finds everything 'exceptional', when it comes to America and Americans. Suddenly her worst critics are beginning to say, maybe she has found the key. The lost key to millions of hearts. Americans need to feel 'exceptional' now more than ever before. It is a demoralised nation reeling under the spectre of an economic depression. Regardless of what American spin doctors are saying, the psychological damage done to the collective identity is there for all to see. Americans are feeling vulnerable. They need a booster shot. And that shot comes neatly packaged as Palin, the Wonder Woman in spandex, who is busy selling America to the Americans with her limited vocabulary that repeats just one magic word over and over again - exceptional. Well, we could do with some heavy duty ego bolstering in India. We also need to feel 'exceptional'. America has gone from being Masters of the Universe to Whipped Dogs of the World. We are still stuck in the same depressing groove. Singh is King to his ardent supporters. Even if he does pull off the big one and flies home with the nuclear treaty in the bag, there are countless other issues (no, i'm not referring to Rahul G's hunt for a suitable girl) waiting to be resolved. Narendra Modi has just been given a clean chit by the Nanavati Commission. With the festival season starting tonight, terror threats assume additional significance. Exceptional times need exceptional people. Where are they? If Palin's basic message manages to convince Americans about themselves, she will prove to the world that pigs do wear lipstick... and kick ass, too. India needs a Palin!