OUT OF MY HEAD
(Published in Bengal Post,23rd Nov 2010)
Landed in Mumbai and boy, was it hot! Was greeted by a gangsta dude wearing dark glasses – it was Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan. Briefly wondered if wearing dark glasses is against protocol but charitably dismissed it. Remembered that Secret Service fellas had discreetly informed me that the dude was accused of pinching apartments from war widows and would be axed soon after I left – he’d probably spent the entire night diluting his glass of Bourbon with tears. Nonetheless, checked back pocket after we got into the chopper for the Taj. My wallet was still there, whew.
Made pretty speech at the Taj to survivors of the 26/11 terrorist attack – it was so moving I felt tears rush to my eyes but brushed them away in case vision got blurred and I couldn’t read the teleprompter. Was warmly applauded.
Visited Mani Bhavan, my idol’s (Mahatama Gandhi’s) former house. Deeply impressed everyone by not mispronouncing Gandhi as Ghandy.
Made pretty speech to win business for America at Trident hotel. Was applauded a little less warmly.
Elation faded when saw self on TV later that night. Indian news channels were attacking me like a pack of savage wolves for not calling Pakistan a terrorist state. Particularly a chap called something like Doorknob. Have they absolutely no idea of US foreign policy or are they shockingly naive?
Spent the morning with children. First went to a school in Colaba and was treated to a cultural program by the students. Got the fidgets after 2nd song and dance - jaws were also aching from bestowing wide smiles of appreciation. Fortunately this was not as long as Bollywood films. Michelle got the fidgets too and leapt up to dance – she’s still got it!
I was dragged to floor and gamely imitated their moves. Heard kids snigger behind my back. They said something like, “Pappu can’t dance saala”. Poor Pappu, whoever he is.
Met Mumbai University students at St. Xavier’s College. It was so hot, had to take off jacket. Wished I could take off shirt as well. Now I know why male Bollywood stars frequently bare their chests. Michelle wowed them first with her usual heart-warming spiel on her humble beginnings and then I was introduced. Made pretty speech and then took questions. Was thrown. Must warn America yet again that Indian kids are v. smart – more forcefully this time. Had to skirt question on Pakistan of course, and was made to pay for it. Indian News channels started attacking me viciously again, particularly Doorknob. He’s started pouting as well, quite like Marilyn Monroe.
Boarded Air Force One for Delhi. Looked forward to meeting my buddy Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Hoped I wouldn’t meet a fella called Suresh Kalmadi who referred to Prince Charles’ current wife Camilla as Princess Diana. He’s quite capable of addressing me as President Osama.
Was warmly greeted by the Prime Minister and his wife. All four of us exchanged hugs and kisses. On the way to Humayun’s tomb, Secret Service hissed that we made a big faux pas. Effigies of Richard Gere were burnt because he planted a chaste kiss on the cheeks of some Bollywood starlet a few years ago. Ooops!
Indian News Channels still maligning me. Thought I’d escaped from the battering at home, but I get even worse treatment here! Nobody loves me! Must give India something to make those news hounds shut up.
Had lots of important meetings today. Shook so many hands I fear that my shoulder may be dislocated.
Met a v. strange lady called Sushma Swaraj from the BJP. She sternly and repeatedly told me that the BJP had initiated friendship with the US first. That is the only thing she had to say.
Grand finale: my address to both houses of parliament. Over 50% of the politicians present looked like thugs – wouldn’t ever want to meet them in dark alleys. Made v. pretty speech about India, threw in lots of Indian words and gave them a grand present that cost me nothing: support for a permanent seat at the UNSC. Now everybody in India loves me, including Doorknob!
Lovely dinner and now have to pack for our trip to Indonesia. It is a nightmare. Every VIP I met gave me big fat coffee table books. Thank god I don’t have to pay for excess baggage!