A guide to mysterious India for Mr Bush
Bachi Karkaria of the Times of India offers President Bush some light-hearted advice ahead of his first visit to India, which begins on 1 March.
Welcome to the real India, Mr President.
Being generous and hospitable, let me tell you some things about India that Condi Rice did not brief you about. This being the mysterious East, nothing is quite what it appears to be. In Delhi, there used to be stalls selling tandoori chicken at every corner. There aren’t any now. This is not because Dick Cheney came hunting here. It is because we have had a real bad bird flu scare. So everyone’s chickened out of eating anything with wings.
You will see pictures of people with their faces covered in sinister fashion. They are not terrorists. They are from the bird flu districts. Or, they are simply protecting themselves from the sun which is also hotting up. In fact, Mr President, please do not see a terrorist behind every Bush. These days, the most suspicious-looking guys around are your secret service agents.
In fact, even if you hear gunshots, do not dive for cover. It is not a terrorist attack. It is the average Delhi-ite celebrating a wedding, or India’s cricket victory, or simply the fact that his daughter has been admitted to a good nursery school. This is more difficult than getting into Yale, and probably more expensive.
We understand your paranoia, but do not panic if you see large groups of people angrily waving their fists. They are not protesting against your vicious role in Iraq. They are all demanding more American visas. The streets may remind you of the US’s lasting contribution to the topography of Afghanistan. Don’t worry, you have not landed in a war zone, or even on the moon. This is the normal potholed surface of our city roads.
And, despite what you have been told, the average Indian isn’t one bit exercised over nuclear establishments. Why should she worry about heavy water for reactors when she still has to carry a heavy pail for her own bath? As for fast breeder reactors Mr President, I hope you will not presume to teach anything about fast breeding to a nation of one billion people.
That’s one billion with a “b”, Mr Bush.
Entry filed under: Food for thought.