Ivankaji, welcome to our humble country…
Madam (we address all white people as ‘madam’ in India), I am a little confused. Are you or are you not the President sahiba of Amrika? I think you must be! How much ‘shaan’ and show there was for you in Hyderabad! Mashallah! More than for Britain ki Rani. But little less than for Britain ki Diana. We like blonde ladies in India. That is why most of our fillum stars and rich-rich people’s wives are blonde. I had read somewhere long, long ago, that blondes have more fun. I think so you are having lots of fun, madam-ji, flying here, flying there, meeting kings and prime ministers (in our humble country, king and prime minister is same-same – one man, playing double role). We were so happy, so happy that such a great lady, looking like a Barbie doll, was honouring us by attending a meeting. Sooooo much security, madam, I was thinking, “Who is this VVIP coming to Hyderabad?” Every television channel I watched was only showing a tall, beautiful, blonde lady. But sorry, Madam, I didn’t know your name, and was not sure who you are or why you were coming here.
Living in Hyderabad makes one a little lazy. We live in our own world. Our men all think and behave like nawabs and nizams. Our women are like pampered begums. For centuries, we have lived this way. We like our life. But suddenly, there was too much activity in our city. I was told to lock up my dog. And dress better while going on the road. I asked, “Why?” Someone said, the Chief Minister wants to impress this blonde lady from Amrika. He has ordered all stray dogs to be removed from the streets. I felt sad, madam. What harm can these poor dogs do to you? Then I was told all beggars had also been removed along with the dogs. Madam, I am a respectable person, not a beggar. But who can take a chance these days? Policewallas can pick up anybody and lock!
Anyway, I asked all those bandookwala police people guarding the streets why there was so much high security bandobast for a blonde lady who is not the President of Amrika. I was told not to ask stupid questions because she could become the next President. Ho! Nakki! And that is why we have to be on her right side. Achcha. We must always be prepared in life.
For some time, my phone signal was jammed, and I could not call my children. I had made shiny, costly, new clothes for a big family wedding. Now those clothes were going to be wasted. My neighbour said over one lakh weddings were booked to take place before November 30 in Hyderabad. After that date, pundit-jis have declared there is illey muhuratam till 2018. Now Madam, this is India, okay? We marry like this only – good muhuratum and all that. In Amrika, it is different – anybody can marry anybody, any time.
Anyway, good you came, and saw for yourself. But madam, how you can take our world famous-biryani’s name so lightly? We take our biryani very seriously. Maybe you are dieting and not appreciating our sentiments. Food and cinema are sensitive matters in India, madam. But thank God, you didn’t make any remark about “Padmavati”. We feel hurt and angry very easily, madam. As Sushma-ji, may have told you, woman to woman, when you strolled hand-in-hand with her. Frankly, Sushma-ji looked smarter than you in her red saree and jacket, even though she is not blonde.
On a serious note, madam, you came, made a speech, told our women they are great and all that. But we want to know, after this, what? You saw how hospitable we are to guests. You ate a feast with so many special dishes, sitting at a table for 101 people in the Falaknuma Palace (the whole world admires this palace, it is grander than your Daddy’s White House). You wore fine silk clothes created by our desi designers. Good, good. Now you will go back and brief your Daddy (but not Mummy) about what you saw, who you met. Daddy is a clever man. As his official advisor, you are even more clever! So, madam, what will you tell Trump-ji? He will ask, “How many more towers did you manage to sell in India?” And you will reply, “I was not there to sell towers, but to empower the women of India.” Then daddy will lose interest and talk about Mexicans. It’s okay. You are doing your job. He is doing his. Together, you are both controlling the world. Jai Hind!
(The article was first published on NDTV written by Shobhaa De a journalist, columnist, social commentator, opinion-shaper and author of 18 books.)