I told my wife that I was penning a few words on the PM’s visit. And she asked “PM? Which one?” You mean the Pope?” That question, and the accompanying deer-in-the-headlight look, was enough for me to figure out what I was going to jot down about Modi-jeeeeeees recent sojourn of self-love to the US.
“May the “Pourrs” be with you!!” was the asinine and inexplicable tag line this awkward Muppet blurted out to a New York Central Park crowd, on his previous visit to this country. On hearing it, the people who were enjoying all sorts of other music and frolic, looked quizzically at each other asking… WTF?? Huh? Who…Who is this guy? It was the familiar refrain, as only a group of people partying would wonder, when someone so wholly out of place and from another era, shows up amidst them and drops an ancient movie line, delivered in such a cheesy tacky manner, as to force some in the audience to cringe in embarrassment.
But, unlike this time, on that trip, he was bit of a novelty, peddling his wares to a boggle-eyed NRI community, giddy with excitement…. which only goes to show you that most of them who were star struck by this Mung-goofy and his cheap antics, probably still yearn to be extras in a Bollywood dance number, choreographed by a web-footed platypus. He was also in his honeymoon period, and so his stage managed trip, got him his Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame in the US, before a blasé American population went back to their reality TV and their daily viewing of Kim Kardashian’s bum and “Housewives of New Jersey”. Bada Bing!!
This time around, he must have thought that he really made an impression eh? But, little did he know, that beyond the usual US based Hindutva mob and the hoteliering Patels, with an Indian media in tow straining for relevance, nobody gave a shit…. then…. and nobody gives a shit… now.
It is fascinating, that he has been globetrotting the world trying to spread the “Incredible Digital India” message to entice investment, a message that most sane people now realize, is like a Punch and Judy puppet show, held together by wire, string and Band-Aid, mirroring the crumpling infrastructure of a country struggling to provide enough toilets and piss-pots to an impatient population, let alone a reliable internet or telephone connection for a young and ambitious talent pool.
It seems all of that initial excitement of enjoining India to the fortune 500 community, is still a world away, as most CEO’s understand, and whisper in private, that they’d rather stick needles in their eyeballs than heed his advice and invest in a country where they cannot seem to navigate past the graft and inefficiencies of a bureaucracy still looking to take its cut, every time a foreign businessman shows up with a bag full of money. You see… this whole Prime Minister caper, complete with crocodile tears and Sunshine Joy Pagri Turban, was meant to be his extortion racket, get his chumchas to do the under-the-table, only this time he would be fleecing the Corporates. But it hasn’t gone to plan. They couldn’t give a monkeys about him. So…They go through the perfunctory motions, while he and his cronies are still waiting for their tea money…. you know… ishwat; baksheesh; ghoos; hafta; chai-pani.
The Silicon Valley photo-ops with CEO’s notwithstanding, and the almost reflexive, selfie-crazed and narcissistic yank on the arm of Facebook’s Zuckerberg, to ham it up for the cameras, this self-obsessed and “media darling in his own mind”, stands in stark contrast to his murderous henchman and sycophantic thugs who are, at evert turn, shutting down free speech in India. While he gallivants the planet on precious public money, promoting this farcical pretense, his gangster saffroners at home are breaking skulls and burning beef-eaters.
Well…seeing as he has become so comfy with the US, maybe next time, he can bring his own paan spittoon, and demo his prolific aim to the next cadre of idiot CEO’s who will continue to disingenuously humor him as they mercilessly extract his Indian talent pool to man their decrepit call centers. Gilli Daandoo Anyone??