(This first appeared in the Sunday Guardian)
As he switched off the teevee, he could see the sun rising from his window. However, today this view wouldn’t cheer him up. He had just watched the foreign policy debate between Obama and Romney and he was disappointed that India wasn’t even mentioned once. How many more times will he have to face such humiliation? He feels his country is just a dirty little secret for the President. He took billions of dollars of our hard-earned money and then totally forgot about us. Each time he ignores us, it’s a slap in the face of the awesome future we had planned together. How can you do that to us, Barry? How can you slap?
As a country full of people who need constant validation, it was no surprise that the main point of discussion after the Presidential debate broadcast was that no one mentioned India during the debate. We’re like that character in sitcom who only pays attention to what other people are saying only when they’re talking about him. Even though the debate revolved around which candidate would be more awesome at bombing more brown people, people were upset that no one gave us a shout-out. After all, we invented the zero, bhangra music and Anil Kapoor. Isn’t that reason enough for everyone to keep talking about us, all the time?
Our politicians, diplomats and journalists have a schizophrenic love/hate relationship with America and its President.
Our politicians love to blame the ‘ubiquitous’ foreign hand for everything they are unable to explain. A foreign hand is behind the grassroots protest against nuclear power. The foreign hand teaches people that Internet censorship is bad. The foreign hand is in your telephone, tapping all your calls. And yet, the very same people trample over each other to shake the foreign hand when he comes over for a visit.
Our diplomats carry around a secret boner for the Republicans. Especially for their knight in faux cowboy boots, George W. Bush. Because he does things they have always wanted to do. He didn't worry about "global warming" or the "Geneva convention" or "International treaties" and would bomb, whoever he wanted, whenever he wanted. So what if a lot of civilians died as collateral damage? Who has time to find out if they’re bombing the right target or invading the right country when they’re busy choking on a pretzel? Christopher Columbus took a wrong turn - because he was using Apple Maps for navigation - and look how well it turned out for him. Republicans are always good for India! Who even remembers the time a Republican Administration sent a battleship to the Bay of Bengal to try to intimidate India during the ‘71 war or the time when another Republican administration funded the start of Osama Bin Laden and his ‘Jihad Jamboree.’ And don’t forget that while the last Republican administration might have given billions of dollars to the architect of the Kargil invasion to go shopping for weapons, they probably never intended to start another arms-race.
Our news anchors act like entitled fangirls. They’re quite brave when they’re shouting at the teevee screen but turn to an embarrassing pile of mush once they’re actually faced with a member of the American government. One news anchor even asked Hillary Clinton on her first visit to India as Secretary of State to affirm America’s ‘love’ for India? What are we, a geopolitical entity or a girl in a rom-com who is about to lose her virginity to the wrong guy? Our journalists’ creepy obsession with America isn’t just limited to having a love-hate relationship with their political system. Our domestic news is also framed in American terms. Every terrorist attack in the country is India’s ‘9/11.’ Every government scandal is India’s ‘watergate.’ Every award ceremony in the country is India’s version of the Oscars. Aamir Khan’s teevee show talks about social issues, so naturally, he is India’s Oprah. And India has had more versions of Obama than the population of Kenya.
Our politicians, South Block mandarins and news anchors forget that only British Prime Ministers are constitutionally obligated to have unrequited feelings for the American President.
And that they’re supposed to get over him once he leaves office.
He knows that one day, Barry will be his friend. Until then he will sing Barry Can You Hear Me/Barry Can You See Me to the moon every night. He can take solace in the fact that some time in the near future, we will take our rightful place, right next to America, and both of us together will heal the world and make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race. One day Barry will come home. Until then he will do what he does best. After all, the nation deserves to know.