So the gum-chewing Barackbhai and the Bibhu Mohapatra-sporting Michelleben flew out of Bharat leaving a trail of N-deals and multi-cuisine meals behind them. What a ‘mann ki baat’, ‘chai ka charcha’ trip it was. Here are my highlights: For the official Obama dinner at Hyderabad House, all the invitees had this printed on the bottom of the exquisitely designed card — DRESS — Formal (with personalised monogram embroidered on outfit ie your name).
Every single fashion designer in Delhi was commissioned last minute by desperate guests to match the pin stripe precision of their PM’s ‘Narendra Damodardas Modi’ on his/her jacket.
Illustration / Amit Bandre
A smiling Sonia Gandhi entered first with ‘Edvige Antonia Albina Maino’ printed on her sari and blouse. Modiji greeted her, and the two rivals raised a toast of Tropicana orange juice.
“Where’s Rahul?” he politely asked the Italian Congress leader.
“Oh, he’s out for a boy’s night with Kejriwal.”
Baba Ramdev was faced with a terrible problem. He had just refused the Padma Vibhushan that morning on the grounds that he is a ‘sanyasi’ and ‘a simple man.’.
Now to face the possibility of not attending this ‘do’ of the year. His quandary —Where to print his name considering he only wears a loin cloth?
He speed-dialled Rajnath Singh who gave him special permission to tattoo, ‘Swami Baba Ramdev’ vertically all over his body.
Virat Kohli, walking in as India’s newly-appointed test captain had ‘Anushka Sharma’ printed on his blue blazer. While MS Dhoni, our ODI skipper had ‘N Srinivasan’ on his.
Arnab Goswami stormed in with ‘The Nation Wants To Know’ on his attire.
Mamata Banerjee was furious. She had just had ‘Didi Didi Didi’ hand woven on her one silk sari, only to realise she hadn’t received an invite. Derek O’Brien reassured her, “Madam, the courier guys are on strike. In any case Saurav Ganguly is our Bengali representative, he has ‘Dada Dada Dada Dada’ on his shiny grey jacket.”
As the guests settled down to a sit-down dinner, trays of heaped ‘khana’ appeared.
The Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh had tried to make sure that cuisine from every part of India was represented at the table. But this proved to be a Herculean task considering the rate at which we’re adding union states and territories.
One Uttarakhand minister (with ‘I hate UP’) on his suit was heard grumbling, “Why is there no food from our region?” As did defence minister and ex-Goa CM Mohan Parriker who whispered, “Why no pork items, men?”
But outside the country, one super power watched this brewing bromance dinner with serious distaste. Not because of ‘South China sea tensions’. But Chinese president, Xi Jinping having made a 20 billion commitment to India was livid. Sitting in his Beijing home he hollered to his wife as he saw food being served from areas as diverse as Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
“Why no chilly chicken on menu? Why no sweet corn chicken soup? Why no flied lice? These are now Indian dishes,” Peng Liyuan said quietly, “Xi, chill…I have a plan, I’m presenting PM Modi with a special Sino-Indian delicacy on our next trip. It’s called ‘Undhiyo Manchurian’”.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.