Rahul da Cunha: Hug gale lag ja!


Illustration/ Uday Mohite

So, the most powerful man in the sub-continent met the most powerful man in the world. Yes, Prime Minister Modi met President Trump at the White House. There was so much to be discussed, like terror in Kabul and realty in Mumbai.

Prezzie Trump apparently said to PM Modi that while India and the USA would need to play a vital role in rebuilding Afghanistan, could he also look into the rebuilding of the roads in Bandra Kurla Complex? Potholes are making it tough for potential real estate buyers to make it to his Trump Towers.

Our PM reassured him that he would, once he returned to New Delhi, after Holland, Israel and Botswana.

Okay, dear reader, some observations on this historic summit — this political Federer-Nadal match-up.

If you've noticed, when our CEO makes a foreign trip, say to Japan, the media photos are of him engaged in traditional activities like banging taiko drums, waving a samurai sword or eating vegetarian sushi.

In the US, there were no selfies of him wearing a Stetson or rubbing noses with native Americans. No. Only photos of the two titans hugging. Rather, Modiji 'aa gale lag jaaing' Trumpsaab with so much fervour that Melania had to administer Baywatch-like mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In fact, Michael Pence was overheard saying, Thank heavens, it wasn't Amit Shah who'd done the hugging, that would've felt truly Afzal Khan-like.

Modisaab has learnt that the most strategic of first moves, one that preempts any discussion on trade agreements, nuclear disarmaments or terror solutions, is that the boring handshake must be replaced by the bear hug. None of this Western 'look the other man in the eye' formality while you awkwardly shake his paw. Na, bhai, na. As you step off your private plane, you crush your opposing number in such a tight embrace, that he lives in permanent fear of this, during the whole duration of the visit.

(Apparently, Obamacare was begun by Barack not to help the American people, but to nurse a couple of cracked ribs back to normalcy.)

Actually, our leader isn't a hugger in India. Like most Indian men are not big on male contact. Sure, they will hug when India beats Pakistan in a cricket match, or when the stock market peaks.

Otherwise, there is an awkward 'man hug' where two men, go shoulder to shoulder in a strange sideways maneuver, making certain that the two protruding paunches never meet.

And, Indian men just never hug women (wives and sisters maybe, but never strangers).

Which is perhaps why all trips by our leader to countries run by women have been cancelled — visits to Britain, Argentina, Kosovo, Chile and Liberia are in jeopardy, as are those to Poland, Brazil, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Finally, anonymous sources have indicated another big advance in Indo-US relations — the US Prezzie took our PM for quick bite to his private hamburger joint — McDonald. A new snack has been devised, by the two — it's called the McDhokla.

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62@gmail.com

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