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#SundayReading – Kohinoor and other British gems

 

Wednesday: The papers have been full of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or Will and Kate as we like to call them, popping over to India to say, ‘Cheerio Natives’. I have also heard from unreliable sources that they have a secret agenda — to get photographed 2.2 million times in 2 days, as it has been Will’s childhood dream to get into our famous Limca Book of Records. Unfortunately, after submitting their application, they got this response today.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your application.

With reference to the above please refer to my bottom.

Many noble souls are persisting to win this competition, even Mrs Pankaja Munde, who is our Chairman’s Rakhi sister has sent photo after photo of herself with background of Latur, but no partiality is our anthem.

We would be giving award to you only but we have a personage who has defeated you in this purpose. For more information please turn to your backside…

A puzzled Duke and Duchess finally decided to flip the letter over in case there were any more explicit instructions on the reverse. The letter continued….

After grave and serious investigation we have concluded that the splendid gentleman

Mr Narendra is the clear winner by a very big margin. He has overtaken you by 3.6 million photos in 2 days so we give record to him. He is also our previous titleholder of largest chest size by a Gujarati person at an astounding 56 inches. A remarkable man only.

Much regards

Mr Amit Kakkad

Limca Book of Records

Thursday: As it happens, I am flying to England today to join the man of the house at his film shoot.

I reach the immigration counter and the officer looks at my passport, peers at my name and snorts, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, little star?’

And I reply, ‘Well, I was a little star once but with the effects of entropy and gravity, now I seem to have collapsed into a black hole.’

He replies, ‘Oh bloomin ‘eck brilliant! You Indians speak English all right.’

I am tempted to point out two things: His sentence is grammatically incorrect and that after nearly 200 years of being British slaves, it was rather inevitable that we would learn a few things beyond bowing our head and saying ‘Yes sire’. But I zip my lips and step into his country instead.

(Illustration by: Chad Crowe)

(Illustration by: Chad Crowe)

Friday: Over high tea with muffins and scones, my British friend who is originally from Pakistan informs me that my Taher Shah Twitter joke — that Pakistan doesn’t need any nuclear weapons, they can just drop this purple bomb on us — has not gone down too well on the other side of the border.

But there is a silver lining to my eggplant-hued cloud. Now if trolls on Twitter badger me with the occasional ‘Go to Pakistan!’ I have a great comeback, ‘Oops sorry! Burnt my bridges there as well.’

Of course, knowing the IQ level of the average troll, I won’t be surprised if I get a reply saying, ‘There are bridges to Pakistan? I thought there was only a border!’

We eat a few more raspberry scones and switch over to discussing the great poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz and when I say that back home, we often refer to him as Shams Tabrizi, she retorts, ‘You Indians are obsessed with the British, want to rhyme everything with Angrezi — affected lot!’

Saturday: It rains miserably today, just like the other 364.3 days in Great Britain and I realize that perhaps the English are not pale only due to genetics, but just like vampires, it’s actually because the poor things never see the sun.

Sunday: I see numerous newspaper headlines saying, ‘Return from England!’ And just as I start feeling flattered that my country misses me so much, I realize that India is demanding the Kohinoor diamond instead.

Well, I doubt if getting the Kohinoor is possible. Britain’s former deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, was crystal clear in an interview: ‘There is clarity in the sincerity with which the Queen holds the crown jewels, all of them, in trust and on behalf of the nation.’ And here I thought she just had Prince Philip’s crown jewels firmly and sincerely in her hands for eternity.

Sunday: I am back in good old Bombay and as I walk into my living room, duty-free bags in hand, the baby leaps into my arms. She has been learning to swim lately. I look at her closely and say, ‘You have such a nice tan darling, what a lovely golden brown, your brother always turns a peeling lobster red!’ She chirps, ‘I don’t want to be brown, I want to be white!’

Startled and wondering where she picked this up in the few days I have been away, I start muttering, ‘Colour doesn’t matter! We should be happy if we are pink, brown, beige, white, black, whatever!’ Till I see a glazed look of incomprehension in her eyes and I say, ‘You know what colour I want to be? Green! Like broccoli!’ And when she giggles and says that she wants to be green too, my battle for the day is won.

But I have to be prepared, because this may come up again, as things seep into her subconscious — from the dolls in the toy store and the Snow White and Cinderella books to stuff overheard on playgrounds and seen on television.

And sure enough, as she is cuddled next to her father, building Lego castles while he watches his beloved cricket, the screen is flooded with fairness cream advertisements that show people dabbing their faces with lotions and potions, clearly unable to get over the hangover of being the conquered little brown civilization.

This constant obsession about attaining a ghostly pallor and observing our behemothic interest in the Duke’s every move and the Duchess’s every outfit makes me think that the British may have been forced out of our country a long time ago but perhaps they still haven’t been entirely forced out of our heads.

And just before I drag my jetlagged self to bed, a little advice to our government: Forget about the Kohinoor and ask the Brits to return our two other anmol ratans, Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi instead. Cheers Mate!

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/mrsfunnybones/kohinoor-and-other-british-gems/

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