Tuesday, November 2, 2010


You may have noticed that China has launched its equivalent of Google Earth. This website, Chinaon map, is China’s vision of the earth around the middle kingdom. As I’m a Google Earth traveller, I thought I’d better check out how China views us. Apart from Tibet and the disputed islands in the China Sea, a piece of India is also attached to China. We’ve lost Arunachal Pradesh to China in their map so I thought I’d better get over to the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping in Beijing to tell them that their Chinaonmap has made a serious mistake. AP is an integral part of India, still, or was until I saw their map.
‘We’re very sorry for the mistake,’ the spokesperson for SBSM told me, smiling. ‘We’ll make a correction. Please remember China once reached Siberia under the great Khan.’
‘He’s long dead and gone. The correction has to be done immediately. Google Earth updates their website every few minutes. And in their map of India AP is very much part of India.’
‘Very sorry,’ spokesperson said. ‘We only update once or twice a year. Next year maybe we will look into the problem.’
I thought this was an inadequate response to my courteous protest. On returning to a India, still whole, I hoped, I went to the one of the big IT companies.
‘I want us to upload an Indiaonmap website immediately. We will then get AP back within our borders and also claim a small chunk of Chinese territory. We’ll also make Tibet an independent country on our website. And Taiwan too can be freed from China. And while we’re at it, we’ll move Beijing next to Kolkata so that the communist party will be happy to have it as their new neighbour.’
In no time at all, we launched the Indiaonmap website. AP was back in our fold and Tibet had a new border around it.
I had to show off and returned to the SBSM office in Beijing, a short hop from Kolkata and showed them our Indiaonmap site. The spokesperson was furious and very insulted that his capital was next to the Hooghly.
‘We’ll see about that,’ the spokesperson said and opened up Chinaonmap website in front of me. He moved Beijing back to its original position, reclaimed Tibet and AP. He then shifted the border further west to take a chunk of Assam. ‘This where we were in the 1962 war,’ he said. For good measure, he gave Kashmir to Pakistan and then gave it Afghanistan too.
‘Right, it’s web war,’ I told him and returned to a much truncated India with Pakistan now twice its size. I told my hi-tech guy to re-claim AP and Tibet and push a 1,000 kilometres into China. As we couldn’t allow Pakistan to claim Kashmir and Afghanistan, we moved India’s borders west to Iran. I thought this would make that gas pipe line easier to lay. We re-named the China Sea to the Asian Sea and gave all the disputed islands in that new sea to Japan. This would help our trade relations, I thought.
When I went back to SBSM, they were waiting for me as they saw what we had done on Indiaonmap. This time, Chinaonmap pushed China’s order west up to Mumbai.
‘We’re more than happy for you to have Mumbai, the RSS and the Thackeray thugs,’ I told them. As China did not want any of our thugs, SBSM decided only to move to Nagpur, which divided India in half. The Indian Ocean became the China Ocean.
Back in India, we spread the Indian Ocean across the Pacific and Atlantic too and pushed India’s borders as far west to France. Chinaonmap then spread east and included the US and South America. Neither of us wanted Britain as it was an economic black hole, and the cause of all our problems.

Conversation with Lord Mountbattan

The other day I bumped into Lord Louise Mountbattan. I know he’s dead (the IRA blew him up) but his spirit haunts India as he was the LastViceroy of India and can’t forget the great time he had living in the Raj Bhavan, riding in grand carriages, fawned over by us, dividing up India and spending time with his good pal Nehru. He didn’t mind his wife Edwina frolicking with the future PM of India as he believed India should continue to be ruled by a Raj type of person.
‘So what do you think of modern India, Dicky?’ I asked him. Dicky was his nickname and I thought I could be familiar with our Last Viceroy to make him feel at home in India Inc.
‘Not changed much, old chap,’ he replied. ‘You’ve got a many more motor cars, more buildings and a few billionaires, whatever that means, but it’s still ruled by the Raj.’
‘Raj! Nonsense. We’re an independent nation, part of BRIC, high GDP and a country to be reckoned with.’
‘When the British Raj left India we made sure that the reins were handed over to someone we could trust to continue our rule. In proxy of course. And that is why we chose the Congress party. It’s a fine, upstanding party that upholds everything that is British. India has faithfully followed the British way of life. We have a Queen, and so do you. Our Queen is a foreigner, more German blood than British blood. Your Queen too is a foreigner, more Italian blood than Indian. They are alike too. We have a Prime Minister who has to have the Queen to approve, in theory of course, his political agenda. In that, you have gone back a century to Empress Victoria as your Queen has more power than our Queen. Like Victoria your Queen formulates policy and instructs your Prime Minister. We have a royal family, so do you. Our royal family doesn’t dabble in politics though Charlie would love to. Our royal family just hunt and fish and party, as they’re supposed to do for the sake of our tabloid newspapers. Your royal family dabbles in politics constantly, instead of just being royal and party like our family. We have a feudal society, so do you. Look at all the children of politicians who now have seats in your parliament and state assemblies. You should copy our example and stuff all those children into an upper house. We call it House of Lords; yours is the Raja Sabha. That’s where the feudals should be kept so they don’t cause mischief.’
‘Not every one in India recognizes our royal family,’ I protested. ‘We’re a republic and want a good devious politician, like a Tony Blair, to be our PM. We’d prefer our Queen to stay at home and do her knitting. At least, she doesn’t love dogs like your Queen.’
‘But she can’t stay at home, can she?’ he countered. ‘The good ole Congress boys want a foreigner to lead them. We taught them how to be led by one of us and they cannot forget their lessons. They know full well that if your Queen didn’t campaign for them, they would lose every election. They have as much charisma as fleas. If tomorrow, our Queen campaigned for the Tories or the Labour or the Liberals, they would win the election hands down.’ He shook his head. ‘No, you love your feudals. Your Queen only campaigns as she wants the crown prince to take his rightful place on the throne. Charlie’s wating for his place but our Queen knows he’ll make a mess at being King. Just like yours will, one day.’
‘Our prince-in-waiting will do great. Who else do we have?’
‘True. If you know your history, we British called it his Divine Right to be King.’


Osama Bin Laden is very worried about Climate Change. He released an audio tape recently complaining that no one else, apart from him, is worried about Climate Change. The earth, he believes, is going down the tubes because of man’s destruction of the environment. Believe me, if Osama’s worried about this, we had all better get worried too. I worried so much that I thought I’d better meet Osama to discuss the subject with him, face-to-face, instead of listening to his disembodied voice. The CIA wasn’t sure it was him speaking or the Al-Qaeda Climatologist.
As it’s impossible to find this elusive man, I opened Google Earth, wrote in his name and clicked on Find. The camera zeroed in just east of the Hindu Kush and down to ‘Osama Lives here’. I even had a 3-D street view of the entrance with his bodyguards posed with their AKs. I made it through Kabul, a hairy jeep ride up the mountains to his home and kept the taxi waiting, illegally parked under a ‘No Drone Parking’ sign.
Osama was delighted to find someone else as worried as he was on Climate Change and welcomed me, after I was searched. His penthouse was a bit damp. Water dripped down from the ceiling, the Persian carpet smelled mouldy and Osama was wrapped up in a blanket. His Climatologist was in a corner, pouring over parchment maps, checking the CNN weather map on his laptop and making calculations.
‘Osama when do you have the time to be worried about Climate Change?’ I asked.
‘I make time,’ he said. ‘I have nothing else better to do stuck up here.’
‘But you have so many more important projects on your agenda. Like the defeat of America, conquering Europe, planning Mumbai Style attacks on foreign cities, like New York, London, Paris with your Taliban business partners…’
He stopped me. ‘We must stick to Climate Change. It keeps me awake at night worrying about the earth. There is a conspiracy going on under my very nose.’
‘What kind of a conspiracy?’
‘A conspiracy,’ he shouted. ‘You tell me why it rained so heavily only on Pakistan? Nowhere else on the earth was there such heavy rain. This was a conspiracy between the Americans and the Indians to cause big problems for the country I love with all my heart. They both used their software to send a virus into the clouds so it upset the cloud balance. The clouds couldn’t move because of the virus…’
‘But Osama no one can send a virus into the clouds to stop them moving.’
‘Then you tell me.’
‘Deforestation for a start and the mud slides down into the rivers, they silt up and are not as deep as they used to be.’
‘No. The Drones are shifting the winds. They heard it like goats.’
‘It rained very heavily on India too. Delhi was flooded, Commonwealth Game bridges fell down, hundreds drowned’
‘A few hundred Indians drowned!’ he scoffed at me. ‘You have a billion and won’t miss them. But this Climate Change conspiracy has affected the very government of Pakistan, as the leaders are safe making money. It’s the Americans who have caused all these problems with the climate.’ He turned to his Climatologist. ‘Tell this unbeliever.’
‘The earth’s winds blow from west to east,’ he pronounced. ‘All of Asia is polluted by greenhouse gases and airplane emissions.’ He called up a website. ‘See, we get all that polluted air which is why Americans fly so many planes, only to kill us with their pollutants.’
‘I had read that too. But how else does Climate Change affect you up here, Osama?’
‘My arthritis gets worse with the rains.’ He waved goodbye and called out. ‘Watch out for the Drones. They can’t tell the difference between you and us. We all look alike on the screens in Vegas.’


(Kindly circulate in my constituency and ensure it has one lakh signatures)
We, the undersigned, believe the Union Cabinet has erred grievously in its recent announcement of a mere 300 per cent increase in the salaries and perquisites of our most honourable member of parliament. He is an upstanding man of great integrity who has worked hard to serve us, his constituents, to the best of his abilities. He visits us annually to ensure that we are benefitting from all his good work.
He is a most humble man and wears only the kurtas and dhotis; often we noted his clothing has been patched. We appreciate his humility as we know he possesses many Gucci suits, especially hand-made for him, whenever he travels to a place called Milan. His wife possesses many Dolce Gabba items of clothing and accessories too from this very place but as we never see her we appreciate her humility too. He does not come in a grand vehicle but in a 1999 Tata Sumo which he has possessed for many years as he cannot travel on our kutcha roads in his BMW SUV.
On his annual visit yesterday, we gathered as always, under the bodhi tree to hear his problems. As he does not have much time, being a busy man, he does not hear our problems. They are simple – no electricity, no schools, no health clinics, no roads, no jobs, no food - and not worth his valuable time. Which we understand.
His problems brought tears to our eyes that the unjust Union Cabinet only granted a 300 per cent pay increase. He wept as he told us how hard it was for him to maintain himself, his family, his friends, his chamchas, and his many homes, on such a paltry amount. And we wept along with him. And how could he visit twice a year when all he was given was 30 air coupons? By the time he flew weekly to Mumbai to attend the parties thrown by his Bollywood friends (who campaign here with him once in five years but we have not seen their films as we have no electricity or a cinema house), he has no air coupons left to visit us.
He cannot even telephone us, not because we don’t have any telephone connections, but he has to make hundreds of calls to his bankers, investment advisers, real estate agents, Swiss banks, Cayman Island banks. The cost of making such long distance calls to phoren countries consumed his 1.5 lakh annual free calls. He had us weeping for him when he pointed to his old Sumo. How could he pay for his BMW SUV when the cabinet gave him a mere five lakhs advance when the vehicle costs nearly one crore.
Don’t you want to be proud of your MP arriving at parties in his BMW? He asked. ‘Yes, yes,’ we agreed. He also pleaded with us to understand that, as a humble MP, he was not at all corrupt. He only took a 50 per cent commission on projects allocated to our constituency. Ministers, he told us, took 90 per cent and he wasn’t as greedy as they were.
For our school (he laid the foundation stone four years ago) it wasn’t his fault that only 20 bricks and a bag of cement was delivered; it wasn’t his fault that the electric cables fell 10 kilometres short of our constituency; it wasn’t his fault that the clinic wasn’t built with the 40 bricks; it wasn’t his fault the telephone cable didn’t reach us.
Therefore, we all sign this petition demanding that the Union Cabinet grant our MP a 600 per cent increase in salary and perquisites.


WikiLeaks sent me their latest Leak the other day. The Leak was from the Cabinet Office of the Government of India. The document is the standing instruction to every Prime Minister, and his cabinet, from 1947. It is required reading of every PM and Minister. It is titled ‘Harmonious Centre-State Relations in 10 Easy Lessons.’
Rule 1. Total Neglect. Do not give the State anything. Deny the state’s existence and allocate zero funds for its development. Do not build roads, railways, schools, hospitals, universities, cricket stadiums. This is a waste of public funds which can be better utilised in Swiss Bank accounts. The citizens of the state are happy and joyful to just belong to the great country of India and do not wish for anything more. If possible prevent those citizens from travelling to other parts of the country as this will raise their expectations. A few will return and demonstrate peacefully. Arrest them immediately.
Rule 2. Benign Neglect. If the arrest of the agitators (foreign hand) does not calm the situation, the government may then throw the State a few sops. It may build a road or two, a school here and there and a hospital. Ensure there are no doctors or nurses in the hospital. It may even be worthwhile to hold an election. This will give the people a belief in our great democracy. However, ensure that the political party is firmly aligned to the central government of the time. Do not allow the new CM of the state any opportunity to act independently.
Rule 3. The Big Sop. If the people are unhappy with their democracy and continue to agitate peacefully arrest them all. At the same time, announce that the centre will allocate one hundred crores to the State’s development. When five crores (taken into account leakages) reaches the State, ensure it is spent on building 5-star hotels, cinema halls and beautiful parks. Hold a big conference for government officials to stay in the 5-star hotel to discuss the problems of the State. This will ensure the employment of the unemployed youths as waiters and water carriers. If the people demonstrate peacefully about the waste of funds, arrest them all. Do not start a dialogue.
Rule 4. The Bigger Sop. Call the media (who will slavishly report what we want) and announce that the cabinet will allocate 1,000 crores for the State’s development. With the 100 crores (see above) invite major industrialist to set up industries to exploit the forest, valleys, jungles and whatever else there is, for minerals, oil, gas, silicon, manganese, iron. These projects will generate employment for the people to cut down the trees, dig up their forests and pollute their rivers and their air. At the same time build three schools, one university and send doctors nurses to staff the hospital built 30 years ago. As we know the State’s citizens are never grateful for all that the Central Government does for them and will agitate for more. Arrest them all. Brand their leaders as Naxals/communists/jihadists/ISI employees/Chinamen/CIA operatives.
Rule 5. Hold another election. Ensure that the election is fixed so that a ruling government’s party wins. Announce that this proves that democracy does work and it is the agitators who are to blame for all the troubles in an otherwise peaceful state. To prove that it is peaceful the PM or the HM should make a flying visit to the state and be seen with the new CM. Fly back immediately. Announce that a railway line will connect the state to rest of the country. The Naxals/communists/jihadists/ISI employees/Chinamen/CIA operatives will demonstrate and throw stones.
Rule 6. Send in the police. Shoot on sight.
Rule 7. Send in more police. Shoot more on sight.
Rule 8. Call in State CM for serious discussions.
Rule 9. Send in more police. Shoot everyone on sight.
Rule 10. See Rule One.