Reflections from Ahmedabad: Dough-Naald or Dolan, Trump and the Leader were bombastic bores 

The two back-slapping leaders spoke of ‘fraanship’ and ‘Vivek Ka Nun’ at Motera on Monday and praised each other so much that it looked like a Republican Party rally

Photo Courtesy: ANI
Photo Courtesy: ANI

Rupa Gulab

I don’t think I want to remember 24th February, 2020, despite the fact that it was on this historic day that Gujarat became the 51st state of the USA, with a huge election rally for US President Donald Trump.

I could barely sleep the night before, thinking of all the wonderful things that could happen. Strong gusts of wind had made two makeshift VVIP gates outside Motera stadium collapse the day before and I recalled that ‘Gone with the Wind’, is one of Trump’s favourite movies.

Antiquities like the tombs at the Taj Mahal and the Dear Leader were pampered with clay packs to make them fairer. Indians evidently have so much faith in this traditional whitening treatment, that large cardboard cut outs of the Dear Leader in Ahmedabad pictured him with the same broiled lobster complexion as Trump.

What I really wanted to see though, was India’s valuable contribution to Trump’s security detail for his trip to the Taj Mahal: five langurs were enlisted to ensure that Agra’s bad-tempered monkeys didn’t bite Donald or steal Melania’s handbag.

When D-Day dawned, I sat myself down at the TV and checked out NDTV and CNN. CNN won because the reporters and anchors were fun and irreverent (and complained bitterly in a bemused manner about Elton John being played far too frequently at the stadium), while NDTV’s starchy anchors behaved like they were in North Korea.

I ran away as soon as Air Force One touched down. Those limpet-like hugs the Dear Leader inflicts on foreign leaders are sickening to watch—I wisely gave him an hour to detach himself. While the crowds on the streets were not as many as Trump demanded, he should consider himself fortunate because the collective BO of a lakh of people patiently standing in the sun for hours waiting for him, phew!

The brief stopover at Sabarmati Ashram was sorely disappointing. Trump made no mention of Mahatma Gandhi at all. It’s important to note that President Obama had said that Gandhi was his hero in the guest book at Rajghat, while Trump wrote that Modi was his good friend. Sigh

The speeches at the stadium were both predictable and boring. Unless of course you enjoy listening to two old men, who do not believe in democracy, tolerance and rule of law make sanctimonious speeches about democracy, tolerance and rule of law!

The highlights of the speeches were their accents

Modi: “I will say India-US frannsip, you will say long live.”  (He exhorted the crowd to say this, and they dutifully responded. I hope they got biscuits afterwards).

Trump: “Swami Vivek Ka Mun Nun.” (I now feel exotic, like I live in the Far East!

Finally, while Modi’s speech was his usual nonsense, Trump’s was far worse. It was in two parts: the first was the BJP manifesto, and the second was an essay on festivals in India and some bilge about Bollywood (I’m certain the White House paid a Grade 3 student to write it).

At the end of it all, who can blame me for feeling cranky and not remotely interested in whether India and America are friends or not

Also, I’m not watching news channels till Modi’s “faborit fraand Dolan” leaves India. Yes, Modi has changed Donald’s name to Dolan, but it sounds much better than his usual “Dough-Naald.”

It’s impossible to watch more of this charade. Nothing will tempt me—not even if Twitter posts news about Bajrang Dal thugs threatening to thrash Donald and Melania Trump for holding hands at the Taj Mahal.

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Published: 25 Feb 2020, 8:01 AM