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  Opinion   Columnists  06 May 2023  Krishna Shastri Devulapalli | Do you know who we are, Europe?

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli | Do you know who we are, Europe?

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a humour writer, novelist, columnist and screenwriter
Published : May 7, 2023, 12:05 am IST
Updated : May 7, 2023, 12:05 am IST

Don’t forget we had pushpaka vimanams. Imagine if we decided to bring them back. What would happen to your airlines and visa fees? Lol!

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As we speak, in a cabin on the Swiss Alps, unmindful of the howling blizzard outside, five men sporting thick jackets and ruddy cheeks are hovering over a crackling wood fire, tension writ large on their furrowed brows. They are M/s Sven Bjorg, Leonardo Bertolucci, Alain Belmondo, Ludwig Becker and Pablo Banderas, members of The Secret Schengen Visa Committee That Meets In Cabins To Discuss Important Matters.

The subject of the hushed conference: the sentiments of our ancient nation. We can’t understand a word they’re saying because they are speaking in Swedish, Italian, French, German and Spanish respectively. But we’re lucky: there are subtitles.  

Bjorg: Chetan has spoken. We need to do something immediately.

Belmondo: Yes, otherwise they will cancel our wines.

Bertolucci: Do you know pizza is the second most ordered dish in that great land? Our mission to overtake biryani on Swiggy cannot fail at this point.

Becker: Yes, I heard many of their BMW crashes can be traced back to the drivers drinking French wine and eating pizza while driving.

Banderas: What if Hrithik tells people not to come to our La Tomatino?
Well, I may have a taken a bit of artistic licence there. But something along these lines has to be happening somewhere in Europe. Because, as Sven Borg put it so eloquently, Chetan Bhagat has spoken and that means India has.

In a recent article, India’s most-loved writer, second only to Veda Vyasa in popularity, gave that all-purpose ‘tight slap’ to those continental curmudgeons who are making our travel plans near-impossible by demanding far too much from us for a simple visa.

Who do they think they are, he asked, to give us this ‘shabby treatment’ when it is ‘2023’ and ‘we can transfer large sums of money on our phones, order any item from a shirt to a car, share our location, upload files, buy tickets, watch live matches, make videos all on our phone’, give us ‘a tedious collation of endless paperwork’ and ‘interview wait times (which) can go up to a year’?

He doesn’t hold back, our Chetan. ‘We Indians are not crooks,’ he argues most emphatically. ‘We won’t submit fake bank statements’, nor is everyone here a ‘doubtful, sketchy, freeloader who will squat there and never leave’. Barely have the Europeans recovered from this fusillade of literary punches when our Five-Point quillmeister, god bless him, delivers a velvet-gloved upper-cut to their collective chin: ‘European companies are perfectly happy selling their products — cars, electronics, chocolates — to Indians. (Yet) somehow when an Indian wants to visit, he or she is humiliated with this cumbersome, risky, outdated and expensive process.’

‘India is not a third-world country’ he adds in the end, with the best sign-off of all: ‘We Indians treat our guests as equivalent of God. At least treat us like trustworthy human beings.’

The way I see it, it’s only a matter of time before the European Union, shaken out of its complacency by this rocket from our Pasha of Pensters, begins a door-to-door service where Austrians will be competing with Hungarians, and Greeks will be tripping over the Polish to push their visas down our throats, saying ‘You must visit us soon, okay, promise? Mother promise?’

As a writer (who has sold less copies of his book than Mr Bhagat’s security guard), I am totally behind him. And this is what I have to add — listen, Continentals, it’s about time you began seeing past the biased data that diabolically puts us at the bottom of the employment, per-capita income, education, environment indices. They are bogus. We will not leave India come what may. Every day some of us are told to go to Pakistan. But do we go? No, sir.

We only want to come to your countries to take selfies to upload on Insta, speak exclusively in Telugu, Gujarati or Bengali at breakfast buffets making your people choke on their dry toast, drink ourselves stupid and heckle our hosts.

Also, if this is some kind of retaliation for foreigners being gypped, harassed, mugged or molested in our country, those are rare occurrences, I say. (In big, big countries, such small, small things happen.) Our tagline is Atithi Devo Bhava. We regularly enclose foreigners in bear hugs. Go watch the news. Women are treated like goddesses here. Bollywood songs constantly have loads of European women dancing in the background, for god’s sake. What more proof do you want of our hospitality?

I know you guys, being petty and all, will bring up our bank scams. That, too, is completely overstated. Only a few people did it. It’s just that they did it large-scale. The average Indian is scrupulously honest. See the number of people taking the ultimate step when they haven’t been able to repay their loans.  

Look at our ancient culture and glorious past, no, instead of going on harping on irrelevant things? We invented plastic surgery. We defeated the Mughals in the syllabus. We are on the verge of becoming a ten-trillion-dollar economy. Keeravani got an Oscar.

Don’t forget we had pushpaka vimanams. Imagine if we decided to bring them back. What would happen to your airlines and visa fees? Lol!

So, listen to Chetan, for god’s sake. My twenty-fifth wedding anniversary is coming up and I want to spend it with my classmates in Amsterdam. (The wife will be going to Kashi, of course, to pray for my longevity.)

Tags: swiss alps, la tomatino