Snowden on Poke T-shirt of the day

Snowden on Poke T-shirt of the day

Where’s Edward Snowden?

President Morales says Snowden was not on his plane. Some journalists feel he is nowhere to be found in the Transit area of Moscow airport too. And no, I’m not trying to investigate and find out where he is. This is because I just happened to throw in the drift bottle in WeChat and of all the people in the world it was Snowden who caught it and sent me an invite to chat.

‘Where are you?’ I punched in with all the speed I could manage. After all, this is one fact that anyone would want to know.

‘I’m in the middle of nowhere but wanted to ask you a few questions about Ram Rajya,’ he asked.

Ram Rajya? I knew he was probably talking about India but surely not as it exists in 2013. However, to make sure, I went out on our seventh floor balcony and tried to see if we still qualified to be called a Ram Rajya. All I saw was a maid in some distant apartment throw out household rubbish deliberately aimed to land in another balcony below theirs but a little to the side.

Ah! I thought, this is probably what corporates call targeted sabotage! Nothing wrong with that… after all these are well-revered business tactics. And anyway, Chanakya would’ve approved of them. So what if he is a few thousand years ahead of Ram.

I looked further and saw a teenager transfer a blob of gum from his mouth to the top centre of the rear windshield of an Audi in the parking below. He then picked up a small but probably sharp stone and begin to scratch a large heart with a slightly awkward arrow piercing it. Hmmm… I thought about this again and concluded that this too qualified us as Ram Rajya.

‘But this is vandalism,’ you might protest.

No, this isn’t vandalism. This is an art form that needs to be encouraged because without it we would all feel our freedom is curbed. Look at Singapore and ask them how they miss spitting out chewing gum on the streets! Or how much they miss ‘spontaneous art’ that you are conveniently calling vandalism! Come on, this guy is just expressing his spontaneity and is probably converting that bland Audi into a veritable art-piece!

I went back to the PC and wrote to Snowden that India has Ram Rajya. He was probably visibly excited as his next question was even more perplexing. He asked: ‘I hope the Ram Rajya in India is ideal in all aspects?’

I wrote back, ‘Of course. Ask any of our Netas here and they will say things are no less than ideal. You’re a bit late now, but had you asked Bahuguna how the security for pilgrims was in Badrinath and Kedarnath, he’d have used this word ten times. We know how vital this word is, Edward. We do sometimes confuse ideal with idle… but then Ram Rajya embraces everyone.’

Snowden immediately wrote: ‘No, I was reading that in Ram Rajya everyone is an ideal brother, an ideal husband, an ideal friend, an ideal son, an ideal enemy… you get what I mean? I’m just trying to say that I want to be an ideal citizen in an ideal country.’

I took in a deep breath and wrote, ‘But India has refused to give you asylum.’

‘I know,’ he wrote back, ‘but I read a tweet that asked me to go to Bangladesh and then walk to India across the border and get a passport, voter ID, ration card, Aadhar card without any problems. Is this the ideal way to become an Indian?’

I knew then that Snowden was serious about entering India. So I sent him another tweet that Richa Bhardwaj ?@Riczb had tweeted a while back: ‘Dear Edward ?#Snowden, the best way to get political asylum in India is to come via a boat, kill few people and say I belong to Pakistan.’

Snowden was by now excited, for he wrote, ‘Ah! So I can enter from the East as well as the West.’

‘Even the North and the South are equally auspicious,’ I wrote, ‘you just might relish the trek into India with the Chinese soldiers who do their shopping in our country and then go back to their own massive hell. Or you can have an idyllic time with the LTTE learning some guerrilla discipline and then hop into our country and become a CSK fan!’

‘I’m excited now. Your country is so like a movie.’

‘Yes, we do have Hollywood directors here wooing camels in Rajasthan.’

Snowden then came tumbling back to his obsession with Ram Rajya and asked, ‘I also want to know if people accept righteousness in India and if they are also true to their word.’

‘It is Ram Rajya here,’ I replied, ‘You should know that we recite ‘Shantihi’ thrice because it tells us of multiple paths converging into one. Rama is a singularity and when we merge into him we become one. This is Ram Rajya.’

I didn’t tell him, of course, that we followed this spiritual law in everything. Look around you and you’ll see money and prosperity converging into one. As we move up in power or position, we become veterans in the practice of this technique of convergence. The ‘one’ gets bigger and heftier… look at the cut-outs of Jayalalitha, if you don’t believe me.

I also wrote to Snowden, ‘Forgot to tell you that you’re right in saying that righteousness is vital for Ram Rajya. Just try and locate that video where you see a few politicians asserting their right to brand stranded Uttarakhand pilgrims as their own. You’ll know that we have given righteousness a very modern meaning that makes it so easy to understand. I mean, you’d find it so difficult to understand a word like ‘maryada purshottam’, wouldn’t you?’

‘Yes, I would. Thank you so much for proving that India is the real Ram Rajya where I need to be. You see, when I see something, I say something. This is what Obama and his cronies don’t seem to be appreciating.’ Even WikiLeaks ?@wikileaks tweeted that the Obama admin “is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the  constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.” So India should just work out for me.’

Before I could type out that India is ideal for Snowden, he sent me another message that read: ‘All I want is that I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest.’

Now this is something that we excel in. The public is always interested in watching and hearing and reading about the Rambos, Dumbos, and the Scambos. It’s all in public interest, baba. Theek hai?

So I wrote back, ‘You’ll be in safe hands here. We don’t ever seem to have lasting political offences here. I mean, it is ok if you’re sent to explore Tihar for a few months in your lifetime. Look at Kalmadi and Kanimozhi and even Raja… we’re all, in fact, waiting for them to write their first fiction based on their stay there.’

‘Yes, I remember your Nehru did it… but that was ages back.’

‘You’re so perceptive, Edward!’

‘So it is Ram Rajya in India?’

‘Yes,’ I wrote, ‘it is Ram Rajya in India.’


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Arvind Passey
Published in on 03 July 2013