Dear Manavas, Danavas, Daityas and others, welcome to Indraprastha, the capital of the great nation of Bharatvarsha, on this bright and sunny New Year’s Day of 2130. I am your tour guide. I hope you had a pleasant flight — Air Aryavarta is second to none, all its planes built by Boeing to the exact specifications of the ancient Pushpak Vimana. Please board the rath so that we can start the yatra.
We at Mahabharata Tours have a great itinerary for you. Many of you have come from faraway cities such as Paris and Rome, which we know by their ancient names of Pari and Ramu. Relax and enjoy the ride, we Bharatvarshians are known for our hospitality.
We are now going down Yajnavalkya Avenue. To our right, through Vibhishana Boulevard, are the gleaming towers of Gurugram, the ancient place gifted to Guru Dronacharya by the Pandavas. Next to it is Thumbnagar, where Eklavya’s thumb landed after he cut it off. On the left is the army cantonment. You can see the Gandiva, the Sudarshana Chakra, the Gadas, the Vajras and Brahmastras stacked up there.
We are now in Dhridharathaasraya-Dhridhakarmaavu Kunj, named after two Kaurava princes who ran away from the battle and spent their last days here making sausages. Unfortunately nobody lives here because they can’t pronounce the name of the place. On our left is our tallest skyscraper, the Dddhritirashtra Towers. The two extra Ds are for numerological purposes.
Here are the famous Parliament buildings. There’s a huge tussle on about renaming the Lower House Danav Sabha and the Upper House Deva Sabha. That building on my left is the Ministry of Renaming and there being carried in that palanquin is the Minister for Nomenclature. That hall is the Ministry for the Eradication of Beef, next to Manusmriti Bhavan, the site where a famous sage called Manu fell for a great educationist called Smriti. His love was unrequited and Manu finally wed Tanu, twice.
We will now have lunch at your hotel, the JW Marriottgriha. All the Marriottgriha hotels bear the initials JW — their full name is Jambudvipa Wala Marriottgriha. It has a very nice Booze-alaya.
After lunch, we shall take you to see the Saffron Fort; the needle formerly known as the Qutb Minar, used for sewing by Bakasura; the place where the ancient sage Kripacharya ate a McVeggie burger, on which a structure called Humayun’s tomb was later built; and many other historical sites. We will see the new bridge across the Yamuna built on the model of the bridge to Lanka made by the monkeys. We will show you Noidasura, named after an ancient asura called Noida, who speculated in real estate. You will see Jambuvan National University, JNU for short. At Gurugram we will see some gated communities — Beverly Hillsalaya, Manhattanattalika and Malibu Prasada.
And finally we will visit the giant statue built in honour of the man who started it all — a chief minister called ML Khatotkach. Rumour has it his name was originally Khattar, so he naturally wanted to Sanskritise it and being an ardent admirer of Ghatotkach, he changed it to Khatotkach. We owe him so much.
(Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint . The views expressed are personal)