So I went to attend the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games last Sunday. The security was tight but civil. Long lines greeted us, but they moved quickly. It was while I was in one of those lines that a TV crew saw me. Their tough, worldly-wise, aggressive, telecorrespondent (TWAT), stuck a mike in my face:What are you doing here?’
‘Dancing the bhangra nude. On one foot. With stilettos.’
No, of course I didn’t say that.
‘Uhmm…coming to watch the Opening Ceremony’.
‘Obviously! What I mean is what are you doing here in this queue? Didn’t you get a VIP pass?’
‘There are no VIP passes ma’am. There is no hierarchy at these games. We are all Indian citizens, and we are all…’
Just then, a sardar family of 14 pushed us aside saying, ‘Arre hato, hato. We have VIP passes. We have fast track!’ And they did.
‘You were saying?’ TWAT inquired. Aggressively.
I was saying we are all…happy that some very large families have been given special passes- you know, easy passage of small children.’
Just then a phalanx of women from Kozhikode swept past, VIP passes flashing around their powdered necks.
‘Mr Bose??’ TWAT looked triumphant.
‘Oh, yes. Well I’m afraid you’ll have to excuse me. I really have to go.’ I began to look busy.
‘The Opening Ceremony.’ I whimpered. I have an invitation to the VIP stand.’
‘Yes, but you don’t have a VIP pass.’ By now, there were hundreds of people shoving past me, flashing VIP passes.
‘Why don’t you admit it, Mr Bose?’
‘Admit what?’ I shouted, struggling not to get trampled upon by a shepherd with six donkeys all with bright yellow VIP passes around their necks.
‘That you are a nobody.’
‘What nonsense! It’s not like that…’
"Oh, so you resent being a nobody?’
‘I didn’t say that…’
‘You implied it! All that earlier talk of ‘we are all the same, citizens of one country’ was all bullshit, huh?’
‘Look here, ma’am, you cannot speak to me like that…’
Just then I felt a tap on my back. It was the shepherd. He held a VIP pass. ‘Tumhare liye.’
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