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Headless Mike & Upset Ed

india Updated: Aug 26, 2007 00:37 IST
Indrajit Hazra

Ed has in the past pointed to India’s chumminess with Iran, citing New Delhi’s statement that nuclear research and development is a “basic inalienable right” of Teheran’s, writes Indrajit Hazra.

Remember Mike the Headless Chicken? Well, despite my short-term memory losses comparable only to Sitaram Yechury’s (“I don’t see a crisis. Where was it and where has it gone?”), I do remember Mike, technically, the headless rooster. I bring him up in this sacred space to highlight a prime example of the will to live in one of God’s creatures (read: Nature’s freaks) on the occasion of Mike’s 60th death anniversary.

On September 10, 1945, Clara Olsen of Colorado asked her husband Lloyd to start proceedings for the evening’s dinner. Lloyd, dutiful husband that he was, went outside the house, grabbed a chicken from the chicken pen and, taking care to get as much of the neck under the blade as possible, decapitated the still-unnamed chicken. Lloyd went inside to do what chicken-killers do while chickens finish doing what they do after losing their heads. But hours later, the Olsens found the chosen chicken resting in a corner with its head under its wing. They immediately called the tough little bird Mike. And the rest, as they say, was touring shows, write-ups in Time and Life magazines, and an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.

When Mike died in a motel room in Phoenix in March 1947 — after the Olsens had misplaced the eye-dropper with which they fed Mike through his oesophagus — the University of Utah conducted a post-mortem on the mighty chicken that had lived 18 months without a head. Apparently, even though much of his head had been lopped off, the blade had missed Mike’s jugular vein and brain stem, the seat of reflex actions and much else. So apart from the business of being fed through the entry point of his oesophagus — something that sounds vaguely Hugh Hefner-ish — Mike led a healthy, fruitful life. So no matter what the scriptures say, to be compared to Mike the Headless Chicken is, I think, a matter of pride.

But if we’re talking about Mike the Headless Chicken, how can we not talk about Ed the Massachusetts Congressman. Democrat Ed Markey (“Proudly serving the 7th District of Massachusetts”), some reliable rogue Chinese operatives tell me, is very upset with the India-US nuclear deal. “The Bush administration claims it is seeking nuclear cooperation,” thunders Ed in his August 13 press release, “But in reality, the agreement it negotiated is ‘nuclear capitulation’ to India’s every wish. Prime Minister Singh’s comments today are yet another indication that this agreement does not comply with the law Congress wrote and passed last year, the Hyde Act.”

Ed has in the past pointed to India’s chumminess with Iran, citing New Delhi’s statement that nuclear research and development is a “basic inalienable right” of Teheran’s. (He thought it wise to keep mum about Manmohan Singh’s statement that it is “incumbent upon Iran to exercise these rights in the context of safeguards...”.)

Anyway, masochist Ed wants the accord scrapped because he thinks that the US is getting a raw deal. But hang on, doesn’t Prakash Karat want the accord scrapped because he thinks that India is getting a raw deal? We have the curious situation here.

I propose that Manmohan Singh showcase Ed Markey’s take on the US deal here in Pokhranland to advertise the fact that Americans hate the deal because they’ve been duped by the Indians. George Bush, on the other hand, can showcase Prakash Karat’s take in Los Alamosland to advertise the fact that India will become a client state after the deal becomes operational. Or even better, Ed Markey can spout his stuff in roadshows across India, while Prakash Karat becomes a regular fixture in Hay Pride parades till Halloween.

I’m no Dr Kakodkar, but methinks it’s all about feeding the public that has an embedded oesophagus with a metaphorical eye-dropper.

Little lead-lining hoods

While we rub our hands with (adulterated) ghee while following the news of Chinese goods being recalled from America, let me simply say that as the late leg-spinner Subhash Gupte would have observed, “Our chinaman is not their Chinaman.” Which makes it my duty to warn fellow Bengali and preposition-dropper Pranab Mukherjee that thousands of Left supporters are preparing to harm themselves outside Parliament while the nuclear deal debate is underway if the Indo-US accord is not immediately scrapped.

How will they do it? My reliable rogue Chinese operatives tell me that they all plan to flip out a Chinese toy car and proceed to lick it. How’s ‘Better Lead Than Dead’ for a headline?