Why all this uproar about Shah Rukh Khan being detained and questioned by an American immigration official? It is unfortunate, and nobody likes it when it happens, but it is a fact of life. Happens to all of us brown-skinned people all the time. So he’s a superstar in India. That does not mean an American immigration official should know him. Last I heard, SRK hadn’t been issued a diplomatic or otherwise special passport by the Government of India that would enable him to be shown some consideration, or even exemption from such procedures. (Trouble is, in India, everybody and her son-in-law probably wants – and has – that exemption, so it probably wouldn’t count for much even if he had it!)
We have all been ‘selected at random’ for special checking in the US. I have had to take off my shoes once. On another occasion, my checked-in baggage had been opened – locks and all – and a card left in which said my luggage had been ‘randomly selected’ for inspection by, if I remember right, the Transportation Security Authority. Sure. It was randomly selected from a bunch of luggage that belonged to other brown people who also had funny, foreign sounding – perhaps Ay-rab – names. Many people I know have had similar experiences. None of us liked it. But hey, shit happens. Having said that, at another time, an immigration official, on seeing I was from India, actually spent 5 minutes raving to me about how beautiful Aishwarya Rai is. Perhaps there’s a lesson for SRK in there somewhere. If you want inconsequential immigration officials in the US to recognise you, act in crappy Hollywood movies instead of crappy Bollywood movies.
And yes, neither the US government nor anyone else has asked us to bow and genuflect and generally be model servile Indians when Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and others visit India. It is just our pathetic mindset which makes us roll out the red carpet for every white jock and bimbo that visits India. Just because we do it doesn’t mean that every other country abandons its processes or procedures – whether right or wrong, justified or not is another matter; but they exist – to accommodate the million or so Indian VIPs.
Moral of the story: Don’t travel to the US if you have such a problem. Ask your friend not to shoot each and every one of his ‘Indian’ films there. And that goes for all the other people who have expressed anguished outrage over this act. I follow what I preach – I don’t visit the US unless I absolutely have to. As long as someone else can do the job, I am happy to let that person go. And when I do travel to the US, I go with the full knowledge that I will be ‘randomly selected’ for at least a closer look.
Enough with the fucking whining, already.
Another example of Indian hysterics. Some Chinese guy wrote about how it is in China’s interest to break up India into 20 or 30 states and all good Indians are up in arms! Patriotism is suddenly the flavour of the season, and what with 15th August and all that, Mera Bharat Mahan seems to be the new catch-phrase.
It is amusing to see the palpable sense of indignation over that article. Indian machismo is suddenly all around us. On various sites and fora where this article is being discussed, many comments range from the wannabe-sublime to the truly-ridiculous, but all combine typical Indian hyperbole with characteristic desi bluster: from Watch out China, we shall break you up instead, to This is not 62 and we have nukes to Boycott all Chinese goods, to Our democracy is the best to Unity in Diversity shall prevail and other such lines that would seem more at home in a book written by a certain Danish gentleman called Mr. Andersen.
How dare the Chinese try and meddle in our affairs? To them, all I can say is: Don’t presume you can do to us what we seem to excel at doing to ourselves. We don’t need you. We can do all of that ourselves. And do a better job of it at that. So there. Pfftttt.
Just be around to pick up the pieces.
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Do show your support for his initiative by visiting Indiameme.