Dear Obama ji,
Welcome to India.
(Before you bring your hands together in Namaste, let me help you to a pro-tip. Nobody in India does Namaste anymore, unless you are at a wedding greeting a million relatives. We have moved on to bae.)
I know you are a stickler for security so let me just start by saying that I took a bath using Dettol-laced water, changed into disinfected clothes and then annihilated all germs on my hands using my brand new hand sanitizer, before sitting down to write. There are weird viruses these days; you never know if one goes through my hands into the open letter and on to you. God forbid.
I hope your flight to India was comfortable and your long legs weren't too cramped. I am perhaps half your height and even I get cramped every time I fly. Sometimes I wonder if the cattle class is special to India given our reverence for cows.
(Also did you know that the first flight of an airplane was actually in India. We have a movie coming up about this. You should be able to get a DVD from any Indian store in DC.)
While you were busy planning this trip, helping Michele bhabhi pick her dresses for the various events, shopping for Hershey's and Lindt chocolate packs for us, and debating with Kal Penn and Bobby Jindal as to which of our thousands of historical monuments you should visit, we've been busy as well. Delhi has been cleaned up like the tail of the Indian cricket team by Australian bowlers. Oh well, I doubt you'd get the reference. It is cricket. It is a sport we play. But why bother talking about useless things.
I just want to thank you. Your visit has reenergised India. It is such an honor (bae please note American spelling) that you will be the chief guest at our Republic Day parade and watch flypasts of C-17 planes that we bought from you. Ever since your people vacated the Pakistan consulate in the recent season of Homeland, this must be the biggest confidence building measure between the two nations.
We have setup 15,000 CCTVs for your security. The Delhi Police has become more alert than ever. Roads have been cleaned up. Buildings have been vacated. The stray cows have been driven away. I half-suspect even the birds of New Delhi are being starved to reduce the risk of their dropping excreta in your vicinity.
You see, all of this is a bit against our character. We enjoy the liberty of stopping our car in the middle of the road and taking a leak against any random wall, unless there is a picture of our favourite god on said wall. We feel more secure when we know that the CCTVs setup on the intersections are not connected to anything. We are used to living our lives dangerously in the knowledge that our police is understaffed, underpaid and overweight.
So, thank you for helping us see this side of Delhi. It is another matter that we can't see any of it as all the roads are sealed, and traffic is expect to be a bitch so we are all just staying home waiting for you to go back. But see, you're bringing our families closer already by forcing us to spend the weekend at home. All of your thousands of security people in town are making us feel safe again. Can't you leave some of them behind? Delhi is notorious for crime against women.
Now that you've done so much for us, let me share a few tips with you to enjoy the stay in Delhi.
Modi ji is planning on gifting 100 saris to Michele bhabhi. Please make sure that he gives them after getting the 'fall' stitched on. You will struggle to find a nice tailor to do this in Washington DC.
Do not, I repeat, do not even entertain the thought of going on a panel discussion on one of our news channels. They won't let you speak and would give you an inferiority complex with their supreme intellect.
The family naan at Bukhara is massive. Only order it if Modi ji and his entire cabinet is also eating at the table. We don't like wasting food in our poor country.
Do not buy any DVDs at Palika without bargaining. Start with a third of the price they quote upfront.
Please ask your staff to keep feeding updates to the media coordinator. We Indians like to know what our guests are eating, when they went to the loo, what they are wearing and when, and so on. This helps us feel involved.
That's all I can think of. If you could add me on Whatsapp, I'll send more tips as and when I can think of. If we don't speak again, just one request. Please do keep visiting every six months. We like to see Delhi cleaned up once in a while.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.