News from the Swine & Cheese Set
Schools re-open tomorrow after a week-long break to celebrate Swine Flu Festival. H1N1, as it is called in learned circles, has monopolised the lead headlines in newspapers since last week, except for last Sunday when the lead story on front page was: Whole nation aghast that Shah Rukh Khan was detained for two hours and his bags checked at Newark Airport, NJ, USA! Oh my God, don't they know who he is? We are so pissed off! Even our government is pissed off. More pissed off than it was when they frisked our ex-president at some airport. Some even went to the extent of suggesting that we should screen all visiting American dignitaries to give them a taste of their own medicine!
But hey, welcome to racial-communal-religious profiling Mr. Superstar. It happens all the time. It happens right here in your country mate. Thousands of guys with Muslim names are targetted for special treatment. (As if a serious terrorist would travel on his real passport and a Muslim name, but.) I don't think anyone in the country you visited has any sympathy for you Mr. Superstar. Because they know that since 9/11, there has been no terrorist attack in the USA. Whereas, back home, where no one screens you, we've had them with sickening regularity...
In the same day's newspaper, buried in the inside pages, was a small news report. Elsewhere in the USA, Bob Dylan, legendary singer, was picked up by the police for moving suspiciously and checking out the houses in a waterfront neighbourhood. The cops, both in their twenties, didn't recognise him even when he told his name. Because he had no identification on him, they refused to believe his story of visiting the town for a concert. They escorted him to his hotel where he was identified by the manager and let him go off after apologising and thanking him for his co-operation.
But I stray from the Swine Flu Fest. Amidst the grim stories of infection spreading, panic spreading faster, death toll mounting, testing facilities falling short and medicines not being available, there was a gem in last week's Bombay Times on the front page:
"Among the first casualties (of H1N1) is the Luxurion World 09..."
"The grim situation in Mumbai has also taken the bounce and stride out of an End-of-batch dance presentation that Shiamak Davar's students were going to hold..."
But the Swine News of the Week Award goes to this one that comes later in the same article:
"Meanwhile the biggest blow to Mumbai would be if the Swine Flu continues to rage rampantly next month, this would necessitate the postponement of the Mumbai Fashion Week"
I am wearing a mask these days. When I read the newspapers.