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Prepping for Kabul

A couple of days ago, Marimuthu, my intrepid istriwallah, returned my Levi’s (circa 2002) beautifully pressed... but with a front crease. Summoning the requisite courage — you’ll know why in a bit — I called him.

‘Marimuthu,’ I said. ‘Er... you seem to have ironed my jeans with a front crease. Again. No worries, but could you iron them flat, seam to seam, the next time, er, if you don’t mind?’

‘Oh,’ responded Marimuthu after a brief pause. ‘You don’t like the way I do istri-aa, Mr Big Posh Finicky Dorai? Then go to Afghanistan, no. They’ll iron your jeans right for you. And give it a bullet washing, too, free of cost, lol!’

See, Marimuthu can’t be blamed here. He’s on Clubhouse, Insta, Twitter, etc, and is well-informed. If role models like Ramratan Payal, Hari Bhushan Thakur Bachaul and Shobha Karandlaje are asking us to go to Afghanistan when we mention rising fuel prices or women’s safety, Marimuthu is well within his rights to do so, too. Earlier, when my pyjamas came back without their nada and I brought it up, his recommended travel destination for me used to be Pakistan, of course.

Since Afghanistan appears to be the next port-of-call for several of us from the look of it, I say there is no harm in being prepared.

My first question is what is the Afghan situation on Saravana Bhavan? Are they still operational? Because I can’t go otherwise. I belong to a group — a very large one, mind you — which swore on the Gita that they would never travel to a country that doesn’t have a Saravana Bhavan. That, too, one that serves getti chutney. I request the authorities to get back on this asap.

Secondly, and I ask this after intense Googling over the last five years, where can I get my hands on the recipe to Katrina Kaif’s Afghan Jalebi? I even messaged the ultimate exotic-dish resource, Ms Padma Lakshmi, when all else failed. But, alas, got no response.

Also, in the event of us getting into what is referred to as a ‘situation’ in diplomatic circles, who will be coming to airlift us? Will it be Akshay Kumar or Kangana Ranaut? As long as you are rescued, why does it matter who it is, you may ask. It matters. Let me assure you it does. If it is Akki, I want to keep my questions on mango-farming handy and also see if I can get a refund on Smt Haasya Haddis’ books. If it is Kangana, I want to stay back and take my chances.

Next, since it used to be Pakistan not too long ago when we needed life lessons, and it is Afghanistan now, my question: using our ancient time-travel techniques (sister technologies of Vedic internet, pushpaka aircraft, and Kurukshetric nuclear warheads), why not arrange a whistle-stop tour of Cambodia, Rwanda, East Timor, Zaire, etc, too — at appropriate points in history — so ingrates like me understand once and for all how much better off we are.

But for all those advising us to go to Afghanistan, the most important question I have is this: what do I tell the innocent children there, the ones who haven’t made it across the barbed wire, and the stoic, helpless women when they look into my eyes and see me as a brother from the country of Buddha, Gandhi and Kaniyan Pungundranar the Sangam poet who said, ‘Every city is my city and everyone, my kin’?

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books and edited an anthology.


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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 4:19:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/prepping-for-kabul/article36135983.ece

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