The Investigator

Shovon Chowdhury | Updated on February 28, 2020

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In news described as “setting new standards in hospitality” by International Etiquette Magazine, officials of the Indian government used giant fans to blow away smoke from burning buildings during the dinner hosted for President Donald Trump. “We were also worried about the noise,” said a senior official. “We offered him very small noise-cancelling headphones, which he could wear under his toupee, but he refused. Melania already had her own pair. She wears them while travelling with the president.”


Undaunted by the early setbacks on the audio front, the government addressed the smoke issue on a war footing. While crowds cheered Trump in Gujarat, activity in Delhi had already begun. A Ludhiana-based fan manufacturer was appointed to manufacture the fans, which were to be mounted on giant pedestals. The fans were painted orange, in honour of Trump. “Initially the manufacturer was very reluctant,” said the official. “But after receiving notices for non-payment of GST dues he became more helpful.” According to government sources, the fans were placed in a circular pattern across the parts of Delhi occupied by the ruling classes. “We have become quite expert at keeping the public out of these areas, but keeping smoke out was a challenge at a whole new level,” said a senior police officer. “We must compliment the fire department for their support. They used their fire hoses to disperse the tear gas. We helped them out with our water cannons. Traditionally, they are deployed to keep protestors away from VIP areas. The constables enjoy using them on people and they are good for the morale. Squirting in the air is not quite the same. Some have pointed out that we could have used them elsewhere during this period. But no sacrifice is too great when the prestige of the nation is at stake.”

Some of those who are fighting anti-nationals have cast doubts on the government narrative. “I never saw any fans,” said Krishna Kumar, a butcher from Gorakhpur, who recently turned vegetarian. “What the government is suggesting is very insulting. It’s as if we don’t care for the image of the country. Whenever we set fire to anything, we did so when the wind was blowing in the opposite direction. We did not use loudspeakers while shouting slogans. Even the police were very conscious. When they handed us stones, they gave us only small ones, to minimise disturbance. Learning from their example, we also focused on attacking only small places of worship.”

All this effort has not been in vain. When contacted by this correspondent, President Trump expressed satisfaction with his India visit, despite the lack of non-veg food. “I was very touched by the huge reception from Naredan and Ambit, especially the bonfires,” he said, “I’ll be coming back to the great nation of Hindu again very soon.”


What started with high hopes has ended in tears for Haskhush Patel, owner of Tasty Treats, a reputed sweet shop in Ahmedabad. He and his family had toiled hard to create a life-size replica of US president Donald Trump, made out of dhokla. “It made sense because both are orange,” said Patel.


“Excessive moisture was a problem during the carving process, but we were able to overcome it by squeezing.” Tragedy struck early Monday, just before the presidential visit, when a cow, described by eyewitnesses as “maddened with hunger”, escaped from a gaushala, broke into the sweet shop, overpowered security guards and consumed the president in toto. “Only his wig was left,” said the unfortunate owner. “It was constructed out of soan papri. It must have been too sweet.” Ironically, the gaushala from which the cow escaped was also owned by Patel. “I bitterly regret the day I decided to diversify,” he said. “They were providing large sums of money for feeding cows, and I thought, how much can a cow eat anyway, this could be a lucrative business. I may have underestimated the food requirement, leading to this tragedy. Some of my more intellectual friends say that it is difficult to digest Trump as the president of America, but the cow did not seem to have any difficulty.”


The Ahmedabad Karate Club has seen a surge in membership since the arrival of US First Lady Melania Trump, after she disembarked at the airport in full karate costume, including a green belt. Her arrival was widely reported and greeted warmly by karate enthusiasts across the world, especially in Ahmedabad, where enthusiasm was compulsory.


“We doubled our fees but the demand remains high,” said a jubilant Pyarelal Mehta, secretary and treasurer-for-life. “The best part is she did not charge any money. Earlier we were considering inviting Deepika Padukone, but we were unable to afford her fees. Then we considered Ranveer Singh, who was slightly more economical, but there was some reluctance amongst senior members, due to his association with Muslim invader Khilji. Now our problem is solved. This selfless act by Mrs Trump will cause a massive increase in the popularity of karate in Gujarat, leading to greater fitness and much-needed weight loss. I am particularly pleased because I also sell karate clothing. I am confident that fortune will smile on me, particularly if people wear them as dandiya costumes.” In recognition of her efforts, the Karate Club will host a felicitation ceremony in Motera stadium. “We will perform aarti in front of her photograph,” said Mehta. “We will all wear orange in honour of her husband. We feel close to him. As soon as we saw his skin colour, we realised that he was one of us.”

Shovon Chowdhury is chief Truthdigger and author of Murder with Bengali Characteristics

The Investigator is a monthly round-up of all things droll and newsy. All views are personal. Really personal. @shovonc

Published on February 28, 2020

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