Saturday Story 4: Paasa Palat Gaya
It was a blustery winter morning, with no sun in the sky, the kind of day New England is famous for. Christopher Columbus junior sighed. He placed his nose on the frosty window pane and blinked. Soon, very soon, he would leave this wretched country for the land of opportunity. Where the sun shone brightly, at all times.
“India… here I come,” he said to himself, patting his blonde hair, fragrant with coconut oil.
For months, or well, years, Christopher Columbus has been preparing for this day. When his F1 visa from the Embassy of India got approved. As a child, he had watched Bollywood films, full of special characters like Ganesha, the elephant God and Kali, the avenger of all avengers. But his favourite was Krishna, the handsome, playful and All-Knowing One.
If only I had that beautiful dark skin, Chris thought to himself, when he looked into the mirror each morning. But no, he was stuck with that pale Caucasian complexion, and freckles! No amount of Dark and Lovely cream could make him look brown enough… The one thing he could do, however, was change his name. Don’t call me Christopher, I’m Krishna, he declared to his parents.
Martha looked at her son, with bemusement. He didn’t even like her cooking anymore. Steaks and pizzas were left untouched, so she had no choice but to watch Youtube and learn Indian recipes. Maggi 2-minute sevaiyyan and Beti Crocker gaajar ka halwa were saviours. Yet, many a day, Chris… oops Krishna… would swiggy it from the nearest Wada King.
“Ma… there is only one Silicon Valley… and it’s not in this backward country,” he would say to her.
Indeed, the world’s biggest innovators and inventors were in India. A few of them visited the top colleges of New England, such as Inca Institute of Technology, to offer jobs. But it was a much better idea to go study there. The best minds in the world congregated at Nalanda, Takshila, Powai, Vastrapur, Lhasa and Lahore.
Of course, Chris knew those were out of his league. With his Gyaan Raashifal Exam score, he could only secure admission in the Computer Vidya course at Begusarai University. But oh, the town looked so cute. He would play with the cows who roamed the streets freely, make friends with the dogs. Fresh, organic food was always available and endless ghee and butter too.
In the gurukul, he would meet students from the United States of Bharat, and the rest of the world. They had special facilities for foreigners – especially those from developing countries – to help them acclimatise. Well, Krishna had no intention of joining these narrow ethnic associations. He would much rather make friends with the locals, and more so, the pretty pretty girls.
“If only I can woo one of them, marry her, and settle down permanently…” he mused.
A job at Guggal, the world’s largest search engine, 2 lovely brown-skinned children and a 4 bheega zameen house in beautiful Mountain View, Himachal Pradesh. Life would be a dream, come true.
Chris was jolted back into the present, by a ping on his Seb phone. The Indian government, headed by a new Prime Minister with orange hair, had just made a declaration. No more F1 visas to be issued, until further notice. Too many hungry immigrants, taking away jobs and buying up property. Making it difficult for brown-skins to prosper.
A tear trickled down Krishna’s eye… how could the world be so unfair?
As he stuffed his face with paani puri at the nearest McDona’s, he reflected. The leader of the free world had just poked a hole into his future, and gulped it down with a resounding crunch.
The orange haired one trumpeted later that day, from his official handle…
“A pani puri a day keeps coronavirus away. Khoob khao aur mast raho. Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyaan, Jai Hind.”
Krishna shook his head, sadly. The Great Indian Dream, shattered by an idiot. A man who does not know the proper application of mehendi on his hair… How can he apply his mind to bigger things!
Don’t miss the audio file: Inside the Author’s Mind – Why I wrote ‘Paasa Palat Gaya’.