India Uncut

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Butter chicken in Islamabad

"Ah, welcome, Hamid," General Musharraf tells Hamid Karzai. He escorts Karzai into the dining room, where they sit on opposite ends of a long table. (Musharraf hears a noise under the table, peeps below, and sees Osama Bin Laden. He ignores him.)

"So what will you have, Hamid?" he asks.

"I would like some butter chicken," says Karzai, "and some Hula girls. It gets lonely down in Kabul."

A pregnant pause ensues, and then delivers a clarification from Karzai.

"I was joking about the Hula girls," he says. "Just seeing if it would work on you. The last time I joked like this with the Americans, they actually sent me Hula girls. I make them chant 'Hu-La Hu-La' all day. They are most confused. Anyway, a butter chicken will do just fine."

Musharraf rings a bell on his table and a corps commander enters. "One butter chicken for Hamid," says Musharraf, "and Kashmir, I mean, a mango souffle for me. Jump to it."

"Yes sir," barks the corps commander, and jumps.

"Jump to it," Musharraf repeats. The corps commander jumps again. Musharraf sighs. "Get the food quickly, and stop jumping" he says. The corps commander, in mid-air when he comprehends the order, tries to stop jumping, but fails, and falls down. Then he gets up and troops off.

"So Hamid, how are your warlords treating you?" asks Musharraf.

"They don't treat me, we go dutch. Ha ha." Silence again. "It's a joke, a joke. The Americans get all my jokes. And they laugh, and go 'Hu-La Hu-La.' So how's Baluchistan treating you."

Musharraf snorts, and Osama also snorts under the table. Musharraf kicks him. Osama stops snorting and bites Musharraf's ankle. Musharraf kicks him with the other foot. Osama bites his other ankle. Then they both stop as they hear footsteps. The corps commander enters the room and jumps. Then he places a mango souffle in front of Musharraf.

"Delectable," says Musharraf. "These mangoes are imported all the way from Ratnagiri in India. Of course, they go to Dubai first and then they come here. It costs me a lot more, but happiness isn't free."

The corps commander then marches over to where Karzai is sitting, and puts a slab of butter in front of him.

"Hey," says Karzai, "I asked for butter chicken. What is this?"

"It's butter, sir," says the corps commander. "No chicken in this house. Here, read this."

As their conversation is a spoken one, of course, Karzai can't click on the link. So he just looks at the butter, which begins to melt under his fierce gaze. Musharraf meanwhile, is digging into his mango souffle. At least some part of India he gets.
amit varma, 1:58 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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