DC: Hello again, viewers! [Putting on lipstick and fussing with her hair] This is Decibella Chatterjee, your guest hostess on Collide-o-Scope TV. As you know, Collide-o-Scope, the Indian kam-unity channel that brings you opposing viewpoints and conflicting personalities, of which there are plenty in your community – almost as much as there is in India. As we say, hamari vaja se community mein kam unity hai.
My guests today are an Indian community activist, and a leader of the Hispanic youth movement. On my left is Mr. Rampant, who wants to improve the image of India in the Western news media.
RP: Madam, you are almost as bad as the Western news media. My name is not Rampant, it is Ram Pant.
DC: [aside to the Cameraman] Who cares? [to Ram Pant] Pardon me, Mr. Pant. What do you have against the news media?
RP: First of all, they are ignorant; secondly, they are arrogant. Apart from that, I have nothing against them.
DC: We’ll get to a more detailed explanation from you in a moment. Meanwhile, on my right is Senor Balboa Belmondo.
BB: No, no! Ah am Seńor Bubba Bullmondo. Ah walk like a bubba, ah talk like a bubba, ah AM a bubba. Ah am also el presidente of organization is called Save Hispanic Interests Totally.
RP: So the abbreviation must be S – H--
BB: [glares at RP] Mah organization is always known by its full name, never by its initials.
DC: [spelling it out] Save – Hispanic -- Interests --Totally! Oh, we can’t say that on TV … [to BB] So, Señor, our viewers really appreciate you taking the time to appear on an Indian community TV program.
BB: Mah pleasure. After all, we’re fighting the towel heads over there, so I thought we might as well get to know the towel heads over hear…
RP: What do you mean, towel heads? Just because some Indians wear a turban, don’t confuse us with the Afghan people.
BB: What Ah want to know is – why are we fighting a war with Halfghanistan? Why don’t we fight the whole country?
DC: But half the country is in the hands of our allies. Only the other half is controlled by our enemies.
BB: Then why don’t we let them fight each other for a while, then go in and clean out the survivors? Anyway, why were they so anxious to capture the Mother of the Sheriff? Just what did the poor lady do?
DC: Mother of the Sheriff? You mean, Mazar-I-Sharif? That was a strategic town, whose capture allowed us to capture more towns.
BB: Why capture all those towns? They don’t even have a Taco Bell over there! Now, forget the towns, what Ah want to capture are a few of those towel head señoritas…
DC: You mean, you have designs on the Afghan women?
BB: Si, si.
RP: I don’t see. Please explain.
BB: Take off their bukras—
DC: You mean, their burkas? Their veils?
BB: Yeah, that’s what Ah mean. Take off the veils, dress up them young ladies in leather skirts and high heels, drink some tequila, play some salsa music, party all night, siesta all day…
RP: That’s your solution to Afghanistan’s troubles? Replace the Taliban with MTV?
BB: What’s not to like about MTV, man? Anyhoo, Osama’s not the problem…
RP: What do you mean, Osama is not the problem?
BB: I mean, the problem is not Osama been leadin’, the problem is them Halfghanis been followin’.
DC: Viewers, at this point we break away for a commercial. [Ads come on Safar with Us travel agency. RP and BB look at each other in frustration. DC is unperturbed. Interviews are interrupted for a dance. After the break] Now, where were we?
RP: Madam, you are wasting your time with this gentleman. Interview me, instead. I will speak to your viewers. After all, I am Indian. And speech was invented in India.
DC: What makes you say that?
RP: Why else do we talk more, and do less, than any other people in the world? It is just that we have had more practice.
BB: Speech! Did you ever invent anything else, man?
RP: Of course we did. In addition to speech, we also invented zero and the decimal system of numbers. That is why I often say that, besides speech, our contribution to humanity is zero.
DC: You said it, not me!
RP: Not so fast, Miss Coconut!
DC: What do you mean, coconut?
RP: Brown on the outside, white on the inside.
DC: Mr. Pant, do you always talk irrespectively to the news media?
RP: The media in the West, especially here in Amreeka, don’t pay enough attention to India; when they do mention us, it is only to play up disasters like a train derailment, or boat sinking, or a building collapsing. Western media don’t tell their readers/viewers/listeners about all the wonderful progress in science, technology and the arts made by people in India.
DC: Give me an example.
RP: The periodic table of elements.
BB: [tapping his head with a finger] Loco! Mucho loco!
DC: What do you mean by that?
RP: Western media tell you the periodic table was invented by a western scientist called Dmitri Mendeleev ..
DC: Actually, I believe he was Russian …
RP: Russian, Prussian, Simian, same difference. All westerners; the correct attribution is an Indian scientist called Damodar Mandelia.
BB: Madre de Dios!
DC: Do you really have any proof?
RP: Look at the chemical symbol for potassium –it is K. Now where is the letter K in the name potassium? But if you think of the most common source of potassium, it is a banana – kela in Hindi, which starts with a K.
DC: Anything else?
RP: Look at the symbol for sodium – NA, which is clearly Not Applicable. But the common source of sodium is salt, which is Namak in Hindi.
DC: What else did our illustrious, but not illustrated, ancestors contribute?
BB: They had nuclear weapons, as described in the Ramayan and the Mahabharat, except that in Sanskrit the weapons were called astras; which alluded to the stars. Not only that, ancient Indians even performed brain surgery.
DC: Why wasn’t this known to the west?
RP: We didn’t tell the westerners about brain surgery because they didn’t have anything to perform surgery on. Besides, they refused to sign an ineffectual -- I mean, intellectual -- property rights agreement.
DC: There is nothing intellectual, proper, or right about this statement. I am putting an end to this. This is Decibella Chatterjee, wishing all our viewers a good day. Camraj, kala bahar, please. [Cameraman looks puzzled.] Black out!