Wednesday 12 August 2015

Percy - Ana Chronicles - XII: Success at home and abroad

“What you reading, Percy?”

“Catching up on the newspapers.”

“Oh, Time of India?”

“Times of India. Tabloid masquerading as broadsheet. They have a tabloid too, called Mumbai Mirror. That’s a classified catalogue masquerading as a tabloid.”

“And do they have a classified catalogue?”

“Don’t need one, the main paper has a four-page advertisement from the cover onwards.”

“So…anything interesting happening in India?”

“Always is. Generally gets buried in the back pages.”

“So what’s on the front page?”

“Google has a new CEO. Larry Page is moving to head a holding company.”

“Why is that front-page news in India?”

“New CEO is Indian. Chap named Sundar Pichai.”

“Oh that’s wonderful! Was he heading Google’s India unit?”

“Oh no, very much a part of the set-up in Silicon Valley. Was head of product development.”

“So…he’s been in America long?”

“About twenty years, give or take. Joined Google in 2004.”

“That’s interesting. Citizen of the States?”

“That’s what his Wikipedia page says.”

“Doesn’t even pay taxes in India either, I suppose?”

“Almost certainly not.”

“So…why is it front page news in India? He seems to be more American dream than Indian achievement.”

“Oh you know, Indian media loves to puff up the national chest every time an Indian does well outside India. It’s like a validation that India is still relevant.”

“Is India still relevant?”

“Big market. Loves fast food. Loads of laundered money to spend on luxury items. Yeah, India’s relevant, but not so much for individual achievements as for the collective effort of producing more children, more consistently, than any other country.”

“You’re too cynical. I’m sure there’s a lot of achievers too.”

“Yes there are. And a lot of Indian success stories too, but I wonder if they get the recognition they deserve. It’s just that we seem to celebrate the wrong one’s for the wrong reasons. Did you know they used to make a big deal out of ‘Indian pride’ when Bobby Jindal got elected as Gov. of New Orleans and then when he threw in his hat for the Republican nomination.”

~Long pause while Ana is reduced to helplessness by laughter~


“I kid you not.”

“Mister Bobby ‘I am not brown, just tanned’ Jindal?”


“Well, I suppose this guy acknowledges he’s Indian-American?”

“I’m sure he does. They are mostly rather nice chaps. But it’s time we got over the colonial mindset.”

“Oh, are you going to blame this on the British too?”

“India was not just the economic engine of the Empire, it was also it’s primary cannon fodder. My ancestors fought their wars, in Afghanistan, in Burma, in Africa, in the trenches of the two World Wars. And most importantly, against our own – Indian soldiers quelled the uprising of 1857, committed the atrocities of Jalianwala Bagh, the firing at Chauri Chaura...I could go on but I suppose these are just words to you.”

“No no, I see what you mean, Colombia had it’s Spanish colonists.”

“It’s a difficult comparison, the settlers mixed a lot more with the natives in South America, didn’t they? You’re more white than native yourself, I’m sure.”

“Yes, la chocolate blanca. Isn’t Microsoft’s CEO Indian too?”

“Yup, Satya Nadella.”

“No relation to our community manager Satya, I hope.”

“Highly unlikely.”

“Any others?”

“Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo. Another product of the American Dream. Good for her, you know, and for the others too.”

“At any rate, you could do worse than celebrate their success, you know. If you make a list of famous Colombians, a significant majority would be criminals and guerrillas. Escobar, Barrera, Vargas.”
Daniel 'El Loco' Barrera
Erikson Vargas
Pablo Escobar

“Hah! True that, but at least they would be home-grown success stories!”

“I’ll give you that. Pour you some wine?”

“Sure. The point is, Indians have always made model mercenaries for foreign powers. If that’s what we choose to celebrate, then more power to us.”

“All right, let’s drink to great Indian mercenaries.”

“All hail the new Empire.”


  1. Hahaha! The problem of Indians - the ones who go out and succeed want to hide their Indianness under a bushel and the pesky guys back home, having just realized that these guys existed, want to shout it out to all the world :)