Tuesday, November 28, 2017

They poisoned my friends for Ivanka

I was born in an alleyway under a hot Indian sun. My mother left me young, and ever since I have roamed the streets of Hyderabad and scavenged to stay alive. In the nights, I sleep under streetlights. When it rains I take shelter in open garages behind cardboard boxes. I live free and easy, but get kicked and beaten, shooed and shouted at often. As a stray dog I am a public nuisance, but I have some rights. I can be captured and neutered, but cannot be killed.

I am not alone. I have a posse of friends who roam with me. I also have human colleagues who live like me, begging at traffic lights and temples for a cup of tea and a slice.

Two days ago my human counterparts were rounded up and asked to stay out of sight. About the same time, some in my posse went missing. There were rumors that many were vanishing across the city. There was fear spreading. Then I saw the streets being spruced up, trash being cleared and potholes repaired. Men in uniform were in places I had never seen before. And then I saw a friend in a garbage dump discarded like rotten meat. Someone said we were being poisoned around the city because Ivanka Trump would be visiting soon. The local government decided the image of beggars and stray dogs is too harsh for her soft eyes, so we have to be made invisible so her visit can be as painless as possible.

Unlike myself, Ivanka Trump was born into luxury. Daughter of a real estate bigwig, she had only seen gilded ceilings and gold everywhere she turned. At a young age she began walking the catwalks and joined the glitterati of Manhattan. Later she was absorbed into her father's real estate business and sat next to him on TV as he fired people on his make believe reality show. With all that money she launched her own line of fashion items for the rich, which included clothes, handbags, shoes, and accessories. She then married another real estate bigwig named Jared Kushner, converted to Judaism and became a mother of three children. Ivanka Trump became the elite among elites, and carefully manicured her image with good looks and championing some worthy causes adding the word "philanthropist" to her vitae.

So why is this princess coming to my city I wondered. Is it to taste the world famous Biryani? Well, when her father became president, she being the favorite of his five children, was automatically bound for the White House. Being a woman, the hope was that she would soften the brash and boorish man that had become president with good looks and charm. She would be the voice of reason and champion causes that would maybe bring some of his detractors, mainly women, into the tent. But that hope died fast for many.

So her father gave her and her husband a close seat at the table. People cried nepotism, but that did not shake the steadfast president. Since he could not give them official positions, he made them both "Advisors to the President". Which basically means, if you want favors from the President of the United States of America visa vie the government, all you have to do is get on the good side of Ivanka or Jared and maybe they will put in a word for you and your agenda.

And so when my Prime Minister visited the United States, he invited Ivanka Trump to co-host the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and it is said she obliged with delight as it would be her first official high level outing. She saw this as an opportunity to highlight women entrepreneurs, as she considered herself to be one. And also take a trip to a part of the world she claimed she had visited only once before. Many took this opportunity to point out that many of the products sold on her fashion website were probably manufactured in this part of the world and not America, which is where her father would have liked them to be. At least this is what he keeps bellowing in his speeches "America First"!! Make America Great Again !!

And so Ivanka Trump landed in my city with no significant official title, other than that of an "advisor" and was treated like royalty. My Prime Minister breaking all protocol, welcomed her like a head of state. Her 350-member delegation is hosted at the taxpayers' expense. Photo-ops with the Prime Minister are all over the media as men in white bow and shake hands with this Trump princess.

With her $3500 dress she turned on her charm offensive and gave a speech to loud applause. Incorporating pseudo feminism in her talk, to fit the theme of the summit "Women First, Prosperity for all" she charmed everyone with her propensity to form complete sentences and coherent ideas, which her father so severely lacks. My Prime Minister then went on his usual rant, quoting from Hindu mythology and touting his wonderful achievements in order of preference. Unlike her father, Princess Trump did not offend anyone with her remarks and everyone was swooned by the Ivanka glow and it was palpable even on TV.

Then the roads were all cleared for her motorcade to pass through a city which is fraught with traffic on a daily basis. Making it worse for the denizens of Hyderabad she breezed through streets with no beggars or us stray dogs in sight. Falaknuma Palace, the palace of the Nizam, was on lock down to wine and dine her. My city for all practical purposes was shut down for just an advisor to the president of America.

As I mourn the death of my compatriots, I am aware that in a land where the price of humans is cheap, I cannot expect much for "man's best friend". I am always aware that being allowed to live is a daily miracle. While the coming of Ivanka put a dent in my population, she left a much bigger dent on my states' coffers. It is what it is.