After much effort and struggle you have the US visa in your pocket. Besides, you now represent my country. Hence this unsolicited advice on what not to say and do in the US. As far as doing is concerned, there is nothing to worry about, since you are a man of many words and minimal action.
But your words leave a lasting and painful impact.
When you speak about climate change, please do not speak extempore. It can be disastrous. Read from the note given by your officers. It is safer. You could get away by floating your banal climate change theory of getting old and blaming it on the changing climate, on Teacher’s Day because of innocent children and a doting media. International media may not be so charitable.
Your fondness for acronyms is astounding. You may get tempted to use things like 3Ks. It has already been used as a derogatory, anti-women German slogan. 3Ms can be found in urban dictionaries and believe me you wouldn’t want to be seen using it. Last time you said INCH, China took away our miles.
Inch reminds me of your habit of giving away your vital statistics in public. When you talk about your chest, please avoid saying 56”. Americans will understand XXXL better.
From blaming Congress for the failure of the 1857 mutiny to putting the rupee equivalent to the dollar in 1947, you have created history through your knowledge of history. But unlike you, most Americans are familiar with their history. Please do not call them Red Indians and also don’t get convinced that they too came from Arya Desh and communists distorted their history.
Remember, in April, 2010, on the occasion of your book launch in Ahmedabad, you said ‘We should treat Dalits the same way we treat mentally retarded children, with love and compassion’? Please avoid exhibiting this human side of yours in your interactions in America. You don’t want another US court summoning you. Do you?
The Indian community has done extremely well in the US. Kindly do not embarrass them by calling them Jugaad gurus, the way you described our scientists. After all, they have spent millions of dollars to make your visit a success.
At Madison Square garden, please do not treat the Indian-origin Americans in the crowd as if they have double loyalty. They have taken the Naturalisation Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.
In your meetings with leaders, try and speak the language of the Prime Minister of India, not Chief Minister of Gujarat. Don’t just speak to Obama about the Sabarmati riverfront, try and speak about what you have done in the last 125 days in Delhi. I know it is going to be difficult but come on, since when have you started getting bogged down by facts and figures?
It will be good to remember you are not on an election campaign in the US.
And finally, please do not reduce India’s foreign policy into a process of self –aggrandizing reality show.
One last request. Please do not chant the slogan ‘Congress-Mukt Amreeka’. You may get in serious trouble with that.
Till such time you return, I shall be
A Worried Indian.
(The author is a Political Analyst with the Congress party)