Monday, June 27, 2005
But what is this export, I hear you ask. Well, the details are still hush-hush, but we (my split personality and I) have conducted a large amount of research, and we found that India's export is going to be – wait for it – potholes! Yes. The best Indian potholes are going to be selected by experts and sent to museums around the world to be displayed as works of art. I kid you not.
Think about the potential of this enterprise. India has an abundance of this natural resource, and if we create the right buzz, other countries will be raring to glimpse some of the best and most lovingly created potholes ever seen. Miniature, Impressionist, Landscape, and, specially for crass American tourists wearing shorts, cheap souvenir potholes sold at atrocious prices on sidewalks. They will rule the galleries. They will probably be classified in a different manner, though – shallow, petty, deep, semi-lethal and lethal are the categories I recommend.
Imagine a day in the near future. The setting is the Louvre. An enthusiastic batch of up-and-coming connoisseurs (or ‘snobs’, to use their generic name) comes to see the ‘Common or Indian Pothole’:
“And here,” says the guide, “we have a pothole from a very rich period in the history of potholes. An original Pune Municipal Corporation early 2005 piece. The pothole is seven feet deep, and is rumoured to have once contained two cars and a truck at the same time. This pothole has been classified only ‘semi-lethal’, but the craftsmanship places it apart from other semi-lethals. Moving forward ...
“This, as you can see, is another ‘semi-lethal’. It is a miniature pothole – only 10 feet across – but it comes from another classic era of potholes – the 2003 pre-monsoon constructions. The special feature of this pothole, as you can see, is that it was used as a lavatory by stray dogs for six months before being imported specially for this museum. One thing you might observe is that most of the potholes you see here come from Pune, which seems to have a monopoly over the creation of the best potholes in Western India. A city of true artists. Moving forward ...
“Ah! Here, Mesdames et Messieurs, is the grace of our collection. A pothole that only a true artist could have created – a genuine ‘lethal’ – one of only two ever imported by France. They are rather expensive, as you might imagine. I know for an actual fact that this pothole once contained the car of the Indian President himself on one of his visits to Pune. You will see here that the inner edge of this pothole has been constructed to create optimum impedance to vehicles, so as to find the best way to deal with the thick lining of tyres. I do not exaggerate when I say that no tyre has ever survived this pothole. A true masterpiece. Another special feature of this magnificent piece of art is that it was treated with as much respect as the first ‘semi-lethal’ we saw, but by humans rather than by dogs, giving this pothole the edge over most other potholes.”
There must, of course, be people who will be enraged by this draining of valuable resources to other countries, but such people are always unsatisfied. Give them a free pothole and they’ll shut up. If, of course, the government decides to distribute free potholes to dissenters, I will add my voice to the chorus and say that I was against the idea from the very beginning. But until then, I am all for it.
Still, I acknowledge the fact that India might appear impoverished by such an extensive loss of our greatest resource, but we must realise that we have another great resource still in store – politicians. The Common or Indian Politician (classified, as you can see, in a similar manner to potholes) will make sure that India is never deficient in potholes. But if we do fall short in the production of potholes, we can always export politicians instead. We must keep the more valuable resource here in India. I choose to keep the potholes.