By Dushyant Shekhawat Feb. 13, 2020
Ahmedabad is building a wall ahead of Donald Trump’s India visit to block the sight of slums. With the possible exception of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election, erecting this wall might be the sweetest thing anybody has ever done for the US President.
From the Beatles visiting an ashram to Julia Roberts’ character eating, praying, and loving in Eat, Pray, Love, Westerners seem to have identified India as a land you visit to find yourself, a land where dreams come true. And it looks like many cherished dreams of a certain Donald Trump are going to be realised this month when he visits the country to reunite with his dear friend and favourite Hindu Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Vladimir Putin, eat your heart out – your position as Trump’s BFF is now in the shadow of a 56-inch chest.
Trump and Modi might be the political equivalent of Jay and Veeru, but for ol’ Donny, this isn’t just a courtesy call. Trump’s first visit to India is a whirlwind wish-fulfilment tour where he is going to get to live out some of his wildest fantasies (or at least, the ones that don’t involve hamburgers). Over the course of two unforgettable days, Trump is going to have experiences that he never could in his own country. What would have been FAKE NEWS in the US will become a reality in India, much to the US president’s delight.
Here’s a few of the things Trump can look forward to when he visits India on February 24 and 25.
1. A Massive Crowd (That’s Actually Massive)
When Trump and First Lady Melania touch down in Ahmedabad, he’s going to get a chance to address a crowd that’s being projected to number between five to seven million. For someone who got elected promising to keep people out of his country, Trump sure loves a tightly packed crowd around him. He was famously offended when photos showing the crowd at his swearing-in ceremony being dwarfed by the crowds at Obama’s swearing-in ceremony, so the idea of speaking before millions has to have him thrilled. He’s already admitted as much to US reporters, saying the 40,000 to 50,000 people who show up to his US rallies will now feel like a smaller gathering after he breathes in a little bit of Gujarat.
2. A YUGE Stadium (To Match His YUGE Ego)
Donald Trump is famously size-obsessed. Bigger always means better (unless you’re talking about his hands, which he doesn’t like very much). He loves to pepper his speeches with references to the many “big, strong guys” he interacts with, like, all the time. This is why the venue for the Trump-Modi rally, the humongous Sardar Patel Stadium, is perfect for dimension-centric Donald. Speaking to reporters before the visit, Trump said, “You know (it) is the largest stadium in the world. He’s (Modi) building it now. It’s almost complete and it’s the largest in the world.” To Trump, the stadium’s size is so important, he had to mention it twice. Charlie Bucket wasn’t as thrilled to visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
3. Bonding Time (With His Favourite Hindu)
Unfortunately for Trump, he doesn’t seem to be very good at making or keeping friends. Look no further than the revolving door of his White House staff roster since 2016 for evidence. In that context, it becomes understandable why he seems to have such a guy-crush on our Prime Minister. They stay on opposite sides of the globe but have still found time to meet each other four times in 2019; meanwhile, people who sit on the same desk at work can’t find time to catch drinks at happy hour. There’s also a subtle “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” energy to the entire affair, what with Modi repaying the hospitality of Howdy Modi with a literal translation in Kem Chho Trump. The reunion will be a happy one, surely, and there’s bound to be high-fives, bear hugs galore, and some joyful hand-slapping.
4. A Wall! (Paid for by Another Country!)
Ahmedabad is going to play host to a roadshow that goes from the airport to the shiny new stadium, and obviously, Trump will go by the scenic route. Unfortunately, as is often the case in India, even the scenic route ends up going past some visually discomfiting slum settlements. To spare eyes used to the opulence of Trump Tower the sight of grimy Indian poverty, a wall is being constructed along the planned route that will block off the view of the slums. If you think about it, a wall is the perfect thing to gift Donald Trump, seeing as he’s having so much trouble building one of his own. With the possible exception of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election, erecting this wall might be the sweetest thing anybody has ever done for Donald Trump.
Though his visit spans only two days, Trump is clearly here for a good time, not a long time. And as his host, India has pulled out all stops in making sure he gets it. Atithi Devo Bhava and all that.