In A Country of VIPs, Why Should Sara Ali Khan Carry Her Own Luggage?


In A Country of VIPs, Why Should Sara Ali Khan Carry Her Own Luggage?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Stop the presses! Sara Ali Khan’s done something. 

Has she won an award? No. Did she make it to the cover of an international magazine? Absolutely not. So what did she do? 

She pushed her own luggage at the airport, of course!

In case you don’t believe us, read the odes composed by that infamous section of the media. The ones who couldn’t believe that a girl with perfectly functioning limbs actually made the effort to handle her own baggage. “Oh my God, what will she do next? Wipe her own nose? How is this even possible? Celebrities are expected to have an entourage tailing them and wiping their asses!”

Dearest Sara, haven’t your parents told you yet? Not all individuals are created equal, especially in India. When you are born into privilege and power, you are expected to make a spectacular show of it. If you don’t, you’ll never make it to the notorious club of VIPs.

We know, you’re probably clueless, and hence come across as polite and humble to hoi-polloi. We hope you’ll make amends at the soonest, and transition into an obnoxious cretin who assesses their own importance by the amount of bullshit other people are willing to face around them.

All you have to do is observe our babus, who behave like boorish assholes, and expect the public to treat them like “Hey Bhagwan”. At first they may repulse you, but soon you will stumble upon an eternal truth — your life is way more precious than everyone else’s. The more you grind noses in the dirt, the more valuable you’ll feel. Within a couple of weeks of your encounter with this truth, you’ll begin feeling like a Kohinoor in a coalfield.

Ask your local MLA who only appears during Valentine’s Day, when it’s time to beat up couples. He will tell you the VIP’s importance is negligible until they make a grand display of it. If he is in a good mood, he’ll invite you over for chai. Keep a notepad handy for the helpful pointers on how to become a parasite, leech off public resources, and treat tax-payers money as your own.

Oh wait! That part is not meant for you. You are not part of that breed that calls themselves public servants and laughs hysterically at this joke in private. Unlike them, your sense of superiority is not inversely proportional to your actual usefulness. 

These asli VIPs have an extra-thick hide that’s really handy when they have to hold up an ambulance for hours only so they can reach the airport 15 minutes late, and delay the flight anyway.

Still, you are the daughter of royalty. You don’t even have to hold public office or need to be accomplished to rub your VIP status in our faces. Simply walk into a public function six hours too late with a posse of gun-toting bodyguards and everyone will happily assume you’re someone important. Some fool might even lay himself at your feet and insist on cleaning your shoes with their eyebrows.

Of course, you’ll let them.

It’s pretty simple. If you break rules with elan, flare your nostrils at security checks, and refuse to step out of the house without a coterie following you like a devoted puppy, my dear girl, you’ll have arrived!

Don’t take it too far, though, you’ll never be able to match the shenanigans of a high-ranking neta. These asli VIPs have an extra-thick hide that’s really handy when they have to hold up an ambulance for hours only so they can reach the airport 15 minutes late, and delay the flight anyway.

But, next time, maybe let Ramu kaka handle your luggage for you. Hang your head in shame if you see a neta-type refuse to disembark because there’s no welcome committee waiting to carry him on their shoulders. You may see him lose his temper. Or if there’s an unsuspecting airline worker standing a safe distance away, minding their own business, he may slap them. That’s the VIP way, after all.  

Now, you’re probably asking, do I need to be insufferable to be a VIP? After all, in other parts of the world, important dignitaries demand no special treatment. Some insist on going about their business like ordinary citizens. The ex-President of Spain, for instance, is perfectly okay booking an Uber for a conference where he’s one of the keynote speakers, but back home, a party spokesman whose only accomplishment is his astonishing sycophancy, demands a limousine.

It’s not really our babus’ fault that their lives are this convenient. They’re part of a system that believes in placing people with power and wealth on the highest pedestal of the social hierarchy. So we might as well accept that we all want to be that boorish asshole. I mean, who doesn’t want to pass like fetid wind through security checks, flash guns at the sight of a cockroach, and part crowds like Moses everywhere we go? We show disdain for this toxic behaviour, but will secretly seek out “contacts” to ease out of simple government procedures. We leech off these contacts because we know they are our passports to a life on a six-lane highway with no tolls.

Honestly, if our country ran strictly on procedures, VIP culture would not have existed in the first place. Sadly, our VIPs are allowed to get away with crimes like murder and extortion because the police finds it easier to side with the powerful than following procedure.

The Bureau of Police Research and Development says that out of 19.26 lakh cops in India, 56,944 are deployed for the safety of 20,828 VIPs in our country. Roughly translated, that means there’s three cops for each VIP as opposed to one for every 663 people. Isn’t that ironic, especially considering the one thing we need most is protection from these insufferable VIPs themselves. So go on Sara, since you have the opportunity, go ahead and cement your place among the elite.