Lockdown blockdown: Ban ki Baat. We must stop these Peking Toms
This story first appeared in The Times of India
Close friends Nathu Lal and Akshai Chin bristled with tension. Nathu Lal flared up, “We cannot allow this Himalayan plunder.” Akshai Chin, indisputably Indian despite his name, seethed, “China has crossed every line. Forget the old sheel, it has punched us with not just a double or even triple whammy, but a quadruple one.” A querulous look passed over Nathu Lal’s craggy face. The Oldie knew that China had attacked us first with the virus, then with those brutish-caveman clubs at the LAC. He had also heard about some Trojan horse of apps-shapps; that millions of innocent Indians had been seduced Insta-ly, unaware that these were actually spyware. The clock was Tik-Toking: it was only a matter of time before our precious personal data and lip-sync videos would be put to sinister purpose. “But what is the fourth way in which we’ve been Shanghaied?” he asked.
Akshai Chin did some Depsang Plainspeaking: “India will always lose out to China. You can Tibet on it.” He elaborated, “Much before these 59 apps, we had blocked the import of Chinese goods – for two reasons. One, the pandemic caused by their virus had paralysed global trade and transportation. This made us realise that we had to stop relying on China for everything, from agarbatti upwards, and start becoming ‘atmanirbhar’. Then came their LAC attack, making the ban a patriotic imperative not just an economic one.”
“Serves them right,” chipped in Nathu Lal, who had been smarting since 1962. “No, it served us wrong,” replied Akshai Chin; he knew how futile it was to post Keep Out signs against China. “Banning their imports resulted in our own band getting bajaoed. We were the losers because Indian companies had already paid the Chinese for the TV/ aircon components now held up at our docks. Worse, it even halted our Covid drug production because China, which had first supplied the disease, was now the major producer of the active pharmaceutical ingredients needed for its cure.”
Then Akshai Chin’s glacial look melted as he said, “Banning those apps won’t cause such collateral damage.” A still misti-fied Nathu Lal mumbled, “Is this about Ali Baba And His 58 Thieves?”
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Alec Smart said: “Is Mumbai’s two-km travel limit also a ‘Vocal for Local’?”