Israel and Palestine. India and Pakistan. Romeo and Juliet. What do all these have in common? They belong together but for some reason remain doomed to never connect.
India and Pakistan in particular, having been born out of one land, have many similarities in culture, cuisine, and sports. Why then are they always fighting? You would think that with a new Prime Minister in India, there would be the chance of a fresh start, but despite his desire for peace, Narendra Modi has had a hard time creating a meaningful dialogue with his Pakistani counterpart.
The problem here isn't animosity, it's figuring out who in Pakistan is really in charge. To understand the scope of this challenge, the NSA tapped Modi's phone (without a court order, of course) to listen into his conversation with the Pakistani government just last week:
Modi: Hello, this is Modi from India. Who am I speaking with?
Melodious Female Voice: Hello, this is Alka. I'm the receptionist for Pakistan.
Modi: I would like to speak with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif please.
Alka: About what?
Modi: No... TERRORISM.
Alka: Buying or selling, sir?
Modi: Excuse me?
Alka: Are you interested in buying terrorism or selling some to us?
Modi: Is this a joke?
Alka: Not at all, but no matter. If it's terrorism then there's no point talking to Prime Minister Sharif about it.
Modi: Why is that? He's the head of your government.
Alka: The civilian head, sir. But our government is really run by the military and the notoriously corrupt intelligence service, ISI.
Modi: Listen, all I want is for you guys to stop promoting terrorism in India. We've requested this multiple times but you just ignore us. So I don't really care who I speak to as long as this gets done today.
Alka: So you should speak with the ISI. They're the ones who plot terror attacks on India.
Modi: Great. Put me through then.
Alka: Sorry, sir. I can't do that.
Modi: Why the hell not?
Alka: Because the ISI is our secret service. You can't just call up an intelligence agency as if you were calling customer service.
Modi: But I am a Head of State!
Alka: I don't care if you're Bolllywood Superstar Shahrukh Khan - whom we love here, by the way - but no one speaks directly to the ISI. For that you need to go through one of our military generals.
Modi (frustrated): Fine. Give me a military general then.
Alka: Unfortunately, no one in the military will dare talk to you. That would be unpatriotic.
Modi: But we're not your enemy, that's my whole point! If you just stopped supporting terrorism in Kashmir and the rest of India, we will embrace you as brothers and sisters.
Alka: Whoa! Slow down, cowboy! Kashmir and the rest of India? Kashmir is not a part of India. It belongs to Pakistan!
Modi: I'm not debating the Kashmir issue with a secretary, all right? I want to talk to someone with authority there. Just connect me with Mr. Sharif and the two of us will figure this out.
Alka: You're not listening. He's the wrong person for this.
Modi: He's the damn Prime Minister of your country! This is precisely why we have civilian government - so that the military or secret service can't dictate policy. I see no reason why Mr. Sharif can't stop his generals and spies from waging terror against India.
Alka: I do. In Pakistan, we deliberately don't let civilians hold any real power. That would be disastrous. Can you imagine what would happen if we ran this place like a democracy?
Modi: Yes, I can. You would have human rights, freedom of speech, proper education, an economy, and a future.
Alka: Hahaha! That is very funny, sir. You have a good sense of humor.
Modi: I'm not being funny. And given that you're a woman, how do you like living in a backward country where you're treated with disrespect by your extremely chauvinistic society, sexually assaulted, and denied opportunities for professional growth?
Alka: I'm confused. How is that different from India?
Modi (embarrassed): Oh yeah, right. Never mind. Forget I brought that up.
Alka: Sir, I understand you want to make peace with our country but honestly, we just don't care. We're happy just killing more of your people.
Modi: I'm sorry to hear that. All right, instead of terrorism can I talk to someone about an economic partnership between our countries?
Alka: That is an area that is so boring that we let the civilians handle it.
Modi: Great! So I can speak with Mr. Sharif now?
Alka: Uh, no. The Prime Minister knows nothing about economics. For that you will need to speak with our Ministry of Finance. Unfortunately, no one actually works in the Ministry of Finance here so I can't help you.
Modi: So let me get this straight... No one in your government can talk to me about terrorism or an economic partnership? What about just simple cultural relations?
Alka (cheerful): That's a wonderful idea and luckily there is a Minister for that who would be happy to discuss the subject.
Modi: Finally... Put him on now please.
Alka: It's a 'she', you sexist pig! Anyway, she won't talk to you. She only talks to people who are directly involved in cultural relations.
Modi: Like who?
Alka thinks for a moment. Then --
Alka: Could Shahrukh Khan call?
Modi: Are you nuts? What the hell does Shahrukh Khan have to do with government policy?
Alka: Nothing, but he's so sexy!
Modi: Hey Ram (translation: Jesus!)! This is going nowhere. Look, you've jerked my chain enough so I'm giving you an ultimatum. Either Pakistan stops supporting terrorists immediately or India will have no choice but to declare outright war on you.
Alka (chuckling): Go for it, बहन---!
Modi (screaming): What did you just call me?
Alka: You know what I called you, sir. It has to do with your sister. What are you going to do about it?
Modi is about to explode but then stops to think.
Modi: You're trying to goad me to declare war against Pakistan, aren't you? Who the hell are you, lady?
Alka: I'm your worst nightmare, Modi. I'm the bitch they call Alka.
At this, Modi gets really suspicious.
Modi: What did you say your last name was?
Alka: I didn't but if you must know it's Ida.
Modi (musing): Ida...Ida...Alka Ida...Al Kaida...AL QAEDA!!!!!
Alka (laughing hysterically): You got it, old man! You think we would let you just call up Pakistan and diffuse the tension between your countries? We thrive on that tension. As long as Indians and Pakistanis hate each other, terrorist organizations like ours can remain in business.
Modi: So there's no way I can get through to anyone in the Pakistani government because you guys will intercept all calls?
Alka: You can try emailing but we got that covered too. And even if you get through, we'll just kill anyone who starts negotiating with you in good faith. You know what they say - spare the rod and spoil the government.
Modi (indignant): You are really evil. Innocent Indians and Pakistanis are dying because of you and you think it's funny.
But before Alka can respond to this, Modi suddenly hears a voice on a loudspeaker somewhere in the background: "Attention all shoppers! Attention all shoppers! Walmart will be closing in 10 minutes. Thank you."
Modi (in disbelief): Are you standing in a Walmart?
Alka: No silly, I work here. Listen, I have to go but it was nice chatting with you.
Modi: So you're not really Al Qaeda?
Alka: Of course I am, but we all need to make a living somehow. Plus, where do you think we get all our guns from? Gotta love Walmart's everyday low prices!
At this point Narendra Modi just slams his head into his desk.
Follow Seriously Skewed at @seriouslyskewed for more great satire!