MUMBAI, India (Oct. 25) — India’s minister of cultural affairs blasted American pop singer Katy Perry and British comedian Russell Brand for taking over a national park in his country this weekend so they could have a fancy, schmancy, oh-so-quirky wedding in a wildlife reserve.
Perry and Brand were married Saturday in Ranthambhore National Park in a traditional Hindu ceremony, probably because they thought it would be cool. Inhabitants of the park, including tigers, leopards and wild boars, were protected from the inevitable racket that is Katy Perry by a four-member committee charged with monitoring noise pollution. Living amongst dozens of hyenas apparently was not enough to inure the beasts to Perry’s song stylings.
Other animals weren’t so lucky. Brand’s wedding procession included 21 camels, elephants and horses, and one very unfortunate, very soiled flower girl.
“We are tired of providing an exotic setting for Westerners who have no interest in us aside from our bejeweled saris, our rare and dangerous animals, and our palak paneer,” said minister Harish Kumar. “If you really love India, as you claim, you should stay the hell away and just send us money.”
A Hindu priest conducted the ceremony, which was the culmination of a six-day celebration among family and close friends. The wedding venue was lit with lamps, colorful lights illuminated the trees and flower garlands festooned luxury tents. Perry, like a traditional Indian bride, had henna designs applied on her palms and hands. Meanwhile, only 35 miles away in India’s largest city, half the 20 million residents lived in slums and would’ve killed for a flower garland to feed to their family.
“It all started with your Beatles, coming here 40 years ago to seek ‘enlightenment’ with a ‘yogi’ and listening to that horrid Ravi Shankar ‘music,'” Kumar said. “‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,’ they sang. And you thought ‘Hello Goodbye’ was reductive.”
Kumar said his subcontinent was able to live in relative peace for the next quarter century, if you don’t count two wars with Pakistan, a 1993 earthquake that killed 10,000 people, and tropical cyclones too numerous to tally. Then, in 1997, came the “Seinfeld” episode entitled “The Betrayal.” Scripted in a backward chronology, it told the story of Jerry, George and Elaine all flying to India to attend another traditional Hindi wedding, that of candy bar heiress Sue Ellen Mischke.
“The whole episode is filled with jokes about how George won’t use the bathroom here. Our nation has a proud history of going to the bathroom,” Kumar said. “Then, they have the nerve to leave Kramer — my favorite character — back in the U.S. It was an affront to all of South Asia, or would’ve been if any of our billion people were aware of the show.”
In 2003 and 2004, Kumar noted, an American financial printing company sent a trainer to Mumbai and Chennai, ostensibly to teach outsourcing teams to proofread proxy statements and annual reports. He smiled and was polite during his stay, even though the nicest comments he could make had to do with Indian food and “what’s with all the cows?”, Kumar said.
“We pretended to like and respect him because we knew that was necessary in order to keep those jobs,” Kumar said. “In reality, we despised him and his patronizing attitude. ‘Good catch,’ he would say every time we found a typo. We don’t need the approval of a pudgy middle-aged American.”
Hey, wait a minute. Are you talking about me? That’s when I went to India.
“Yes,” Kumar said. “We are talking about you.”
Kumar said he would work with the government’s travel bureau to put a halt to campy tourism like that undertaken by Perry and Brand. He said only authentic followers of Hinduism will be allowed to have a Hindi wedding in the future, and that his nation’s 3,000-year-old culture wouldn’t be hijacked by a drug-addled actor and a doe-eyed songstress.
“She admitted it herself — she kissed a girl. We don’t even allow boys to do that over here,” Kumar said. “The next time she wants a genuine Indian experience, might I suggest she be consumed by a tiger.”