If you wish to visit America to see that breathtakingly beautiful country, you will have to remove your belt and shoes and show your Facebook feeds on your smartphone.
Security officer wearing Ray-Ban glasses and looking menacingly like Dirty Harry: “Sir, can you punch in the password on your phone please, and step back.”
“I …. I, seem to have forgotten it. I am sorry, but I am getting an anxiety attack. It is in my phone.”
(You have made it to a US airport and so far, nobody has shouted at you to go back to your country. At this point you don’t bring up issues such as ‘personal freedom’, or ‘privacy’, or something silly like that. You remember that In india, another democratic country where you are coming from, people get thrown in the cooler for cracking jokes about politicians).
After a few long minutes of silence as the officer looks at your Twitter timeline, and then looks up at you, and then back again at the phone, you begin to feel you should have gone to stress-free Maldives instead.
“Sir, on April 8, 2015, in a social media conversation with a person with a Twitter handle called “Tukde-Tukde Gang”, you said that Mr. Trump, is a racist, a failed businessman who promotes himself on Twitter, and that he cannot spell. You also called him a Twit. Can I ask you, what is the purpose of your visit here?”
“WHAT!? I don’t believe this. Officer, my phone has been hacked. I remember that I charged my phone at Frankfurt Airport, at one of those public charging slots, and that’s when some evil hacker did this. He knew my travel plan and wanted to discredit me. I adore Mr. Trump’s policies. I love the concept of the Wall to keep out undesirables. There should be a wall of trust between nations. Our Indian politicians are following his great idea and have started something on the same principle, called the National Register of Citizens, and it too helps weed out the termites.”
“Sir, please get out of the line, grab your bag and follow me, Now!”
“No, no, no. Officer, you do not understand. This is not my phone, it is my wife’s phone. She is coming next week. You can question her. I am sure there is a misunderstanding, she is a bit hot-headed, God knows I told her many times that in today’s world, liberal elite ideas do not work. You have to be pragmatic … Are you kidding me, handcuffs, really?! I can’t go to jail, I have seen Orange is the New Black TV series. Jail breaks you down mentally and physically. I need to talk to my Foreign Minister. Oh, I forgot, she has left the cabinet. My nephew’s at Google. He is in Silicon Valley, where all the smart Indians are … what is this, please wait, I can’t undress, it is so cold in here. I need my mother, maaaa.”
News Flash: “US visa application now requires submission of social media information. Applicants are now required to provide their social media account details, email addresses and phone numbers from the past five years.”
Government Tips: No, you cannot submit your mother-in-law’s social media details and her email addresses as your own.
No, begging forgiveness of Mr. Trump will not speed up your visa paper process. Do not let your teenage son fiddle with your smartphone or your laptop and let him replace your social media details with your neighbour’s details.
No, you cannot get into Canada and drive across the border to the US. You will still have to show your Snapchat feeds.
Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi