Abinhandan Varthaman, the pilot of the Indian Airforce plane which was shot down over Pakistani airspace last week, before he was freed at the weekend, has spoken about his outrageous handlebar moustache, which, he claims, has a strange, mystical aura.
Varthaman was at home responding to questions about the moustache, and about the way the people of India have come to venerate it, and grow handlebar moustaches of their own, even the women.
Some women have even presented themselves at Mr. Varthaman's home for fertility purposes, hoping to raise children with the same extraordinary valour, and handlebar moustache, as Mr. Varthaman.
"I've known for a long time that it has strange, supernatural powers. I believe I am able to use it in the same way a Jedi can employ Jedi Mind Control."
Unlikely though this seemed, he went on:
"When my plane came down, it was surrounded by Pakistanis who were clearly agitated, and who were armed to the teeth. As soon as I emerged from the cockpit, and removed my helmet, there was a gasp, and everyone got on their knees."
When soldiers arrived, it was the same story. Varthaman continued:
"The first guy on the scene shouted, "Get down on the ground!", so I calmly told him, "This is not the guy you're looking for", and then he told the other soldiers, "This is not the guy we're looking for", and then they went about their normal business. I can tell you, it was all down to my handlebar moustache. It has strange, inexplicable, unbelievable, mysterious powers."
A crowd cheered, some of whom already had the first signs of a handlebar moustache growing on their upper lips.