The Republic Day parade has always been a spectacle in India, but this time the presence of US President Barack Obama as the chief guest has made the event seem even more grandiose. For the last few days, news cycles and social media trends have been obsessed with the three-day itinerary of the “most powerful man in the free world”. No detail has been too trivial to proffer to audiences, not Obama’s favourite comic superhero, nor the state of his throat.

A simple Google search yields more than 1,200 links on the US president’s visit, discussing everything from the three-level taste test to which his food will be subjected to the snazzy features of his car, his phone and his plane. There seems to be a particular curiosity about the 100 Benarasi saris that will soon become part of the wardrobe of US First Lady Michelle Obama.

Admittedly, this fixation with international outings of state heads is not novel. When Obama arrived in India in 2010, The Telegraph reported that coconuts were removed from the palm trees in areas he planned to visit – lest one should fall on someone in the president’s entourage. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the United States last year, some news channels set up makeshift studios in New York, while others created countdown tickers days in advance.

But this time, in the midst of discussions on patents and intellectual property rights, the peripheral has come to rest at the centre. The hype has got many patrons, not least the US Embassy in India.

It wants the world to know that the US president loves classic comic book heroes.

The Embassy has also roped in two artists to compose and perform a welcome song for Obama in the capital, which is now attracting curious visitors on YouTube.

Eat in Tihar Jail: The Wall Street Journal’s blog India Real Time accessed the US president’s complete itinerary and recommended him some eateries, among them the Tihar Jail canteen and McDonald’s. “In our opinion, Bukhara’s getting a little boring,” the blog noted. “Indian cuisine has so much more to offer than grilled meat, potatoes and four types of dessert.”

Primate Alert: As security forces in New Delhi prepare to battle usual terror threats with snipers and closed-circuit television cameras, they are not overlooking the possibility of an atypical hazard: stray monkeys that are notorious for biting people on the capital’s streets. So a thin platoon of two persons from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation has been sent out to tackle hundreds of stray monkeys.

Sore Throat: The Indian Express reported that Modi has asked bureaucrats to find out Obama’s food “preferences” apart from keema and dal. In the end though, there might just be dal on the platter since the president has a sore throat linked to acid reflux, another report said.

Dog Officers: Even the dog squad accompanying the American armed forces has received its share of limelight in newspapers. According to The Times of India, some of the canines, who are ranked “officers”, will be accommodated in five-star suites along with their handlers. The daily also did an “all you need to know” about the dogs, detailing their competencies and eating habits.

Guesthouse or hotel: There are also Modi in US-versus-Obama in India stories in the media. One such report in Indiatimes laments that Modi carpooled in Obama’s car, while Obama is bringing his own Cadillac “Beast”. It also notes that Modi stayed in Obama’s guesthouse, while one of the most expensive hotels in the capital is being vacated for Obama’s stay.