Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Obamas Visit India

US President Barack Obama's visit to India kindled a great thrill in me akin to a brother's visit to my house! Having had the privilege of watching his election campaign on American TV two years ago and participating in the jubilation of his historic win from the living room of my son's home, I have been a huge Obama fan and his slogan, "Yes, we can."

I tell you, as expected, it made me proud to see the Obamas rise to the occasion once again during their three day 'high volatile trip' to India - in Mumbai and Delhi. They checked into the Taj Mahal Hotel, paid homage to the victims of 26/11 and met the relatives of victims - a gesture to prove the bond we share - tragedies of terrorism of 26/11 and 9/11 - pointers to 'global oneness'. Obama admired the 'incredible energy and drive and entrepreneurial spirit' at the entrepreneurs' meet. After the video conference with farmers from Rajastan, he acknowledged with all humility that India is a 'model for agricultural development' and wanted her to 'share her expertise in farming'! He also appreciated the wide-ranging questions put to him by our youth during their interaction with him at St. Xavier's College and answered them at length.

The US First Lady perhaps did even a shade better than the Prez while bonding socially with various segments of society - she emerged as 'the aunty next door'. She allowed humane emotions flow freely as she interacted with smiles, handshakes and hugs with kids - as she picked up the Indian 'hop' game from our girls - may be to pass on to her Sasha and Mallya. She also endeared herself to one and all as she look a leg with elan to Koli music at a school ; she even inspired her husband to join her. Michelle scored again with her down-to-earth speech to the youth where she sounded like us middle class folks - thus proving that human values are universal! She went on a shopping spree in Delhi alright but her shopping bag was full of modestly priced items - with the exception of a Rs. 20,000/ - Pashmina shawl and a couple of bedcovers ranging from Rs. 2500- 3500/- all other collectibles including leather wallets and Ganesh idols cost a few hundreds each. Still she is learnt to have said at one point that she was 'afraid she might have exhausted all her money in the shopping spree!'

My admiration for Barack Obama reached sky-high when he acknowledged Gandhiji's influence and inspiration without which he "might not be standing before you today as President of the United States". I also felt elated when he showered epithets on our country - 'model of development', creator of 'the largest middle class', 'indispensable for American vision'. It made my day to hear him say India 'has emerged as a rising global power' and welcome "India as it prepares for a permanent seat in UN SC". While the news channels are having a field day debating on the speech as they read between the lines, I am happy to take it at face value - simply because it makes me feel good!

Common people like me went into raptures when we heard Obama interspersing his speech with 'bahut dhanyavaad', 'Jai Hind', 'Panchatantra', 'e-Panchayat'. It is for our leaders to analyze the implications of the visit; for commoners like me, it was a morale-boosting matter!

© Copyright 2011. Brinda Balasubramonian.

No comments:

Post a Comment