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Monday, November 8, 2010

President Obama: Mumbai Taken By Dance!

Mumbai waited with bated breath for the huge event. US President Barack Obama's Air Force One landing at the financial capital Mumbai to start the President's  maiden visit to India. Amidst unprecedented security arrangements and Diwali celebrations in full swing almost everybody in town was intensely focused on Obama.

Yes, the Chief Minister Ashok Chavan did indeed receive the biggest guest possible on earth at the airport and presented him an illustrated book on Maharashtra. Of course, the Chief Minister avoided attending the CEO Business Meet at Trident Hotel or other functions at Taj Palace Hotel for obvious reasons.  The Chief Minister along with some of his cabinet colleagues were invited earlier by the US Consulate for the Meet asking them to bring the invitation letters and identity proofs  for entry!  The Consulate did indeed finally apologize citing security concerns. The most powerful people within the state had enough reasons to be rightfully offended. Coincidentally, Internet servers were down in many localities of the city from just before Obama landed to just before he left!  Was that for security too? Well, many Mumbaikars, living particularity in areas surrounding Taj Palace Hotel, would rather agree; because they lived like prisoners for three days not able to move in or move out or not able to invite guests or not able to celebrate the festival of lights. 

The Media was following Obama like mad, concentrating on what he said and concentrating more on what he did not say. Most of the news channels started jumping to conclusions that President Obama spared Pakistan for strategic reasons and that he came to India only to take and not to give. They conveniently forgot that this part of his tour was not at all on the political platform; that he was yet to meet the Prime Minister or that he had yet to reach the political capital Delhi. Possibly all the foreign affairs experts available in India got a chance to chatter continuously on the channels. 

Mumbai was moved by the positive energy oozing out of the US President and the First Lady Michelle Obama. They won hearts wherever they went. The very first day the First Lady proved what a perfect dancer she was! While BaracK Obama talked hard business Michelle Obama danced away to a perfect tune with handicapped children.
And lo! The most powerful man of the world danced too, literally, giving in to the lively rhythm  of  Marathi fishermen folk songs along with his perfect dancer wife at a school that the couple visited to celebrate Diwali the second day. 

Meeting the future generation at a city college President Obama interacted healthily answering difficult and awkward questions with amiable sincerity.  

Moments...lively moments....Mumbai would remember and relish forever. Good Luck, Mr. President!


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