BY BIKRAM VOHRA
That sure shut up all those moaners who were anti the sprucing given New Delhi for the Obama visit. As a PR exercise in visual splendour for a nation whose tourism image is shoddy at best and dreary in presentation this display of pomp and ceremony was enough to instil the whole Indian diaspora with pride. Our soldiers looked good, real good. The guards of honour were par excellence. The horse cavalry took us back in time. Damn, it felt good to be Indian. The stately avenue of Rajpath shimmered in the morning light and Rashtrapathi Bhavan looked stately and grand. Yes indeed, we were on parade and our boots were shining and we sent a message to the world. We can do it, these guys are good… we can give a party. To friend and foe like we said, we are here and we are good at what we do and we count.
I am sick and tired of Indians engaging in India bashing and all our intellectual pretenders always going on about the negatives or pouring cynicism like clotted cream over even the best of times.
Come on, the Obama visit was brilliantly orchestrated and then you have these pundits from the media and the think tanks babbling on about how it is all window dressing and I ask you, isn’t that why you go into a shop: because of the window dressing.
I don’t get it. Why are we always apologizing for ourselves, as if excellence was not something we wish to pursue and were only comfortable with mediocrity. There was absolutely nothing to cavil about as we played ideal hosts to the US first family and showed the incandescent side of our country.
And then there was the parade. Agreed that some of it is predictable and maybe there could be some change in the imagery but it is still grand and impressive and the marching bands are unbeatable. On Jan 29 the beating the retreat ceremony is a salute to martial music and the best such display in the world.
So for once let’s forget the muck and the dirt, the crowds and the pettiness and enjoy the day. Enjoy being Indian. Enjoy being on the global stage and having everything work like clockwork which it did.
Damn, it felt good and if there was a wet lump in your throat, why not, why not?