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Flipside of a Black Swan Event on Indian Republic's Happy Sixty Five
US President Barack Obama whose ongoing visit to India has been described as a Black Swan event, will be caught red-handed, stealing the show under millions of watchful eyes at the impressive parade to be held on the Delhi roads in celebration of the sixty fifth anniversary of India's emerging an independent Republic, on 26 January. There will be countless "oohs" and "aahs" emitted all over, not unlike the swirls of carbon emissions incessantly belched out by industrial units and such offending installations in countries which refuse to fall in line with Western expectations and demands, by the VIP onlookers who would have gathered to witness the event and the US First Family, braving the biting Delhi cold, as well as on the telly in the cosy comfort of home over steaming cups of tea by the starry-eyed Indian public.
All eyes will be on Barack when they are not on Michelle! There has already been a virtual bloodshed over an opportunity to share the rarified air inhaled by the romantic first couple of the US, including the Enfant Terrible of the Indian politics, Kejriwal, the self-avowed anarchist who had not long ago given vent to his nonchalance and bravado by dismissing the Republic Day celebrations as a pompous spectacle, intended for a select few of the country's power honchos and elitist fringe, having no connect with the man on the street. Kejriwal has had a turnabout and is feeling none-too-happy about being left out of the select invitee list.
Obama is considered a tall leader by the people of India both literally and metaphorically. While Modi and Obama will be allowed to hug each other, pump each other's hand vigorously, and generally prance about with sunny smiles writ large on their face like two big boys of a mutual fan club, it is Michelle who will come under the scanner by Delhi's glitterati, members of women's groups and housewives alike. What is she going to wear, a saree or a western costume, what would her make-over be like, would she be stealing glances from her husband in front of others, whether she would guffaw or demurely smile ....... these are some nagging doubts bothering our women no end. The biggest disappointment of the visit for the politics-can-wait crowd was the non-inclusion of Malia and Sasha in the President's entourage. The school and college going crowd of Delhi girls are, however, relieved over their non-arrival lest they should be compared by their mothers with the first family kids over their fashion sense and general behaviour!
Taj Given a Miss
With Obama having to cut his visit short by a day for the purpose of attending the Saudi King's funeral which cropped up unexpectedly, the proposed visit to Agra to see Taj Mahal as per the original programme has been given a miss. The media has sadly lost an opportunity for more photo-ops. The US security team as well as the Indian security agencies should, however, be heaving a sigh of relief over the let up in their logistics nightmare of foolproof security arrangements for the US first couple.
What Will They Eat?
Obama was recently reported to be suffering from a nasty heartburn and was diagnosed with acid reflux. Apprehensions had, therefore, started doing rounds that he was unlikely to be plied with Dhoklas, Theplas and other assorted Gujarati delicacies during his Indian visit. Hopefully, Obama's health condition was only a temporary setback and he turns out to be brave enough to try the typical Indian food.
Sources of Attraction
While the visiting first couple is most obviously the cynosure and outstanding feature of the visit, there are other sources of attraction too, like 'The Beast' and the 'dog officers'. The US Presidential vehicle 'The Beast' is nothing short of a moving fortress with unique security features like eight inch thick doors, five inch thick windows, shred and puncture proof Kevlar-reinforced tyres, a special foam-covered fuel tank which negates the possibility of an explosion etc. The downside of the armour-plated car is its susceptibility to unexpected breakdowns for unknown reasons besides a measly mileage of 4.3 km/litre. The Beast had reportedly broken down during the President's state visit to Israel in 2010 and had to be ingloriously towed away atop a truck! In short, despite its awesome features, the President's car is, in terms of invincibility, just 'The Beast' and not 'The Best.' But no other car comes anywhere close, we may be sure.
Dog Officers of the US Secret Services are from a squad which is an integral part of Obama's security apparatus and will be in the core security layer, tasked with sanitizing everything in the 100-metre vicinity of the President. Some of these officers, one-foot-tall Belgian Malinois dogs will be staying in style — in suites of a five-star hotel with their handlers. These dogs are specially cared for and given carefully prepared diet comprising meat, pedigree, food and bread. They are also kept in highly luxurious environment. Jordan and Hurricane, who have been termed the President's best friends, are expected to be part of the team. The downside of these 'Dog Officers' is that each one of them is reported to cost $9,000. What makes one brood in melancholy over this report is the harsh fact that the President's best friends and their colleagues who are all officers of the US Security Services were purchased! Dogs are highly reputed to be affectionate and loyal and deservedly called man's best friends. The best friends of the most powerful man on earth were purchased! What next? Surely the other officers themselves are free men and women who joined the Secret Services to serve the nation of their free will! Well, one has to concede, no matter what an avid dog-lover one is, that 'Dog Officers' are a different breed (pun intended) and, therefore, a different ball game of a category altogether!
© 2015 Kalyanaraman Raman