08 January 2009

Sanjay Gupta, or: Obama in India

Obama appeared twice in my day today, as I wandered around the capital city in a bit of a post-flight, post-Britain haze, not at all lightened by the actual haze in Delhi's air, something one does not think about for too long when one is here.

First, below the fold in the front page of the Times of India: "Obama wants Indian doc as surgeon-general." with a little pic of Gupta and a list of all of the PIOs in Obama's transition team (persons of Indian origin--keep up people!). The article claims this post has had "Indian" written all over it--a statement that I think only could be made without retribution in an Indian paper on Indian soil, given the stereotype of diaspora-Indian-on-path-to-med-school it raises. But there you are. He also features on p. 17 of the first section, under the title: "Sanjay Gupta was on sexiest men of 2003 list," showing that the Times has its priorities straight. There it reads a bit like a matrimonial, listing his degrees and achievements, before mentioning he's now married.

Second, while at the Gandhi Museum this morning, a lovely man was trying to talk to me with my broken Hindi and his broken English, and asked where I was from (always the first question) and then mentioned Obama's name. Except he said Osama. Sigh.

It's Muharram julu (processions) and majlis (gathering/sermons) tonight and so I am staying in, despite some small bit of desire to go and see it. But the 98% of the brain that is, well, aware of the goings on in Gaza and the recent bombings in Mumbai and the fact that Pakistan is getting the blame here is, well, staying away from crowds of (however peaceful) Muslims mourning the martyrdom of the Prophet's gransons, Hasan and Hussain. Next time. Muharram Mubarak.

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