Wednesday, November 03, 2010

i was there first

Obama--or as a cabbie described him, the prime minister of America--comes to Mumbai two days after I leave, and across the city there are all sorts of frenzied preparations underway, with Indian and American security personnel rushing to spiff up the place and to secure it..

I saw some of it first-hand today when I tagged along as a local journalist reported a visit-related story. (Nope, not specifying, but I will tweet a link once it's published)

Obama is stopping at a local university on Saturday or Sunday. We were there today, easily passing a long line of police guarding the entrance and wandering around as a bunch of laborers built wooden bleachers from scratch in the courtyard. (Only in India would things be built from scratch from raw materials at the last minute; I saw a couple doors, complete with latches, being used as sidewalk construction covers in Bangalore, and building scaffolding is sticks of bamboo that look haphazardly knotted together. Also: only here is there always a slew of security personnel that don't actually seem to be securing anything.)

In the midst of the bleacher building, a mix of white folks and Indians sauntered around with clipboards looking overwhelmed. Two visitors' bald spots reinforced my observation that Indian men generally keep their silky manes much longer than men do in the west. As we walked out, a bag inspector was being wheeled in for installation.

That's it for now; no thematic conclusion or what have you. I leave the country tomorrow, and I'm going to enjoy my final hours here. Kulfi, here I come! 

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