Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Martin Luther King moment

Many journalists have had their Obama moments, sometime last year. I had mine a couple of months back when Mike Patel – a prominent Indian American hotelier from Atlanta - called to tell me that he had lined up an exciting interview for me – with Martin Luther King III, who was in Delhi. It was a Sunday morning and I was somewhat zoombiesque having worked till late the previous night. However, the fact that I was actually coming face to face with what for me is history, had me in quite a tizzy and I was off for the meeting – at a Delhi hotel – within less than 15 minutes.
The fact that I was to meet the son of Martin Luther King Jr – so soon after Barack Obama becoming the prez of US of A made the Sunday even more special. It was a good interaction and MLK III took time in responding to all my questions at length – in fact we spoke for almost 45 mins and discussed wide ranging issues such as the challenges before the new Prez, poverty in America, civil rights, racial discrimination and Mahatma Gandhi’s thoughts and ideas which had so much influenced MLK’s father.
I’ve met and interviewed key Indian-American members on the Obama team – Vivek Kundra & Aneesh Chopra, before of course their current assignments. I’ve even interviewed Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on phone – but MLK III, believe me, was a very special interview. And that despite the fact, that it wasn’t exactly the kind of interview that would make it very big on our business newspaper.
My President Clinton moment was somewhat unusual too – when I shook hands with him at the Chatwal wedding in Delhi some years ago. In fact, I’ve met another POTUS – Jimmy Carter – who was in Delhi for a Coke foundation event – there too was an Indian America link - Dr Sue Sehgal, Founder & President, Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Partnership Foundation. None of us had got anywhere near President Bush when he visited Delhi – I guess now I’ll have to keep trying to get the big one – an interview with BHO himself!!!!

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