The day a Tee Wallah received a personal letter from First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Yes, I Did! Yes, She Did!
And Yes, He Can!
Congratulations President Obama for your re-election!
And as I watched President Obama’s election night speech, this Masala Tee wallah had a personal flashback. President Barak Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to India in November 2010 was so memorable for several reasons.
To begin, it created a lot of excitement in my neighborhood when we had news that the US Presidential couple will tour the Humayun Tomb situated very near my home in Nizamuddin East. That was confirmed when my husband and I witnessed many army and secret service personnel pacing up and down our streets, crossing our gardens, climbing up our staircases and strutting around our terraces with sniper rifles and walkie talkies. Oh Yes, they did! Just like a scene out of ’24 Hours.’
Always an admirer of what the Obamas stand for, I (with my cheerleading husband in tow) excitedly armed myself less menacingly with a small camera and binoculars, and decided to get in the act – snooping at many men in green who were snooping around. From my own terrace where I had covertly located myself, an army personnel told me to ‘please ma’am, get out of your terrace’. Amidst all this confusion around me, I’d managed to aim hard enough and snapped some shots of Mr & Mrs Obama from my terrace through some holes from some distant bushes. These larger than life figures appeared as tiny tiny specks from my point & shoot camera. But I did not care. After all, how often do you get to see the Presidential couple strolling hand-in-hand in your own backyard (well, almost)? Feeling quite like a paparazzi, I sneaked in a shot- yep, I did!
A day later, a dear someone I know excitedly shared with me the news that he was attending a tea session with the Obamas. Fired up by my covert scene from the Humayun Tomb, I excitedly prepared a gift for the Obama family- a pack of actual masala tea, a personal card for Michelle plus four Masala Tees : a Masala Tee Jewel for Michelle, a Masala T-urban for Obama, and Masala Tee Sugarcubes with bejeweled Indian animals for Sasha and Malia. Everyone close and dear to me said two words, “wishful thinking.” Undaunted, I went ahead and instructed my friend to pass along my gifts to them- yes sirree, I did!
Finally, the crux of the story ended like this.
The card and gifts actually got handed over to the Obamas.
Oh yes, truly they did! (n.b: I am sure that the pack had to pass through many layers of security before it reached their hands!)
A month after I’d sent those gifts and card through my friend, and when all that excitement was forgotten, I saw a big yellow envelope peeping out of my dusty Indian post-box. Nonchalantly, I picked it up and saw the address printed at the top of the envelope.
It says THEWHITE HOUSE.
Yes, indeed it did!
My heart raced. I opened the envelope to find a letter from her royal loveliness, smartness, grace and style (and of enviable ultra-toned shoulders), and a champion of poverty, military families and conscious healthy living. First Lady extraordinaire & Mom in Chief,
I read it, my heart thumping with joy and quiet disbelief that my gift of Masala Tees (and tea) and card actually got through to them. Over a tea session in India. And how very apt that was.
I high-fived everyone I passed in my neighborhood that day (from the chai wallah to the fruit wallah to the rickshaw wallah) without explaining anything to them, and happily called all those who disbelieved that I would pull this off.
Yes, I Did!
Yes, She Did!
And Yes, He Can!
Congrats President Barack Hussein Obama & First Lady, Michelle Obama!
All Signed. Sealed. Delivered.
4 More Years of your values, of your coolness, of you.