Narendra Modi made a deft ascent from Gandhinagar to New Delhi in order to meet US President Barack Obama. For those well acquainted with the habits of the Indian PM, they knew it was only a sign of the things to come.
The true demonstration of his proficiency when it comes to delivering a message broke ground when he was presented as the 15th Prime Minister of India back in May 2014. Ever since his aura of being a symbolic leader has been there for all to see as he continues to engage with some of the big names from stage of global politics.
The manner in which he handled POTUS (President of the United States) Obama’s latest visit to India for the Republic Day celebrations is a case in point- barely half a day had passed and PM Modi was already at his symbolic best!
Air Force One had barely touched down on Indian soil when Modi began his charm offensive. In an act that went against protocol, the Indian Prime Minister turned up at the airport so as to personally greet and welcome Obama and the First Lady.
By the time Obama made his way down to the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the customary meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee and the Guard of Honor, Modi had made a swift wardrobe switch ditching the traditional Indian garb for a more formal pinstripe bandhgala.
However, this sartorial statement paled in comparison to the masterstroke Modi had lined up as Wing Commander Pooja Thakur of the Indian Air Force led the inter-services Guard of Honour at the forecourt of the Presidential Palace. At a time when India is under constant and rightful criticism from the West owing to the unending woes of crime against women, to have a lady officer lead out a powerful military ceremony for one of the most important men in the World sent out a message that really packed a punch.
While Indians digested Modi’s morning memo on women power at their respective breakfast tables, the two political spearheads headed out for the fabled Hyderabad House in New Delhi where, after some nourishment, they would sit down for negotiations. As everyone has come to expect from the Indian PM, the expansive menu had a subtle Gujarati taste to it. And to quell the curiosity of the gastronomically inclined, the vegetarian and non-vegetarian variants of the menu were made public by the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry.
With lunch served and consumed at around 3 PM, the two leaders were found taking a stroll in the quaint garden of Hyderabad House. While both were engaged in deep conversation punctuated by near constant gesticulation, the whole atmosphere wore a pristine and informal look with occasional laughters and even a pat on the shoulder.
Television cameras had a great time following them around, jostling to capture the perfect frame of Obama and Modi as they continued their chatter by a pool of water. Avoiding the ensuing poetry was simply not an option.
However, the most symbolic moment of all had still not arrived! This soon followed suit, though, with tea being served- an object (and activity) that has become central to all that relates to the myth of Narendra Modi.
As the Indian PM- once a tea seller in a quaint mofussil town of the nation- poured out a cuppa for the US President (minus sufficient amount of sugar) the latter totally bought Modi’s patented concept of “chai pe charcha” (conversations over tea).
“We need more of those at the White House,” Obama would say later.
For a nation that sways to the slightest hint of drama and spectacle Narendra Modi, as its elected representative, has ensured that Indians have more than enough of the said activities to keep themselves busy.
Considering there is enough substance to back such copious symbolism, India and the World has once again been privy to the aura of Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi.