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Celebrating US elections in Mumbai

Last updated on: November 7, 2012 16:43 IST

Celebrating US elections in Mumbai

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Americans and desis came together to watch the US election results live at Mumbai's Hard Rock Cafe. Rediff.com's Nadisha Daniel and Abhishek Mande were at the venue. Photographs and video: Rajesh Karkera

It was an exceptionally early morning for the staff at Mumbai's Hard Rock Cafe as the popular restaurant opened its doors for a breakfast party hosted by the United States Consulate to mark the presidential election.

American flags and red, white and blue balloons gave the restaurant a festive if somewhat officious air even as guests walked around in hats striped with the colours of the American flag.

Peter D Haas, the consul general, welcomed the guests and hoped that the new administration further strengthens the ties between the US and India.

(Click here to watch what Peter D Hass had to say)


Image: James Jania took a day off from his duties at the consulate to play Uncle Sam
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera

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Celebrating US elections in Mumbai

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In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, the consulate hosted mock elections within the venue and everyone at the restaurant was asked to vote. The result was somewhat predictable -- Barack Obama won -- but the margin did surprise a few (Obama won 91 per cent of the votes).

Among those who were in the minority -- and purportedly voted for Mitt Romney -- was young social worker Sophia Davis who proudly wore the Republican colours.

"My mother runs a small business in Arizona and I have seen how (Obama's) policies have affected the economy and livelihood of the state," she said, adding that she had issues with Obama's policies on taxation, economy, healthcare and immigration.

She hastily added that she wasn't entirely anti-immigration. Davis, who works for an NGO, has been living in India for the last one year.

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Image: Yet another consular officer dresses up as Lady Liberty and raises a toast (literally) for Obama
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera

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Celebrating US elections in Mumbai

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Mumbai-based entrepreneurs Nina and Abhishek Lulla were overjoyed at Obama's victory even though neither voted this time.

Abhishek, who studied at Chicago, where Obama's home is, said that he wasn't very surprised with the results though he had suffered some pangs of doubt about the outcome some hours ago.

Lulla's wife Nina, who is Persian-American, confessed that she had been a tad lazy to register as a voter with the consulate for a postal ballot, even though she has been a loyal Democrat all her life. Nina and Abhishek run Luxury Limo -- a VIP and executive private car services company.

Unlike Nina, Martin Claessens had cast his vote over a month ago "to ensure it reaches on time". Claessens is a commercial officer with the US department of commerce and has been in India for the last few months. It wasn't, he said, the first time he had cast his vote while he was away from the US.

"The last elections, I cast my vote from Switzerland," he told us.

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Image: Mumbai's Hard Rock Cafe comes to life at an unusually early hour
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera

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E
ven as Claessens and other Americans sounded optimistic about the future of the US, Gayatri Eassey -- an American Indian who has settled in India and works for the American India Foundation -- pointed out that besides the economy, challenges in the education sector would remain a key issue for President Obama

Ensuring good education would effectively raise the hope of Americans across the board, she said, adding that in his second term Obama would also have to build stronger international relations.

By the time Romney delivered his concession speech, the party had begun to wind down. But the response to his speech was overwhelming as everyone -- the minority Republicans as well as the overwhelmingly large number of Democrats -- nodded their heads in approval for the opponent who will probably be best remembered as the man who gave the first African-American President a serious run for his post.

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Image: on Rediff iShare: Americans celebrate the US elections in Mumbai


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