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March 25, 2000
'Even a "hi" to the President of United States was a big thing'
I received an invitation from the American consulate just 2, 3 days before President Clinton's visit. I have some friends in the consulate and they asked me if I would be interested to go. Obviously I accepted the invitation.
Apparently, Clinton wanted to meet youngsters from different walks of life. I guess they asked me because he also wanted to meet somebody from the media. You know, it was such a privilege for me. I was excitedly looking forward to the day he would come to Bombay.
We were called at Café Royal at 4:30 p m on Friday. They chose Café Royal because it is one of the oldest buildings in Bombay.
We were all punctual, but Clinton came a little late as he had stopped over at a blind school on the way. I don't know the name though.
I must say he walked in just like any other normal person. We all stood up when he entered. He shook hands with each one of us. We introduced ourselves and I said, 'It's an honour meeting you, sir'. And that's it. Those were the only words I said throughout the evening.
I am not the kind of person who gets nervous easily, but that day I was. I didn't say anything else and I really regret doing that. But I guess it was because of nervousness. He was speaking to the others -- Sanjana Kapoor, Nandan Nilekani, Swati Piramal... They too were speaking to him...
Clinton spoke a lot with the owners of Café Royal. Chelsea too was quite friendly. She told us that she enjoyed her Jodhpur trip very much. She was praising the kurtas that some of us were wearing.
Clinton then went inside to attend a conference. They had set aside a small cabin upstairs from where he could keep in touch with the White House. That sums up our brief meeting with Clinton. For me, even a 'hi' to the President of United States was a big thing.
Actress Suman Ranganathan spoke to Kanchana Suggu
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