Prime Minister Narendra Modi's shedding tears and choking over remembering the sacrifices his mother made scrubbing dishes in the neighbourhood sure brought a lump in everyone's collective throats. The available biographies of the PM, and those who have written them, have maintained a diplomatic silence over the claim of the PM's family being at such acute hardship.
But the moment and the quote are notable. The PM is a busy man and has his favourite bunch of advisors. Most of whom must have come across the Dale Carnegie classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People. They must have seen the moment and keeping in mind the slavish adoration the PM gets from his bhakts and the media, would have whispered or said in passing that such candour can score maha brownie points. Ek dum super.
The moment: Americans love to cry. So do all people of the first world, the third world. But the poor crying is no picture compared to seemingly well-fed people crying like infants at the sight of an elderly man in the papal habit standing in a car and waving. Many Americans have been finding it hard to keep their tearducts dry seeing the general piety, devotion and the gigaload of emotion the first visit of Pope Francis, also the Third World's first Pope, has brought on the streets of the much-vilified streets of America. Americans don't always equal the meddlesome government they are represented by. They sure have welcomed a lot many Indians like the ones in SAP Centre in San Francisco and the ones in Madison last year.
Frontpages in US newspapers have been full of pictures of grown men and women crying as the papal car passed them by. Inspiration struck someone in either the PM's entourage or his well-wishers. And just as Mark Zuckerberg spoke of his parents being there in the crowd, the tearducts seem to have opened up. Remember, in America, among all values family values top the list. There, knockout. The perceptive may have noted a gif/video file doing the rounds on social media of a rather focused prime minister moving his colour blind, likeable host from impeding the camera's vision by his right arm.
During the invasion of the Modisnatchers, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife were hosted by the White House and had a state dinner to boot. The Chinese head of state had Mark Zuckerberg and his very pregnant wife in attendance. The Chinese scored big ecological points this time and had American industry fawning over them, not just Silicon Valley which is 50 per cent plus Indian anyway. And all this despite the American establishment's view that China is spying on the country and all that.
And no, the Chinese president didn't talk about his growing up.