Among the myriad of programs during His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s just concluded visit to the United States was an event with members of the Indian community in the New York area. This was part of the program to thank India for its assistance to the Tibetan people that the Tibetan leadership in India has been organizing this year, on the occasion of the 50th year of life in exile. You can read a report about the New York event here as well as in the Indian media.
The turnout in New York was beyond expectations and so the room was really full. Some people were left having to stand outside the room (They ultimately were among the lucky ones who got the opportunity to take a photo with His Holiness when he stepped out of the room as the rest of the people were kept in the room by the security).
I met film maker Ritu Sarin, who is married to our very own Tenzing Sonam, himself a film maker and a writer (you can read his latest output, a challenging perspective on the Middle Way Approach in the May 2009 issue of Himal magazine) there. She was on a visit to New York and so Ritu and I joked with each other saying that the atmosphere was like being back in India, except that instead of samosas and jelabis, there were cookies.
As could be expected, there were people indulging in “businesses” of a different kind. I saw one individual distributing his business card to almost everyone. He turned out to be someone standing for a position in the New York City Council from Jackson Heights (a major hot spot for Indian Americans in New York) and so was taking the opportunity to promote himself here. He said he was the only Asian American standing for the position and wanted us to spread the word as he said there are quite many of “your people” in the constituency. Then there was another person who was giving his business card to a Tibetan official asking him to contact him the next time. “Give me a month’s notice,” he was telling him and “I will bring along thousands of people” for an event with His Holiness. “You don’t have to do anything,” he was saying.
All in all, it was an interesting event.