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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Clinton and Nehru--making ordinary men feel extraordinary

The image “http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/0375414576.03.LZZZZZZZ.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “http://www.curtispublishing.com/images/Rockwell/9630119.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.They are two great men with one common trait--they both made ordinary men feel extraordinary in their presence. I have the proud privilege to be that unique ordinary man who personally experienced this great quality of the two leaders in his life.

As Chairman of the International Cultural Forum, India, I had the pleasure of taking a group of children to Prime Minister Nehru's residence for his blessings before the children were to leave for a Summer Camp in the then Soviet Union. Mrs. Indra Gandhi, the PM's daughter, received and rushed us to Mr. Nehru's study for a hurried audience with him as per appointment. However, Mr. Nehru was in no hurry and asked Mrs. Gandhi to arrange for some snacks and soft drinks for us. In the meanwhile he made us feel at home by shifting from the sofa to the carpet to show us on the atlas the summer camp site along the beautiful Black Sea where the children would be spending the summer months. When the 15-minutes allotted time for our appointment was over, Mr. Nehru was still absorbed in giving the children orientation lessons for their participation in the international camp. Mrs. Gandhi had a hard time engaging Ministers and other important persons who were waiting for their turn to meet the Prime Minister as per their respective appointments. Indeed, it is beyond imagination how extraordinary we all felt when we came out after spending the most wonderful time of our life with the great world leader, for full one hour.

Nearly three decades later, I along with my wife Jeet were on a long vacation to spend time with our son in the States. We had stayed there in thick of the presidential campaign through inauguration of Mr. Bill Clinton as President of the United States. We sent him a letter congratulating him on his great victory even though I was certain that it would be lost in multitude of such letters. But to our great surprise, we got prompt reply from the President.Later on, when we had moved to the U.S. to join our son, during the eight years of his presidency I wrote several letters on varied subjects to President Clinton and I am proud to possess his personal replies to each one of them. The unique privilege of corresponding with President Bill Clinton would remain my most rewarding experience in life that could only be compared to experiencing the greatness of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.