Tilak Rishi's weblog

Musings on writing, expression, world politics, journalism, movies, philosophy, life, humour...

My Photo

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.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Letters From A President

In the U.S., when the nation is celebrating Presidents' Day, I cherish my most joyous moments of receiving letters from a great President.. During the period our petition for immigration to USA was under process, my wife and I went through the most interesting experience of watching the vigorous campaigning for the ensuing presidential elections. We got so engrossed in the ongoing campaign that we forgot we were till then visitors only, and looked more American than the Americans in reacting to the results of the election. We celebrated the victory of the president elect, Bill Clinton, with sweets and such enthusiasm that was similar to one whenever our favorite candidate won back home in India. I immediately posted a letter congratulating the president elect, even though I knew he would not see my letter as it would be lost amongst multitude of such letters. But to our great surprise, I got a prompt reply from the president elect. It encouraged me to write again on his inauguration as President of the United States. Within weeks I received an envelope with the White House marking. Presiden Bill Clinton had personally acknowledged my letter of congratulations.

Later on, during 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. His replies were much more than mere acknowledgments of my letters; they reflected how much he valued the views of others, especially of the common people like me, whom he cared for and placed above others.

Thank you so much for your message. I've been touched by the many expressions of encouragement and support I have received from people like you across our country and around the world....

The above excerpt is from a letter he wrote when he was passing through the most difficult days of his presidency as well as his personal life. Motion for his impeachment on account of the Monica Lewinsky scandal was being hotly debated in the Senate. While praying for him to pass through the ordeal without any harm to his position, I sent him the following clipping from one of my letters published in the Hindustan Times, New Delhi.

From mythology to history to date, there is no dearth of powerful men who succumbed to seductive advances of women of all sorts. If all those men had to face a “Starr” of their time, determined to dig out all the lucid details of their love affairs and had recorded the same for the humanity to read, the world would have found that “Clintonitis” was not something new, but had been there all along. And talking of powerful men of mythology and history, seduced by women, there is a striking similarity of the situation of President Clinton and the episode in Hindu mythology where the great sage Vishvamitra was seduced by Menka and disturbed during his deep meditation in the Himalayas. Even the names of the two women are alike – Menka and Monica. Menka had been specially sent by the detractors of the sage with the mission to disturb him and make him discontinue his meditation, which if completed, would have made him the most powerful sage of all times. Who knows the President's adversaries, to cut short his presidency, also might have planted Monica. And who knows, as Vishvamitra was still revered as one of the greatest sages in Hindu mythology in spite of the Menka episode, Bill Clinton will also be acclaimed as one of the greatest presidents in the U.S. history, irrespective of the Monica incident.

As it happened, sage Vishvamitra's analogy perfectly fitted President Clinton's case. Like the sage, he not only overcame the happening unharmed, but also became far more popular amongst his people than ever before. In fact he was one step ahead of the sage; while the mythological Menka did succeed in her mission to disrupt the sage's meditation, the present time Monica miserably failed to distract President Clinton from his presidential duties that he performed as efficiently as ever, during the ordeal and thereafter.

President Clinton seemed quite touched by my sentiments and support, especially my comparing him to the Hindu sage, as he not only started to address me as a friend and by first name, but also began to value my views on various subjects much more seriously, as was reflected in his replies. President Clinton's second term in office ended the same year he visited India, and with that ended my most joyous moments of finding in my mailbox envelopes from the White House. However, the unique experience of corresponding with President Bill Clinton remains my most rewarding experience in life.


Post a Comment

<< Home