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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Conquered in 50 glorious minutes

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 07, 2010
First Published: 23:27 IST(7/11/2010) | Last Updated: 23:30 IST(7/11/2010)

While some got a chance to ask US President Barack Obama a question, others listened to his every word. But every student present at St. Xavier’s College on Sunday felt that being there was an experience of a lifetime. Students share their experiences:

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Strong bond People would believe that meeting the most powerful man in the world would be an overwhelming experience. However, a valuable lesson I learnt today is that when you speak from your heart and let the natural thought process take precedence over hasty research, being fazed is a negligible issue. The wonderful rapport he established while answering our questions reiterated my belief that he is a people’s president. When his finger pointed at me and his eyes focused on me to stand up and ask my question, subconsciously it felt like I’d known him for a lifetime in those 50 glorious minutes I spent in his company. — Jahan Pestonjamas (20), HR College

Two minutes of fame I thought Obama, as expected, was very diplomatic while he answered the students’ questions. The most impressive reply came to an answer on Pakistan where he said it is in India’s interest that there is peace and stability in Pakistan and the region. After the event, my phone kept ringing and messages kept pouring in. People had seen me on television since I was strategically positioned right behind  Obama’s podium. — Mathew George (20), St Xavier’s College in the spotlight Obama’s security men  treated us like VIPs. Secret Service agent Bryan served us water. Michelle Obama's three-and-half-minute speech was spontaneous and impressive. As she introduced her husband the feeling finally sunk in. I was one of the privileged few, who would witness Obama from a distance of five meters, and have him answer queries, first hand. Overall, the question answer session went better than I thought. The questions were direct and his answers surprisingly satisfying. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I’m grateful for having been given this once in a lifetime opportunity by Dr. Kirti Narain, my principal. — Riddhi Shah (21), Jai Hind College

Magic handshake I was thrilled to hear him speak in person, but lady luck favoured me and I was honored to ask a question. I asked him, “In your 2008 presidential election one of the key words you used was change and in the recent mid-term polls the American people seem to have asked for a change. How is this change going to effect young India?” The President assured us that India and America have always been allies and shall continue to be, regardless of a Democratic or Republican rule. He spoke about the unemployment in America, pointed out the beauty of democracy, and about investment in education. Finally, his handshake sealed the deal. The eye contact he maintained and the smile reassured me that he was more than just a President of America. — Johan Fluery (20), St. Andrew’s College

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