A distant view, a few stolen photos for Mumbai residents | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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A distant view, a few stolen photos for Mumbai residents

mumbai Updated: Nov 06, 2010 18:53 IST
Dhamini Ratnam

After days of barricades, parking restrictions and security checks, the US President was in Mumbai and Colaba's residents were excited. In buildings, all along Barack Obama's route - and buildings not even on it - residents stood in their balconies and on their terraces, hoping to catch a glimpse of the choppers or the cavalcade. The President didn't disappoint.

As Limo One made its way down 3rd and 4th Pasta Lane en route from INS Kunjali to the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, he waved to locals who had been waiting on the streets for over an hour.

Even before the limo ride, as the President's helicopter, Marine One, landed at INS Kunjali, Komal Sangani, 38, a resident of D Vyas Marg, whipped out her camera to take some exclusive photographs from her living room, which overlooks the helipad.

"The arrival of the United States' first black President in the country is a momentous occasion," said Sangani, who has uploaded a video of Obama's arrival at INS Kunjali on Facebook. "We saw three helicopters land and two limousines arrive to pick up the President and his wife Michelle. The cops stationed on the terrace of the building opposite ours asked us not to shoot any photographs but we were too excited to listen."

Norma Lobo, 56, a Mumbai police volunteer on duty at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Marg, said she was sad to see that the President did not step out of his limousine to meet the public.

"President Bill Clinton mingled with people on the streets during his 2000 visit," said Lobo, who was also on duty as a police volunteer then. "But now times have changed and I don't expect Obama to do any such thing, given the security considerations."

Nonetheless, the gathered crowds watched from afar as the President made his first public address on Indian soil, at Gateway of India. The state visit, of course, meant that tourists like Arun Tripathi, 32, in town with his family from Orissa, could not visit the monument. "We are just here for a few days and we were looking forward to visiting Gateway of India, but we have been told by the police to return on Monday," said Tripathi. "We didn't realise that the security would be so tight and entire roads would be shut to the public."