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Ashram stay for Kanye

Disgraced rapper Kanye West heads to Puducherry in India after his Grammy debacle for month-long sojourn.

music Updated: Oct 14, 2009 17:16 IST
Rahul Sabharwal

Days after actress Julia Roberts packed her bags and left India, the country is all set to welcome another A-lister. Rapper Kanye West is reportedly heading to Puducherry. West, who has hits like Stronger and Heartless to his credit, plans to stay at Sri Aurobindo Ashram for a month’s time.

Incidentally, this comes a month after West’s Grammy debacle, when he interrupted singer Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech. West went on stage, snatched the microphone from Swift, and said that Beyonce, who was also nominated for the same award, was a more deserving candidate. Since then, West has been publicly criticised and his fan-base has taken a major beating. Even US President Barack Obama called West a “jackass” is an off-the-record comment. And even though West made an apology on The Jay Leno Show, it hasn’t done much to mend his image.

Sources close to the rapper say his visit to India is bid at damage control. “Kanye might do some dumb things, but he’s smart,” MSNBC quoted a source close to West as saying. “He knows he needs to come back from this break changed, and that isn’t going to happen at some rehab overlooking the ocean. He goes to India, he has a chance to come back seeming like he learned something from what happened,” the source added,

West, who has been keeping a low profile of late, also cancelled his joint tour with Lady GaGa prior to his visit. “He feels terrible about hurting Taylor Swift, and sees it as another sign that his life is going in the wrong direction since his mother died (Nov 7),” Contactmusic quoted an insider as saying.

There are also those who feel West’s visit to India will help him reassess his life and gain “spiritual guidance”. In a statement issued in Nevada, Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that when West returns to the US after the Ashram stay, he should put into practice what he learnt at there.

Meanwhile, fans of the rap star are ecstatic at his surprise visit. “He’s an icon for our generation. His influence in India will only get bigger with this visit,” says Raghav Joshi, a student. Prateek Verma, an engineering student, adds, “For me, it’s a bigger deal than Julia [Roberts] coming to India. It would’ve been great if he was performing though.” Writer Priya Sharma believes West’s doing it “for publicity”. “The guy’s a jerk — he’s just hoping this stint will ‘redeem’ him,” she says.