December 09, 2019
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She's All There

She's All There
A friend tapped me on the shoulder. See the woman in the grey suit? His finger pointed to a middle-aged lady with glasses and a wide smile. That's the President of Switzerland, Ruth Dreifuss. Not one to scoff at the chance to sidle up to a celebrity, I walked over and introduced myself. She was friendly, charming and most interested in me, in India. The few questions I asked, she answered with a seriousness that was, for an Indian used to evasive politicians, startling. We spoke for a good 10 minutes.

And I was somewhat flabbergasted, too, through our little encounter. I would never have got within a mile of the President of India at an occasion like this. But the Swiss president stood here like anyone else, surrounded not by Black Cats but by all of us. She was relaxed and informal enough to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. Mrs Dreifuss only broke off our chat when Kofi Annan arrived. Excuse me, I have to go, she murmured, and stepped over to greet him.

Enough to leave an Indian utterly bewildered.

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