October 2 in New York

My investment banker friend Mr B R Ramaprasad and his wife Shyamala take time off every oct.2 to be at New York’s Union Square Park to pay homage to the Mahathma. Son of a Mysore school headmaster, Mr Ramaprasad has been in the US since 1970; and a regular at the Oct.2 prayer meetings since 1986 when the Gandhi statue came up in the park. Indian consulate, along with the Bharatiya vidhya Bhavan, host the solemn, if thinly attended,ceremony marked by bhajans and meditative silence.

India Abroad, referring to the unfailing attendance of Mr Prasad, of Millington, NJ, once quoted him as saying he  came there to remind himself of Gandhi’s  sacrifice for India and to celebrate the cause he upheld – peace with freedom. Mr Prasad reckons that the freedom that most of today’s generation has come to take for granted can be valued more, if we remind ourselves of the strife, struggle and the sacrifices that had gone into the battle for Independence.

Mr Prasad, in reference to his adopted country, cited the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where America’s Freedom Rising is articulated with sound-light effect that relates to the digital era citizenry. Mr Prasad believes we could emulate the technology to tell the story of our freedom struggle. Raj Ghat in New Delhi would a natural venue for a Philadelphia-type Liberty Bell complex.  And NRIs in the US could help India with know-how and funding for the audio-visual presentation, says Mr Prasad, adding that the proposal could be taken up for discussion in the next Pravesi Bharatiya conference.

A funny thing happened on our way to Philadelphia. Driving from Millington, New Jersey, Mr Prasad keyed in the GPS device in his car for direction to the Liberty Bell complex in downtown Philadelphia. A recorded voice from the gadget kept telling us when and where to exit from Freeway; talking us through a series of turns and crossings before announcing that we had made it to the destination. But we found ourselves in a market area with no sign of the Bell in the vicinity. As it turned out, the GPS had led us to a Taco Bell, not the Liberty Bell.

P S: Reacting to the above Mr Prasad e-mailed, “Just one correction; I am not an investment banker, just an ordinary old fashioned (dumb ?) banker”.


One Response

  1. Great GVK, that you have brought Mr.Prasad to our attention. May his tribe increase. Even here, back home we tend to remember Gandhi so desultorily.

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