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Hi, this is Melissa Bell.  I'm an American working at Mint and I had the pleasure of pestering LiveJournal during the American election, so I'm back to annoy you all in the global forum.

After two years of living in India, my parents (Californians by birth who have gotten frighteningly comfortable in their home state) are finally making the long trek to visit me in my new home. It hasn’t been without some cajoling on my part. And just when they announced their plans, a week later, Mumbai fell victim to a heinous terrorist attack. My parents then read weeks of front-page US coverage and watched images of the burning Taj hotel and seriously worried about their trip out here.  

When I started planning their trip, I thought it would be great to go skiing in Kashmir.  The resort has perfect snowfall, few fellow skiers and the Himalayas as the backdrop. It sounds pretty perfect. I also thought we should stop in Mumbai.  I love the old decrepit charm of the Portuguese buildings falling down in Colaba, the masses of blue and white homes in the fishing village on the tip of the city, the majesty of the great mass of colonial charm in Victoria’s Terminus.

The parents were not so keen on the plan: “We’d like to go somewhere that hasn’t seen violence recently.”

Sadly, in India, those places are few and far between. Bombs exploded in the park I eat my lunch in last September. The insanely overly-saturated tourist trap of Jaipur had its own bomb blasts in May.  My friend’s ancestrol home state of Assam just was hit last week.

We seem to move on from the attacks pretty quickly in India.  The Mumbai blasts saw an eruption of anger for the first month, but the hotels are back open and people are moving on.  But for foreigners, has the sheen of New India been permanently darkened? The New York Times recommends India as one of the top 43 places to visit in 2009.  But how many people will come?  Would you come?

 
India was viewed for very long by the west as a romantic and exotic destination. In the last decade this perception has changed to some extent with India taking centre stage as a potential growth engine. With the Mumbai terror attacks and the global slowdown hitting India it has quickly become the microcosm of much of what we have to deal with globally.

How do you view the interplay of risk and a growing market?

 



 

Are you partying like it's 1999?

Mitra Kalita, a national editor and columnist at Mint, here in New Delhi. There are a few election parties I know of planned (am gonna try to head over to one at 6am, another in the evening--and will just have to drag myself to work in between!) but the festive atmosphere in foreign countries is noteworthy and perhaps reflects a few trends. One, more Americans are living in places such as India, and in diverse fields, from technology to development to media (ahem). Two, the last few elections really drove home the point about every vote mattering so overseas groups really got themselves organized. And three, perhaps because of the nature of these candidates, Indian media, at least, seemed to really carry a number of op-eds and pieces on where they stood on foreign policy. If you live overseas or have family who do, tell us how voting played out? And any parties planned? Are these limited to U.S. citizens in these countries or are foreigners also getting in on the game? 

On a lighter, art-ier note...

Street art seems to have a new hero: Obama.  Not only are established artists (such as photographer Martin Schoeller and Obey artist Shepard Fairey) being inspired by the Democrats' hope, every Tom, Dick, and Sally at a street fair in San Francisco had their own take on the would-be prez, from macaroni magnets to stone leaf-shaped pendants praising Obama and every other house in Venice Beach has a creative take on Obama's photo. (See a good round up of some art at this blog here.)

Venice and SF are decidedly left-leaning, but I have trouble imagining an outpouring of art inspired by McCain (I'll ignore the rather mean-spirited comic interpretations of Palin for the sake of keeping it about the presidents here). 

Has Obama's cool-quotient given us a reenactment of Nixon v. Kennedy?  Or is the hipster/arty outpouring scaring off just-right-of-center republicans? 

War on Terror

Hi everybody,
I am Anil again. Thanks again for your prompt response to our query on outsourcing. Was curious to know how all of you and the average American public view the war on terror. Since 2001, the United States and the larger western world in general have been spared from attacks.
Increasingly, the debate is focusing on Pakistan, especially after the change in leadership as well as the conflict with the Taliban residing in the north-western frontier provinces escalates.
Is the war on terror as significant an issue in this election as it was in 2004 and what is the average perception about Pakistan; noticed that both, Obama and McCain, had comments to offer during the debate.
Anil

Clueless in America

Hey everyone, I'm Melissa, an American living in India and working at Mint. I just arrived back in California to visit my parents (after 31 hours of transit). I'll be here for a month blogging from the netherworld of the prodigal daughter trying to make sense of her own country.

I missed the presidential debate (I was in the air!), and I didn't think I'd have a chance to hear how things went until arriving at my final destination. But on my 6am connection flight from Newark, even before the newspapers had hit the stands, the debate was all everyone on the flight talked about. It was exciting to watch total strangers politely disagree about more than just the armrest.

From what I've gathered, the economy and Iraq took up most of the debate's time, as to be expected. Obviously, those are pretty much the hot top two topics. Did they miss any key points or issues? If there are any undecided voters out there, did the debate sway you in any one direction? If not, what are you waiting to hear from the candidates?

Outsourcing and India


This is Anil from Mint. Many thanks for replying so promptly....

As some of you have pointed out that outsourcing more than the entry of skilled workers is the key issue.

Are either Obama or McCain being forced by the voters to take a stand on the subject; as it did figure in the democratic primaries.

Is the ire of voters directed against any single country? India for instance?