India my life’s greatest experience
Oprah Winfrey got an overwhelming reception at the Jaipur Literature Festival.
JAIPUR: Oprah Winfrey's grandmother had a dream: she wanted her granddaughter to grow up to be a respectable maid. She would have fallen off her chair had she been at the Jaipur Literary Festival, where Oprah got a standing ovation as she walked in for a session. As crowds surged to enter the venue, with many of them stopped despite valid entry tickets, a poster sticking out told the story: "I have waited for 10 years to get a minute of your time."
"I came to India with open mind and expanded heart," said Oprah. "The sight of ox pulling heavy steel beams, a man riding a donkey, and another one on a motorbike using his cell phone," said the world's best known TV talk show host. "India is a paradox. It has been my greatest life experience," she added. And even here, her compassionate side surfaced: she goes on to imagine the ox asking the man to put himself in his shoes, pulling the weight of the steel.
Then, referring to her life experiences, she said, "The fact I was born in segregated southern US in Mississippi in 1954 to a teenaged unmarried mother, during the time of apartheid, has influenced me into becoming what I am. Fortunately, I had never been put into a segregated school. But all my life I had to fight everyone. To be born a girl child is not safe," she said.
"But for me, education is the most important thing. I have been from village to village in Africa looking for girls like myself... and families desperate for education. I was raised by my grandmother in poverty. She did not live to see me become an educated woman," said Oprah.
Oprah's visit to Vrindavan to meet widows moved her. "I have spoken for years for women to own their voices. Just because your husbands have died, you cannot become second class citizens. This thing should be eradicated from earth," she said. And since Opera's first talk show focused on "marrying the right person", to the question, "What's the marrying kind?" she said, "Ask the women in India. Had I gotten married, we would have been divorced by now and he would agree. I am my own woman. I don't conform well with other people's ideas. I have great respect for marriage and admiration for the way women marry." Then she said, "Arranged marriage would be hard for me."
And she made her political preference clear: "Obama is a man... and not god. And only a man makes mistakes. The world forgot we were on the brink of a depression. I strongly feel he should remain in office for the next four years."