Behind me, on the stage, were Balamurali Krishna, N. Ramani and Ravi Kiran, preparing to perform together for the first, and (the announcer opined), possibly the last time. In front of me were 1000 people waiting to hear this trio in concert. I had come to the center of the front row of Waetjen Auditorium in Cleveland to talk with the Chief Guest of the Tyagaraja Aradhana, Deputy Ambassador Srinivasan.
Why was he the Chief Guest? Apparently the Indian Ambassador is regularly invited for this slot. Is this mixing of classical music and nation-state innocent? Is Srinivasan merely a fan of Tyagaraja? He told the audience that Clinton and Vajpayee had signed a mission statement and with Clinton’s visit to India, “we have really entered a new chapter in Indo-US relations.”