|All the furore over Salman Rushdie’s absence from the ongoing Jaipur Literary Festival died down for the Big ‘O’ moment at the fest when the First Lady of American TV, the vivacious Oprah Winfrey took stage on Sunday.
Dressed in a suit by Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Oprah Winfrey wowed everyone with her wit and straight-talk. When she was asked her first impression of India, Oprah minced no words: “My first impression was that it was chaotic. It’s like seeing more people than I’ve ever encountered in my life. And yet there is no rage. There is a sense of calmness, even though there are so many people, there is a sense of karma.”
However, Oprah Winfrey did take a no-holds-barred dig at the way the traffic rules are flouted by Indians.
“Driving in India is like being in a video game. And what is it with red lights? Does it mean stop or not? Or is it just for your entertainment? I know I won’t be ever able to drive in India,” Oprah said, to a laughing crowd.
Oprah Winfrey admitted that she was greatly impressed by the family values in India.
“When Aishwarya and Abhishek were on my show, I asked them ‘What is that all about, that you live with your parents?” And Abhishek said to me, “What is that all about, that you don’t?!” And now I understand…” Winfrey said.
She added that people in India don’t talk religion, they live it.
“I went to Aishwarya and Abhishek’s house and they have an altar there. And I visited a family in the slums, living in a 6 by 6 room, and they too have an altar. People don't talk religion here, they live it,” Winfrey said.
Since the start of her Indian visit, Oprah Winfrey has been in Mumbai, Vrindavan, Agra and Jaipur. She is now headed to an ashram for spiritual rejuvenation. However, she didn’t disclose the specifics about the ashram.