No, it’s not her preference for ‘idly sambar’ or ‘paneer tikkas’ that appeals to the Indian in me. It’s what she shuns that fascinates me. The diet of negativity and pessimism that presents insurmountable barriers to women judged endlessly the world over, preventing them from taking even baby steps towards their goal, is at the root of failure and Kamala gets her menu right when she says “I have in my career been told many times, It’s not your time”
‘It’s not your turn’. Let me tell you, I eat ‘no’ for breakfast”. The lady who finds cooking therapeutic and has a cookbook full of interesting recipes has indeed made a ‘meal’ of critics, getting the results right and making floors out of glass ceilings. Kamala Harris, the first woman Vice-President in 244 years of the mighty American nation is also the first Indian American, first Black and first South Asian American to get there, breaking stereotypes, barriers and pre-conceived notions of a nation that calls itself the world leader but has been found wanting in gender parity. Kamala’s career as a prosecutor, district attorney and attorney general was remarkable too and in keeping with her many firsts. The child from the predominantly black community of Oakland sent to a 95 per cent white school in Berkeley as part of the controversial “busing scheme” of desegregation, braving all odds grew up to build a meteoric legal career and set higher goals for herself. Her personality crafted on rules and justice imprinted on her by her Jamaican father Donald Harris and Indian mother Shyamala Gopalan is vividly described in her 2019 memoir “The Truths We Hold”. It was the ‘justice soul’ in her that predominated when she was attorney general, California state whether it was her innovative “Back on Track” programme related to drug trafficking, stance on marijuana, racial bias and police brutality, anti-truancy policy or decriminalisation of sex work. Facing criticism for her opposition to criminal justice reforms, Kamala offered valid arguments for what was largely perceived as being on the wrong side of history. Described as a ‘pragamatic moderate’ she has I believe a centrist record that can hold together both moderates and progressives which makes her a vocal Vice- President in stark contrast to her silent predecessor. Apart from bringing dynamism to her present assignment Kamala is certain to transition to the next historical moment four years from now and memes showing a sticker titled ‘Kamala Niwas’ on the White House may be well within the realm of possibility. What I love about this history-making trailblazer is her confident declaration “I am who I am”. May she ever remain who she is!