Melissa Fernandes meets a few ecstatic and newly-famous class 10 students from Holy Name High School. Their claim to fame - interacting and dancing with the first couple of the United States of America!
US President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama captured young Indian hearts by matching footsteps and dancing along with a few chosen school children from Holy Name High School in Mumbai. The first family and the school children danced to the tunes of 'Mee Hai Koli'.
The first couple began their visit to the school by checking out an exhibit of students' science projects. President Obama then lit a diya and proceeded to the school auditorium to watch the performances. The school children put together two sets of performances - a diya dance choreographed in the style of Bharatnatyam and a Koli dance to which even the President and his wife shook a leg.
We spoke to six students from the school and here is what they had to say about their interactions with President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama.
"My happiness had no boundaries when I knew I was meeting Barack Obama. I was really excited to meet the most popular and influential man in the world. We were in our project room when he and his wife, Michelle Obama, entered school. The first couple entered the room saying "Namaste" and "Happy Diwali" and greeted all of us. Both of them came up to me, smiled warmly and asked me to start my presentation, which was on eco-friendly villages and 'Care for Creation'. Their expressions made me feel comfortable and I could present easily. They heard us carefully and even gave us a few tips. Michelle Obama was more enthusiastic and energetic as she joined us on the dance floor to the tunes of Koli music. She imitated the Koli dancers' steps and we enjoyed watching it. I asked President Obama to dance and then he joined us too. I really enjoyed their company. Their visit inspired me to study as President Obama asked us about our future and spoke about the significance of education."
"Meeting President Obama was like a dream come true. But I was a little apprehensive about my presentation. As they came and greeted us, they made us feel comfortable. I didn't expect them to say "Namaste" and was shocked to hear it. We connected to them immediately as they were very friendly. I started presenting my project which was titled 'Global Warming'. Both of them liked it and even praised my efforts. At the end of the presentations, President Obama even asked for a group photograph which was unexpected. He gave all of us chocolates as gifts and an autographed photograph of himself."
"It was a great feeling to meet the US President and his wife. I only watched them on TV and never imagined meeting them. When I was told of their visit, I thought they wouldn't interact with us at all, but it was just the opposite. They were very sociable and spoke to each one of us. They shook hands with everyone and smiled. I was surprised when they even joined us on the dance floor and didn't shy away. I even asked a question to Michelle Obama and she answered it graciously. My question was, "Behind every successful man, there's a woman. What was your support to President Obama?" She said, "It's our parents who supported us and it's not me but Mr Obama who made me famous."
"I was more than excited to meet Barack and Michelle Obama. They were very kind and didn't hesitate to shake hands with all of us. I was the one who welcomed them to the school and stood speechless after that. But their company made me feel better and I could interact with them. I even complimented Michelle on her dance and she smiled and continued. She even repeated the performance and danced again. It was a lot of fun and I will never forget this day."
"I was nervous about my schedule that day but the nervousness faded when both of them entered and greeted us by saying "Namaste." They took a keen interest in our projects and even encouraged us to study. President Obama was more like a friend than a President. He invited all of us to America and asked us if we had our relatives over there. He questioned us about our future and wanted to know who would get into the science stream. Even before we went down to the hall where we were supposed to perform for them, he had asked us to join him to light the diya, which we do traditionally before starting a programme. We were very excited to be with them and spend some time."
"I made the Diwali charts and other things to welcome the President and his wife. I enjoyed meeting both of them but didn't really get a chance to talk to Michelle Obama as too many of us wanted to talk. They were very humble and made an effort to talk to each one of us. I got a chance to question President Obama and asked him about his experience at our school. He praised our projects and performances and said that we all were well-organised."