I was a seasoned graduate student during the 1991 war that was led by papa Bush. It was the war when we became familiar with "Stormin Norman" Schwarzkopf. For a couple of years after that, the old general was in the news and then, like all old soldiers do, he too faded away.
I had since forgotten the name Schwarzkopf. Until my visit to New Delhi!
Yes, all the way on the other side of the planet, I am reminded of the general. In a very strange context, which had nothing to do with America or war or anything along those lines.
I was walking around in a distant suburb of New Delhi, appreciating how well-planned this suburb was compared to most areas that are quite messy because of the incremental nature of the built environment.
There were all kinds of formal stores, and informal hawking. People, especially youngsters, were out and about, checking on the prices and chatting all the time with one another and on their cell phones.
As I looked up, I saw a board "Schwarzkopf Professional Hair and Beauty Salon."
To some extent, I can imagine an Indian walking around with the name Schwarzkopf. During my early years in Neyveli, there was a classmate whose name was "John Kennedy" because his father was so impressed with the American president. There was a ball-boy/tennis assistant at our local club whose name was Franklin Roosevelt. Maybe somebody was impressed with the general's war success that he named his son Schwarzkopf?
Like even this interesting juxtaposition of an arty version of the Hindu god, Ganesh, with signs on streetlight posts in the background advertising Apple and Blackberry products.
I spotted this Ganesh in an art studio in the middle of all the commercial and touristy hullabaloo at Connaught Place. A few steps away from a McDonald's was a stairway with a sign for an art exhibit/studio.
Intrigued, I walked up.
This Ganesh was one of the many arty paintings and sculpture pieces that I saw there. It was eerie that I was the only person there, other than a guy who was going over some files. I don't think he was reviewing General Schwarzkopf's war record! But then, I can't rule that out either :)