January 14, 2005

The Sub-Collector, his Son and a Birthday Party

In Parangipettai two weeks ago, Amit Varma and I met an impressive young sub-collector, Rajendra Ratnoo. Surrounded as we were by a Minister, his entourage and several community leaders who had come to meet him, we had a hard time interviewing Ratnoo. But still, it was enough to come away with the sense that Ratnoo was practical, sensible and, even then -- just five days after the tsunami -- had things under control. What's more, this was an impression confirmed by various other people we met in the area.

(Amit mentions Ratnoo a few times in his writing, and specifically here.)

I have just finished an article around meeting Ratnoo for India Together, which should be on their front page tomorrow (Jan 15).

While writing it, I called Ratnoo to ask a couple of questions. He answered the phone in the middle of a birthday party for his son -- I could hear some of the festivities in the background. He had invited a number of children to the party. Nothing unusual about that -- what's a birthday party without lots of kids?

But this was unusual: these are children orphaned by the tsunami.

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