Sunday morning began ominously, with dark clouds and large birds of prey circling over the site we had worked so hard to develop for the Secretary’s visit. This was one of the research sites of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in Pusa, New Delhi. Fields of rice, peacocks with tails outspread, workers, field machinery drawing plumes of dust in the distance. It is the month of Shravan in India, the time of the monsoon, immortalized by Indian poets and Sufi mystics, symbolized by the clouds dark and heavy with rain.
But, if it rained, we’d have to go indoors, and say goodbye to this gem in the dust.
We were amazed by the amount of work and craftsmanship the IARI team had devoted and the pride they took in preparing this site for the Secretary. We arrived to find a flowing shamiana, rippling colored flags lining the chalked-white drive, a stage where the Secretary would speak befitting royalty. What site could possibly be better, we thought, for the Secretary to pronounce the burgeoning relationship India and the United States?
And then it began to rain.
Fortunately, though, the rain subsided long before the Secretary arrived, and the powerful, searing heat that replaced the shower dried the mud which had formed along the dusty margins of the road.
As time passed, in the distance, we began to see the glimmer of sunlight glinting off metal as the Secretary’s motorcade approached, like a mirage taking definite shape before us. This was the moment we had all anticipated and envisioned.
The Secretary emerged from her car and the clamoring press exalted with cries of her name.
As the Secretary toured the site, she saw samples of direct seeded rice, a technology that greatly reduces the amount of water needed for cultivation, and farm equipment, including a zero-till planter that saves time and reduces production costs, and a laser land leveling machine that allows more efficient use of water. Secretary Clinton had the opportunity to learn more about fascinating innovations and new technology in Indian agriculture.
The Secretary concluded her visit with an address, and we watched as the motorcade dissolved into the waves of heat of the glimmering summer evening. Our job was accomplished.