Eight years ago, filmmaker Mira Nair went on vacation to Morocco with her husband Mahmood Mamdani and their son Zohran. In a restaurant in Marrakesh, 9-year old Zohran noticed a woman sitting next to their table -- someone he recognised from television.
"We turned around and there was Katherine Harris," Nair said last week at a gathering of six Indian American authors in New York City, who were reading to raise funds for Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign. As the emcee of the event, Nair opened the program with this anecdote about Harris, the former Secretary of State of Florida, who oversaw the state's ballot recount which eventually ensured George Bush's win against his Democratic rival Al Gore.
"Zohran turned to her and said 'I saw you on television'," Nair recalled. "And she turned to him and like many adults who talk to young children, asked 'And what did you learn from seeing me on television?' And he said looking at her squarely in the eye, 'I learnt that every vote counts'."
Nair's story had the audience of over 500 people -- who had paid $100 or more to attend the fundraiser at New York City, cheering and laughing. The event Speak Out: Writers for Obama featured the top Indian American talent -- Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kiran Desai, Suketu Mehta, Manil Suri and Akhil Sharma and raised over $56,000 for the Illinois Senator's presidential race.
Text: Aseem Chhabra | Photographs: Preston Merchant
Image: Flimmaker Mira Nair emceed the fundraiser
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