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'Getting inauguration tickets was either sheer luck or destiny'

January 20, 2009
How did you get on the Oprah show four years ago?

I had been trying to get tickets for my mom to go on the Oprah Winfrey show for three years prior to actually going on the show. They had posted this message on her Web site asking people if we liked Barack Obama and if so why? I sent an online letter and the very next day (on December 16, 2004) I got a call with tickets to be in the audience on the show in January 2005.

Obama was in the first half of the programme. After he left Oprah asked studio audience if anybody got goose bumps watching Obama deliver his keynote address at the Democratic convention in the summer of 2004? I raised my hand and she selected me. Prior to that I had gone with a mission to the Oprah show.

I wanted to get my mom on television and I wanted to make sure that Obama knows from me personally that he needs to run for president. So I made up a jingle when I was on vacation with my family in Peru. My parents and my brother thought that was embarrassing and they made me promise that I would not sing it, but I did anyway.

I thought if they laugh at me, they can laugh me, but at least I would have said what I needed to say. Oprah said 'You need to work on the lyrics' and my response was 'That's not the point, since I am not a singer and a lyricist, I am a doctor. But I am very inspired by Obama. He can bring change. He can bring the country together.' So I left it at that.

Did you support Obama during his campaign?

I contributed $50 a few times, but nothing substantial. I always believed that he could do it. I wasn't worried. I did some phone banking on November 3rd. Before that I put up signs where I could. Other than that not much… because for eight months, I was studying for my oral board exams.

I had booked the tickets to fly to Washington, DC on November 5, not knowing whether I will get the inauguration tickets, since that was next to impossible. This may sound crazy, but I knew I would get them. I knew I would be here with the tickets.

How did you get the tickets?

I e-mailed my Senators and my Congressman. I was in line just like anybody else. I was one of 80,000. Each Senator gets about 400 seats, and they were giving out 2 tickets to each person out of a lottery. That means they gave tickets to 200 people. Two hundred divided by 80,000 means less than 0.1 per cent chance. That was sheer luck or it was destiny.

I sent e-mails to Diane Feinstein, (Senator) Barbara Boxer, and my Congressman Ken Calvert. I got the phone call from Diane Feinstein's office on December 16, 2008, the exact same date, four years before, when I got the call from Oprah Winfrey's office for the tickets to the show about Obama. Isn't that so unreal?

Image: Krupali with singer Angela Bassett

Also see: Obama and Hope
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