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Monday, September 20, 2021

Telescope: Secret mission of Ivanka Trump

News channels tracked the First Daughter’s visit, couldn’t figure out why .

Written by Shailaja Bajpai |
Updated: November 30, 2017 11:20:53 am
ivanka trump, ivanka in india, global entrepreneurship summit, hyderabad summit, modi, narendra modi, modi-ivanka meeting U.S. presidential adviser Ivanka Trump greets during a panel discussion at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad. (AP Photo)

Ivanka came to India on a “secret” mission. So secret that Zee News spent 20 minutes on Monday evening, leading us up the garden path to the Falaknuma Palace hotel where she stayed, without being able to unravel it.

Instead, we got minute details about her security detail — including “mine resistant vehicles” (News X) — the chefs flown out especially for her meals, the cutlery (only silver and perhaps gold plates?). And her fashion statements — on Tuesday they included “minimal accessories and make-up” with an “ethnic-looking outfit” that frankly puzzled the India Today anchor: “… not exactly sure what she is wearing”. At the end of 20 minutes? We were told that she is Donald’s “Trump card” and, therefore, important.

As it happened, we didn’t have to wait long to discover Ivanka’s “secret”. Tuesday evening, at the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad, wearing whatever it was she was wearing, she spilled the beans — or shall we say, the tea? She was here to remind the Congress that from his “childhood selling tea” to becoming the prime minister, Narendra Modi had shown “transformational change is possible”. Brew that in your cup and drink it, Rahul G.

Now, you don’t believe that was the real reason why the First Daughter of the United States of America visited the GES, do you? Well, Times Now, later on Tuesday, spent the better part of 60 minutes on “Ivanka cheers chaiwala, but what stops Rahul’s Congress?” So it must be true, right?

Wasn’t able to watch that “chai pe charcha” but there is one obvious answer to the Times Now query: Perhaps RG just doesn’t like tea?

Possibly, Ivanka T was also in India to learn how human beings generate “energy”, something that President Trump might find useful seeing he signed out of the climate change agreement and blackened his presidency by encouraging coal production. The DD News reporter in Hyderabad offered an alternative and was very excited by the prospect: “We are going to witness a great deal of energy from men and women” at the GES, he assured us. And in case we didn’t immediately believe him, he added how he was experiencing a lot of “energy”.

In the time left to her, Ms Trump concentrated on women and entrepreneurial skills, something TV news explored in sound bytes from many women, who, like Ivanka, attended the summit for that purpose.

Meghan Markle almost stole Ivanka’s limelight, especially in the world media. On Monday, the likes of BBC World and CNN International were standing outside Kensington Palace, London, to catch the “first sighting” of Prince Harry, hand-in-hand with Meghan after their engagement had been officially announced. The anchors and “royal” reporters, were all indulgent smiles like fond relatives as the couple posed — she flashed her ring — and then arm-in-arm disappeared. But the world media stayed with them, reminding us of her mixed background, and a certain Wallis Simpson, another American divorcee who 81 years ago fell for British royalty and King Edward VIII abdicated for “the woman I love”.

Meghan and her Prince reappeared in an interview, which NDTV 24×7 ran on Tuesday afternoon, while waiting for PM Modi and Ivanka to shake hands. It was such a happy occasion — not many of those on TV news — with her constantly looking at him and Prince Harry trying to look into the camera while describing the “whirlwind romance” and how “unprepared” they were for the media “scrutiny”.

Hindi news channels, meanwhile, nurse a soft corner for a certain Honeypreet, Ivanka and Meghan notwithstanding. Almost every day you can catch her on one or the other channel. So, while most news channels on Monday evening featured the SC’s hearing of Hadiya’s case and then launched into a free for all, none more intemperate than the one between Sunil Chopra and Acharya Vikramaditya which ended with the former yelling “shut up” at the latter while the anchor helplessly tried to intervene (CNN News 18), India TV visited another “mahal” where Ram Rahim and Honeypreet allegedly lived. We saw palatial room after palatial room with huge double beds and had to be satisfied with that.

And since this seems to be turning into a ladies’ special, please welcome Miss World, Manushi Chhillar to her first interview, on Times Now. She was poised, articulate and wore her crown lightly, not at all overawed by her current status. Oh, and yes, she has a lovely smile.

Which leaves just enough space to talk about the latest channel on the air: Disney International. It also features quite a few young women including Hannah Montana, Liv and Maddie and Girl Meets World.

Now, about that secret of Ivanka’s…

shailaja.bjapai@expressindia.com

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