Keep dreaming big, Michelle tells Indian students (Lead)

November 7th, 2010 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Mumbai, Nov 7 (IANS) Greeting students with a “Namaste”, US First Lady Michelle Obama Sunday shared her humble beginnings, the “strong values” her parents gave her, and asked Indian youth to dream “gigantic” dreams and help protect the planet.

At Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College, Michelle, on an India visit with US President Barack Obama, said the time she and her husband spend with children was “very special”.

Addressing students from six Mumbai colleges, the US First Lady connected well with her audience, greeting them with “Namaste” - of course with an American accent.

She then spoke of her humble background and how she went on to become the first lady.

“My family didn’t have a lot of money. My parents didn’t go to college,” she said, speaking about her growing years.

“When I was your age I never dreamed of travelling to countries like this… In fact, there were lots of things that I never dreamed of including serving the country as first lady,” she said, as the students listened with rapt attention.

She said her parents could not give her and her brother material things but “they gave us” something much more precious.

“They gave us push for excellence in everything we did. They gave us strong values, they taught us to be humble and to be grateful. They taught us to be respectful to others. They taught us that our circumstances didn’t define us and I try every single day to take those lessons,” she said.

Michelle said she and her husband were “looking to you to protect our planet….”

“I am sure you and your peers around the world are more than up to the challenge,” she said.

Michelle said the time she and her husband spend with kids was special.

“He (Obama) doesn’t just meet heads of states… He always meets with young people like you… My husband is encouraging young entrepreneurs,” she said, urging participants to “keep dreaming big, huge gigantic dreams”.

Emphasising the India connection and love the couple has for the country, she said it was a pleasure and honour to be in India.

“We are thrilled to be here, to speak with outstanding students,” she said.

Michelle, however, said this was not the first time she and her husband were experiencing the “great Indian culture”.

“Last year, we were proud to host Prime Minister Singh and Mrs Kaur for our very first state dinner. And had a bhangra under the tent in the south lawn of the White House. I danced there also.”

She also shared that she grew up in Chicago, which is home to one of the largest Indian American communities in the country.

“I have been really looking forward to this trip,” she said before asking the students to grill her husband “with some tough questions”.

“He enjoys that.”

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