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From Bangalore: Obama inspires young India

This time tomorrow, Karan Kamal will have a new speech to practice.

Kamal, 21, an undergrad at an engineering school in Bangalore, is a die-hard fan of Barack Obama’s speeches. His favorite is the 2004 one known as Audacity of Hope. Kamal has YouTube downloads of the speeches. He knows them all, word for word. He confesses to practicing them endlessly in front of the mirror. “It isn’t easy to copy Obama,” says Kamal, “but then, it’s all about trying." As the inaugural ceremony beams live in India overnight, Kamal will settle down in front of the television with family, friends, beer and pizza. “I can’t wait to hear his speech, it will be exciting and inspiring,” Kamal said.

Samyukta Ranganathan, 24, works for a sports marketing start-up in Bangalore. Ranganathan, whose friends call her Sammy, is preparing for an all-nighter at a friend’s house, with friends and colleagues getting together to watch the inauguration ceremony on television.

Ranganathan, who was an undergrad at a liberal arts college in South Carolina, says she first identified with Barack Obama because he was black and young. “But after I discovered Obama as a leader, he stopped being just young or black,” she says. For her generation "who knew neither Martin Luther King Jr. nor Mahatma Gandhi, Obama is the closest, modern-day version of a savior,” she adds. As she watches younger, inspiring political leaders all over the world, Ranganathan says she sees herself getting interested in the “glamour-less, messy world of politics."

Josh Bornstein, 28, a Chicago-native is now the executive director of Footprint Ventures, as early-stage venture capital fund in Bangalore. Bornstein, who has lived in the city for over five years, will join 130 other Americans at a dinner party on Wednesday night to celebrate the Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration. He looks at Obama from the lens of hope, Bornstein says, and feels encouraged that there are opportunities unlimited for ambitious, thoughtful and self-confident young people in the world. “I am excited today because this is the beginning of hope and change,” Bornstein said. As the ceremony unfolds on Tuesday night local time, Bornstein will watch it stream live on to his computer on justin.tv.

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http://www.globalpost.com/notebook/india/090120/bangalore-obama-inspires-young-india