Senator Kamala Harris is going to make history by the becoming the first woman of colour and first person of South Asian descent to hold the office of United States Vice President. And this is obviously a moment of great pride and honour for the locals of Thulasendrapuram, a tiny village located in Tiruvarur district in Tamil Nadu, irrespective of the fact that the US Vice President-elect is residing miles far far away from them.
Surrounded by lush green rice paddy fields, videos and pictures that have gone viral on social media shows the village, ancestral home of Harris, to be beaming with joy, hours before its descendant takes her oath of office and becomes the VP of the United States.
It's time for celebration
Located some about 320 kilometres south of Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, people in the village of Thulasendrapuram, Harris' maternal grandfather, PV Gopalan, a former Indian diplomat, have already started bursting crackers and distributing food to children as gifts.
"We are feeling very proud that an Indian is being elected as the vice president of America," Anukampa Madhavasimhan, a 52-year old teacher, was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.
Calendars featuring the faces of Presidential-elect Joe Biden and Harris have also been distributed among the villagers by a co-operative, according to reports.
Harris' grandfather is said to have moved to Chennai decades ago. Her late mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris was also born in India, before moving to the US to study at the University of California. She married a Jamaican man named Donald Harris and their daughter Kamala was born in 1964.
While growing up, Harris, along with her family visited her native village and has even recalled in many of her speeches as walking with her grandfather on the beach at Chennai.
Special pujas for success of Biden administration
"A local politician conducted a special prayer and villagers have been distributing sweets and letting off crackers since [Wednesday] morning," said village shopkeeper G Manikandan, 40.
In addition, groups of women in bright saris and men wearing white dhotis also reportedly thronged to the Sri Dharma Sastha temple in Tiruvarur with sweets and flowers to offer special pujas wishing the Democrat success in her new office. The idol of Hindu deity Ayyanar, one of the forms of Hindu god Lord Shiva, was washed with milk and decked with flowers by the priest.
Sudhakar, president of Mannai Green City Rotary who organised the events, said the villagers were waiting for the moment and they had also appealed to Kamala to visit her ancestral village.
"We have decided to take all the steps to bring Kamala Harris to Thulasendrapuram with the help of Rotarians and DMK MP TR Baalu. If she visits, that will be the greatest honour," Sudhakar told Times of India.
The day of Chucks and pearls
According to a report published by Popsugar, thousands of Harris supporters are planning to wear classic Chuck Taylors and a string of pearls on the most awaited Inauguration Day in the recent history of the United States.
Besides planning to imitate her style, a group formed by her supporters on Facebook has also created a page, named 'Chucks and Pearls Day, January 20th, 2021', which has so far garnered over 85,000 followers.
"We love our new VP and we know how much she loves chucks and of course, those Pearls. We want women from all walks of life to honor her by wearing chucks and pearls on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021. We can meet here to show off pictures of blinged out chucks, regular chucks, strands of pearls and stacks of pearls. Let's share ideas of Inauguration Day celebrations, how will you celebrate? You, your chucks and a glass of wine? However you celebrate, share a post, let's enjoy this historical event together (sic)," the page description reads.
In fact, #ChucksAndTaylors was also trending on Twitter. Reports have also stated that pearls, as an accessory, are especially close to Harris, for she "likely wears [them] in honor of [her] sorority's founders, aka the 'Twenty Pearls', and to represent solidarity with her sisters".
Media reports have stated that Donald Trump, along with his wife Melania, has finally left the White House to fly to Florida, skipping the inauguration of his successor Biden in an extraordinary break in tradition. It's just hours left from now when the world will witness the most awaited transfer of power in decades.