A minute with the president

There we were (year 1998), all suited and booted, the ‘few’ Indian families in Istanbul, fidgeting amongst other dignitaries waiting at the Hilton for the grand arrival of Indian president KR Narayanan. The occasion, ‘a breakfast with KRN’, arranged by the Indian consulate in Istamboul (as the consulate rubber stamp spelt it).

Meeting the president of the most populous country ‘one to one’, can you imagine that in India or for that matter any other place? Like my wife says, ‘ezhu ayalath kadakkan sammathikkila’ (I have tried to find out where & how that usage originated,, never figured it out – why seven neighbourhoods – so if anybody knows, please…)

Well, he made his grand arrival, accompanied by a number of ‘secret service’ chaps with microphones in the lapel and all that…his ADC (we were always told in our School days at Kazhakootam - that the ADC position is one we must aspire – President’s ADC) dressed smartly and standing next to him in the picture – Shoba, me and Arun. Our elder son Abi is missing in the picture, wonder where he wandered off so?

And the tete-a-tete?
Me – ‘Namaskaram – kandathil valare santhoshamundu’
KRN- ‘ehe? Malayalai ano’? The surprise was evident… “Evidunna?”
Me – ‘Palakkad, Wife Kozhikode ninnanu’
KRN- ‘Aha, eniku Palakkad nallonam ariyam, Ivide kure Malayalikal undo’?
Me – ‘Illa, randu familye ullu, veroral undu, you’ll meet him also today’
KRN- ‘Shari, ennal - nice meeting you all...’

Then he moved on and had a similar quick chat with Shoba…about Calicut, life in Turkey etc.

Naturally Arun, the little boy was forgotten in the rush – you can see him in the picture entreating us to introduce him, with animated eyes…

KRN moved away, Arun started to weep since he was not introduced & his hand was not shaken; So Shoba took him to KRN. He was all attention, “saramilla mone, come here” and shook his hand as well, after asking his name and patting his back.

Well, how’s that for an experience!!!

A quote from KRN
We are way behind when it comes to reading. I am not saying that people don't read but there is a need to make the younger generation develop a reading habit. After all, one acquires knowledge only through books. And, by books I mean fiction and non-fiction. Not just Harry Potter.


Vidyu said...

Hi Maddy,
came here from Meera's blog..and thought ur 'ramblings' were interesting :) but more interesting I thought was the mention of ur wife Shoba and the fact that she is from Calicut...I am from Calicut too and am soo curious to know if Shoba also sings? The pic is not very clear but, I thought I might know her :) or maybe I am wrong...love to know tho' :)

Maddy said...

right you are, she used to sing - asks if u are ex providence.

indianadoc said...

That's a wonderful moment indeed!I ws jus reminded of hw thrilled we were when I had a similar chance with our President APJ Kalam...not any diplomatic dinners,but as part of a programme of our Group of Institutions at AIIMS,cochin...BTW,u'r 'madam' looks sweet!! :)

Maddy said...

KRN was a pleasing chap - unlike another dignitary - a rather portly lady MP who commented acidly about a lone mosquito that flew by the Istanbul shoreline, as though in search of untainted indian blood - but that is another story..

BTW- Madam is pleased with the compliment...

Unknown said...

Hi Maddy, first time on your blog, cam here through Nanditha's blog. Nice post. That must have been a very memorable moment meeting KRN . Good write up.

Maddy said...

thnaks rv, plenty to read, I am sure, on this blog. do look around & thanks.

harimohan said...

wow maddy u look handsome