For Singh, birthday repeat mid-air

For Singh, birthday repeat mid-air

The PM celebrates his 77th birthday on board (left). He celebrated his 72nd too on a flight (right). PTI

Time was flying and so was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on board Air India One. So the huge cake, ordered at a Pittsburgh bakery by thoughtful aides, was brought out and a candle stuck on it.

Amid “Happy Birthday to you” and cheers from the Indian delegation and mediapersons, Singh sliced through the cake, the second time he has done so while being mid-air.
During his first term as Prime Minister, on a similar flight from New York to Geneva, he had celebrated birthday on the special aircraft in 2004. Singh, who was was born on September 26, 1932, at Gah in Punjab, which is now in the Chakwal district of Pakistan, turned 77 on Saturday. 

Like last time, this time around too there was clapping and a round of cheers as wife Gursharan Kaur,  whom he married in 1958, sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
His daughter Upinder Singh, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla and SPG Director B B Wanchoo joined the chorus.
It is not known what gift he received from Kaur, but Singh, clearly moved by the arrangements, said he was indebted to the people of India for the faith they have reposed in him.

“I am grateful to the people of India, who have given me this unique opportunity to serve them,” he said.
“They (Indians) let me serve them for five years and reposed confidence in me for another term and that is a debt I can never repay. The only way I can redeem myself is by rededicating myself to the service of the nation,” he said.
“I would pray to god to give me enough strength to keep serving the people,” said Singh, who appeared tired due to lack of sleep because of his hectic schedule in Pittsburgh.

In Pittsburgh their US-based youngest daughter Amrit Singh, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union in New York City spent some time with the family.

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