Off the record

Off the record

The First Lady’s low profile

Where is the US First Lady Michelle Obama? After arriving at Palam in the morning, the US First Lady appears to have disappeared from the public eyes. She did not accompany her husband to the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the morning for the formal welcome, nor was she present at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

The US officials kept the secrets by blocking all information on the first lady's appointment. Mrs Obama, however, came to the banquet hosted by the President Pranab Mukherjee in the evening.
Kalyan Ray, New Delhi

From India, with love

US President Barack Obama received a few gifts from Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Hyderabad House, among them a bust of Gandhiji and a model of a charkha. These were much the same as the gifts presented to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s when he visited in September. Modi also presented a reproduction of a telegram sent by the US to Indian Constituent Assembly in 1946.

But to Michelle Obama, Modi will be gifting an exquisite hand-woven Banarasi silk saree with gold and silver threads, which took weavers three months to complete. The cream-coloured ‘Kadhua’ silk saree, an exclusive product of this region, was hand-woven by three classic weavers, and weighs around 400 grams and costs about Rs 1.5 lakh.
Shekar Iyer, New Delhi

Michelle dons ‘desi’ design

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was wearing a kurta-pyjama, his trademark Nehru vest, and a bright red stole when he welcomed US President Barack Obama at the airport. But when he turned up at Rashtrapati Bhavan for the formal welcoming ceremony, he was wearing a pinstripe ‘bandhgala’ suit.

While Obama was in suit, the First Lady Michelle Obama, was in a blue and black outfit designed by Bibhu Mohapatra, an Indian designer who works out of New York. The designer tweeted, “The President and the First Lady arrive in #india. @michelleobama wearing @bibhumohapatra #spring15 poppy print dress and coat.”
SI, New Delhi

Homecoming of sorts

Visiting the Mumbai Press Club was a nostalgia of sorts for Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Last week, Fadnavis was in the Club to unveil its new branding, its website and launch the annual calendar besides giving away the awards to photo-journalists, whose entries made it into the calendar.

“It is always nice to be here... I had been here in the past several times, sat at almost all locations, met journalists friends," the four-time MLA from Nagpur South West said, recalling the moments in the Club.

“I liked the ‘khichadi’ and ‘murgunda-papad’”. “Mai is jagah ke chappe-chappe se wakif hun (I know every corner of this place),” the 44-year-old CM said, adding: “I had some of the great discussions here with journalist friends in this great ambiance.”
Mrityunjay Bose, Mumbai

T humour saves KCR

The pure Telangana slang laced with fair doses of humour has the power to create magic. Telangana Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) has conquered hearts with this rustic humour because he knows that people of Telangana dig it.

He was in Warangal last few days refusing to leave the district till the officials sorted out pending old age and widow pensions. However, few adamant old ladies cornered KCR and started pestering him with their unpaid pensions.

Time and again the wily CM assured them that they would be eventually enrolled in the list, but in vain. “Ok amma take me and tie me down in your backyard, pensions will follow,” KCR said amid thunderous applause after which the women kept quite throughout the rest of the meeting. “Don’t just clap, this is how you were enslaved for years,” KCR said firmly tongue-in-cheek.
JBS Umanadh, Hyderabad