New Delhi, July 25, 2012
Ah ! I feel emotional. My last day in office. Over the last few days, there has been too much small talk over lunch, tea and dinner. Boring stuff, meeting the same set of people. The dinner at PM’s home was so so. I must remember to call and tell Gursharan that in addition to Punjabi cuisine, she should add a few foreign exotic dishes. Maybe I will gift the recipe books I picked up in Mexico and Spain.
As I sit in my new home (note : my future home in Pune is getting ready), I know what Pranab da must be doing now. He must have got lost in the labyrinth of rooms at Rashtrapati Bhavan I have advised Pranab da to avoid any foreign trips in the first couple of months so that he gets used to the new residence and the route he should take from the living quarters to the official quarters. Or to Ashoka Hall. Or to Mughal Gardens.
Like a good tenant should do when he or she is vacating the house, I passed on useful tips to Mrs Mukherjee. I told her about the water shortage in the area and her reaction was amusing. When I said, “paani subah 11 baje se 2 baje tak nahi aata and then again between 5 and 6, she said, ui baba. Hamare 13 Talkatora Road me to chaubis ghanta paani aata tha.” She wished she knew about it earlier. I counselled her to travel outside India during the summer and also told her the warranty period of the inverter’s battery expires in November.
I also told Mrs Mukherjee not to buy turmeric and chilly powder from the retail outlet near Rashtrapati Bhavan as he charges more than the one which is near PM’s house on Race Course Road. But she was more keen to know if there is a pond with fish in the estate where she and Pranab da can go fishing.
As I was leaving, my grandchild showed me his collection of airline tags, the ones that are put on hand baggage. He loves collecting them. With a sad face, he said he has only 1998 tags. Two more and he would have felt so happy. Wish I had known, I could have visited Seychelles and Maldives to improve India’s relations with them.
I wish to note here that contrary to some mischievous reports, I left Rashtrapati Bhavan today with nothing more than fond memories and fridge magnets brought from different countries.
Now time for me to end, need to check what’s for dinner tonight. Patil saab wanted to have rasam.