Thirteen is widely thought to be an unlucky number, but just try telling that to Pranab Mukherjee.
Finally, the veteran leader is set to move into the biggest government residence in the country - the Rashtrapati Bhawan. A welcome change, considering that Mukherjee always stayed in a 13, Talkatora bungalow, a government accommodation below his actual entitlement, through his career as a cabinet minister.
The reason? The Mukherjee family considered the 13, Talkatora Road bungalow extremely auspicious, contrary to popular perception about the number. And now, Suvra Mukherjee - the finance minister's wife of 55 years - has every reason to smile. Her husband is set to become the country's 13th President."In Hindu shastra, the number 13 is actually lucky because it means Troyodoshi. If you do anything on that day, it will give good, positive results," Mukherjee quipped.
Even though Type VIII bungalows are allotted to cabinet ministers, Mukherjee preferred to stay in the Type VII structure for almost 17 years. Also, Suvra wanted to avoid the hassle of shifting.
In 2004, when Mukherjee returned to the Union cabinet, he discovered that his modest accommodation did not have enough office space. Then urban development minister Ghulam Nabi Azad helped out by getting an additional visitors' room built.
Mukherjee finds the sprawling lawns in the area ideal for his morning walks. The Lutyen's bungalow also witnessed a high-profile visit by Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina last year.
The lucky building has just one problem area, as Mukherjee recently told HT. "I have a kitchen garden but monkeys eat away the vegetables, especially pumpkins."
But, from July 25, it will be the Mughal Garden - not a kitchen garden - for Mukherjee.