Pratibha Patil is India’s first woman President and she seems determined to give her office the feminine touch.
A week before she left for her two-nation European tour of Poland and Spain, Patil did a bit of shopping. She wanted to buy gifts for her hosts — Queen Sofia of Spain and Maria Kaczynska, wife of Polish President Lech Kaczynski.
She isn’t someone who will tell the officials to pick up the gifts that she has to present. She did it all by herself, an official at Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
Patil settled for two exquisite Pashmina shawls — black and gold for Queen Sofia and a black and red one for Poland’s First Lady — but not before a thorough inspection. Since Patil couldn’t have gone out shopping without an elaborate security drill, Rashtrapati Bhavan picked up samples in accordance with her brief and brought them for her approval.
A new set had to be called as the President didn’t like the colour combinations. At one point, it seemed it was a toss up between two shades of yellow. She settled for the one with the hint of gold.
The effort worked. Both the first ladies wore the shawls to the banquets held in the President’s honour. The President returned home on April 26, winning India more friends.