He has the most coveted sasural in the country. People say he could easily get away with cumbersome security checks at the airports. Yet, Robert Vadra, Priyanka Gandhi’s husband and son-in-law to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, insists that he doesn’t enjoy any such privileges.
In an exclusive interview to HT CITY from his company’s stall at the Export Promotion Council of Handicrafts (EPCH) exhibition, Vadra says, “This perception that I’m given some privilege at the airports is incorrect. When I travel with my mother-in-law, we have SPG cover. But on my own, I have Delhi police security, I don’t have SPG. I fill-in my immigration forms, my boarding pass is checked, my bags are checked… and yes, I am frisked.” But isn’t it true that his name figures in the list of VVIPs that are exempt from frisking?
“Yes, it’s there, but that works for those who are instantly recognised. I don’t have that kind of recognition. Some people do tell me that your name is in the exempted list. But what do I tell the CRPF guy?
Ki mera naam dekho wahan hai?
Kya farak padhta hai?
(Do I tell them to check my name in the list? Does it even matter?)” He adds, “I would want to try and take my name off that list. But even that would be misunderstood. That oh, look at his benevolence.”
The shy guy Vadra, who likes to keep away from media glare, admits that when it comes to being in the spotlight, wife Priyanka takes it all, while he prefers playing the doting family man. “It’s not easy for Priyanka, because she’s instantly recognised. With me, it takes a while. And I like that. I don’t want to be so much in the limelight that there is no normalcy,” he says.
On spending quality time with his children, son Raihaan and daughter Miraya, Vadra says, “I don’t like to carry my work home. My children like it this way. Our activities include lots of sports and outdoor trips. We go to Corbett, Ranthambore, games parks, and take walks together.” He reveals that the kids are currently “obsessed” with the film
. “It is a religion in our family. My children talk like the actors in the movie… they say
. Aamir is a talented actor. I am going to buy his movie CDs and keep them.”
Like any other family man, does he ever wonder if he’s providing enough for his family? “They are happy with this much. We play the most simple games at home— games I used to play. People try to send gifts and all. We don’t allow that,” he says.
Vadra confesses to keeping an eye on latest fashion. “I’m very particular about the way I look. I don’t go for branded products. I buy something from one place, something from another and put it together. I go to Janpath, pick up a shirt and then go to a big designer and buy something and then compose it together. People ask me ‘This looks like Armani’ and I am like ‘okay’.
His much talked about fitness regime is something he is very proud of. “It (getting six-pack abs) was my own achievement. This is something no one can give you. You have to do for yourself,” says Vadra whose workout regime includes running, cycling and gymming. “Gymming relaxes and helps me maintain focus,” he says.