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Celebrations at Tharoor's home

The people of Elavancherry in Kerala's Palakkad are in a celebratory mood.

india Updated: Jun 29, 2006 19:35 IST

The villagers are already celebrating, hoping and praying that Shashi Tharoor, whom they consider one of their own, may soon be presiding over the United Nations.

The noted author, now the UN undersecretary general for communications and public information, has been picked by India as its candidate in the race for the post of UN secretary general.

He may or may not win. But the people of Elavancherry in Kerala's Palakkad district are already in a celebratory mood.

"Ours is a small village and everyone here hopes he will be elected to the top post," said Narayanan Unni, Tharoor's maternal uncle.

"I am very hopeful that he will become the secretary general," Unni added. "And if he is elected, I want him to visit us because my mother, with whom he is very close, will be overjoyed."

Ever since news of Tharoor's candidature broke out, the village, 350 km from Thiruvananthapuram, is bustling with crowds of people queuing up to the home of the 54-year-old Unni.

"He called us three days back. Though there was no official news I asked him about the rumours. He did not say anything," said Unni, adding that villagers viewed his nephew as one of their own although he was born in London and got educated outside India.

An agriculturist by profession, Unni is the younger brother of Tharoor's mother Lily.

"He is a pure vegetarian, and whenever he is here he wears the traditional dhoti," Unni went on.

"He is a man with no airs. It is his humility that we all adore. He does not differentiate between the rich or the poor, everyone to him is the same."

Tharoor has authored several books, including the acclaimed "India: From Midnight to the Millennium", besides a biography of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

But Unni is sad that Tharoor may not visit Elavancherry in July, as he had promised.

"He was here in 2004. He promised to return to Elavancherry for 10 days to write a story far away from the busy world of his. Now I don't think it will happen," Unni said.

Tharoor's mother, now in the US with her daughter, is expected to arrive in the village next month.

"She has a flat in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu). She would stay in my home," Unni said.

But Unni is hopeful that Tharoor can still write the story that he had promised some time ago.

"But with all this news and publicity, it is going to be difficult for him to spend 10 days here. Anyway, we will wait and see."