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Vajpayee a connoisseur of good food

Saturday,18 Aug 2018

 

K.A.Viswanathan

Mumbai :

When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was conferred the 8 th SIES Sri. Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi National Eminence Award in February 2006, due to health problem , he had  requested that the function be held at New Delhi at his residence so that while recuperating he could receive the award.  A connoisseur of good food, he requested the president of South Indian Education Society Mr. V.Shankar,  to organise the best south Indian dishes for the evening. The choicest south Indian delicacies were ordered from Saravana Bhavan, Connaught Place in Delhi. He relished the food and that evening he had more than his normal intake.

Mr. Vajapyee wondered where in New Delhi was such delicious south Indian food was available and he was not aware of it. He wanted to know how many boys had come from the Hotel to serve for the evening. He assembled all the eight of them on the lawns for a group photo with him and had individual photos also done. He called for Rs. 100/- currency notes, signed each of them and handed over to all the servers.

Their joy knew no bounds when he decided to have one more cup of South Indian filter coffee with all of them. Of the several mementos that were given to him as part of the award, a portrait of Vajpayee as drawn by a first standard student of the SIES school was also given. He was highly appreciative of the caricature and wanted to know who did it. When it was told by Mr. Shankar  that it was a young boy Master Nirman Olwe of  the SIES High School had penned the portrait, he requested that he be brought along with his parents to New Delhi.

After a few days the boy was accompanied by his grandmother who was a teacher in the school , his mother and Mr. Shankar. The ex PM  returned the portrait back and said he would  take it only at the hands of the artist. In return he gave several mementos to the boy. The young child’s delight more than answered the care and compassion that Vajpayee had for people young ,old , high and low

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