Ganesh Nadar in Rameswaram
The home of the President A P J Abdul Kalam in Rameswaram wasn't crowded.
A gaggle of children were running about, while Kalam's brothers' wives and other ladies of the house were glued to the television watching the swearing-in ceremony.
Sirajuddin, the son of Kalam's brother Kasim Mohammed, was welcoming people, while Assia Begun, the daughter of another brother of Kalam -- Mustaffa Kamal -- was busying herself making visitors comfortable inside the house.
All of them had dressed up for the occasion. Neighbours came in to congratulate them and all had the same question. "Why didn't you all go?"
Sirajudeen explained he wasn't well the day all the other relatives left for Delhi, while
Assia said with a smile, "I will go in January, uncle (Abdul Kalam) told me to come then."
Thirty-eight relatives of Kalam had gone to Delhi to watch the swearing-in ceremony at the Central Hall of Parliament.
Every time a relative was spotted on TV a collective sigh and laughter rent the air.
Some of children playing around would suddenly run to the TV shouting 'Daddy', 'Uncle' or 'Brother'.
They smiled as Kalam mentioned Saint Thyagaraja and then the saint philosopher Thiruvalluvar.
Nobody had had breakfast, as the ladies of the house did not want to miss any action. And no one was complaining. "We will have lunch today, no breakfast," Assia Begum's mother-in-law chipped in.
The children were all happy, more with not going to the school than with Kalam being sworn in as the President.
But the kids are extremely fond of Kalam and when asked why, they replied in a chorus: "Because he is loving and attentive."
Assia's father-in-law Ahmed Siddiqui explained, "He has absolutely no ego. When he was honoured as a scientist he didn't change, when he got the Bharat Ratna he didn't change, and now also he will not change."
When he had received the Bharat Ratna only four of his closest relatives had gone, Siddiqui recounted as an example of Kalam's selflessness.
The phone rang interrupting Siddiqui.
It was yet another relative congratulating the family on Kalam ascending the highest post in the country.
A glance at the occupations of the assembled relatives makes the non-political nature of Kalam's family apparent.
Sirajudeen works with a small fishing company as a manager. Assia Begum's husband, who is in Delhi, has a photocopying shop, and none of the other relatives are even remotely connected with politics.
As the function got over in Delhi, the house suddenly became active again.
Some of ladies rushed to the kitchen, while others went around asking visitors: "You like vegetarian food or non vegetarian food?"
Obviously, it was going to be a heavy lunch day.
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