New Delhi, May 26;
A curious monkey perched atop a fountain on the roof of Rashtrapati Bhavan caught the eye of the gathering, as it peered down from the edge upon the grand spectacle of the swearing-in of Narendra Modi as prime minister.
The monkey was silhouetted against the setting sun, and stood out — as it bent down to take a long drink of water, sat down, and then took a walk round the periphery of the round fountain.
With the swearing-in ceremony carrying on for an hour-and-a-half, the monkey proved to be a welcome distraction for the hundreds of guests at the back, who could not see the swearing-in going on in the front.
Lost for words
Former union minister Jairam Ramesh was for once lost for words.
Ramesh, who never missed a chance to take pot shots at Modi, looked totally lost after the ceremony was over.
Greeted by journalist friends, he mumbled hello, but tried to leave quickly.
He wandered around looking for some known faces. But with the BJP government taking over, there were not many people seeking his attention.
A star-studded affair
Bollywood stars Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Shatrughan Sinha, and crooners Bappi Lahiri and Babul Supriyo were much sought after for autographs by hordes of admirers who crowded around them at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Hema Malini, dressed in a purple silk saree, tried to hide her face as she walked with her husband Dharmendra.
Admirers stopped them and posed for snaps with them at many places in the forecourt of the presidential place.
Rush for refreshments
While the Rashtrapati Bhavan staff made elaborate arrangements for the swearing-in, working out to the last detail how the guests will enter and where they will sit, very little arrangements were made to provide them refreshments.
A melee broke out for refreshments as soon as the ceremony got over, with foreign envoys, top bureaucrats and judges making a rush towards the counters, where light snacks were served, leading to a chaotic situation.
As many sat through the ceremony in the intense heat, they wanted a cool drink.
Also, while arrangements were made earlier in the day for the guests to be dropped at the forecourt, the drops were missing later. People, including old, had to walk a long way to the entry gate.