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PERFECT HOSTESS

President plays perfect Indian hostess ahead of Obama banquet
Hours before her banquet in honour of US President Barack Obama, President Pratibha Patil stepped into the Mughal Gardens this afternoon taking officials and staff by surprise. Playing the role of a perfect Indian hostess, she oversaw all the arrangements for the high-profile event and gave last minute instructions in connection with the state dinner for Obama, who is on his maiden visit to India.
75-year-old Patil took everyone by surprise when she started enquiring about the seating arrangements and facilities for serving and warming food, officials said today. She was keen to know about the arrangements for warming of food keeping in mind the cool evenings in the capital at this time of the year.
The garden, which is contiguous to the main Rashtrapati Bhavan building, spans an area of 15 acres. It was designed by Edwin Lutyens and drew inspiration from the Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir, the garden around the Taj Mahal and Persian and Indian miniature paintings.
The President even decided the spot where a "rangoli" had to be made on the ground. Rangoli is a traditional decorative folk art of India which dates back to the Mohenjadaro and Harappa civilisations. She later went around the sprawling lawns and enquired about the lighting system for the grand evening.

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