| Ratnamala Patnaik, mother of Manmohan Singh’s son-in-law, at her residence in Bhubaneswar on Monday Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee and file picture
Bhubaneswar, Jan. 2: A bond of over 20 years between the Singhs and the Patnaiks will be enriched once again tomorrow. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is in the city for the National Science Congress, may be caught up with his busy itinerary but wife Gursharan Kaur will pay a visit to the Patnaik family, the in-laws of her daughter Daman.
Married to IPS officer Ashok Patnaik, Daman’s in-laws, who hail from Cuttack, are based at Kharavela Nagar in the city. Mother-in-law Ratnamala Patnaik is glad that despite the security norms, Gursharan will make it to their home.
“The Singh family members would visit us often, right from the days when we were in Cuttack. Even in Bhubaneswar, they have been to our place a number of times. Mrs Singh has stayed here on many occasions. We share a relation like that of any two families united by the bond of marriage. Nonni (Daman’s pet name) is a wonderful person as are all members of the family,” said Ratnamala.
Both the Prime Minister and his wife, as well as all their daughters, were very fond of Odia traditions, cuisine and language, said Ratnamala. The family will prepare vegetarian delicacies for Gursharan, she said.
“She is a vegetarian and loves the spice-less and simple Odia dishes whereas Manmohanji especially likes fish curry. However, he will be busy with important work this time and will not be able to make it, which we understand completely,” she said.
“We would not have found such a lovely bohu (daughter-in-law) even from an Odia family and we are proud of her. Not only my sister-in-law, all the members of their family speak very good Odia and converse with us in the language most of the time. In fact, all members of their family address my mother as bou,” said Ashok’s younger sister.
The families are in constant touch through phone calls despite the Prime Minister’s busy schedules and demanding duties. The Patnaik and Singh families love to visit Puri with Ashok and Daman’s 15-year-old sonRohan. However, ever since Singh became the Prime Minister, the Patnaik family has been forced to cut down on the frequent visits.
“We as well as the Singhs like to keep our personal life away from the public. Even when the chief minister offered us special security we declined since we are ordinary people like any others in the city. But media reports sometimes hurt us. For example, we had got the house painted around three months back. But today many have reported that it has been painted as a preparation to welcome guests from the Singh family,” said Ratnamala.