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Hillary: shop & stay

THE PRESIDENTIAL WELCOME:

On Sunday, when the US secretary of state checked into Taj Bengal around 1pm, she was given a red carpet welcome with a “Bengali” touch. Traditional flower decorations lined the lobby (right) and girls dressed in red-bordered traditional Bengali saris greeted her with rose petals. Conch shells and a sarangi player set the mood. On Monday, before she checked out, Hillary Clinton got clicked with the hotel’s heads of departments (above). She chatted away, saying, “I am on to another Taj from here (Taj Palace, Delhi).” She was in a “bright and cheerful mood and very interactive”, said the hotel’s spokesperson.

SHOP STOP:

Special crockery was reserved for Clinton

On Sunday afternoon, Hillary browsed through the handicraft stalls at ICCR. Back in the hotel by evening, she checked out Taj Khazana and was “delighted” with some of the handicrafts. She also dropped by an art and crafts exhibition, initiated by the US consulate in Calcutta, at the Oriental Room and Mandarin Hall. There she picked up a Tagore in Kantha piece from kantha revivalist Shamlu Dudeja’s stall (above), for Mamata Banerjee, and some scarves from Byloom. “She was impressed that our rural women could do such exquisite embroidery,” said Shamlu. And yes, Hillary even insisted on the ‘bill’!

ROYAL STAY:

Hillary stayed in the 2,000sq ft Presidential Suite. Done up in subtle shades of beige, cream and white, the same suite has in the recent past been “home away from home” to Shah Rukh Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan, Amartya Sen, Lindsay Lohan and Jeffrey Archer. The luxe lair has a drawing room, dining room, bedroom and pantry.