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A sketch by Harish Chander.

THIS LEAVES you in no doubt that it is to flatter the man. Or, rather the family now. But then, it is also about conviction. That here is a set of people he chooses to hold in high esteem without any doubt in the mind. An attempt to admire `the other side' of them. The human side.

Arranged in the form of a photo album, comes Noida-based Harish Chander with a set of self-made sketches, each clubbed with an anecdote about the Gandhi family. Or precisely, Rajiv Gandhi's family.

Chander, Editor of a community newspaper Noida News, says, all the small tales he had noted down on his `album book' along side 39 of the total sketches, are gathered from the personal security officers guarding 10 Janpath, the family drivers, journalists, and Congress leaders like Arjun Singh, Kamal Nath, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Jagdish Tytler, Suresh Pachauri, Suresh Kalmadi, Giridhar Gomango and even former president K.R. Narayanan. And, he has given due acknowledgement to them in his roll-out.

Interesting tales

Though some look like the routine tales, a few of them are interesting reading though. Particularly, the one about how Priyanka Gandhi was so moved by a fingerless leper on a road crossing approaching her for alms that she gave away one of her gold earrings. Driver Joshi related to Chander how he jumped the next red-light seeing her removing the second earring.

Once on a visit to Lakshadweep, Rajiv Gandhi noticed a whale trapped in a lagoon. He immediately jumped into the sea and called for men and ropes to push the whale back to the sea. An anecdote by Ghulam Nabi Azad relates how Sanjay Gandhi had flown him in his Cessna plane to Srinagar for his wedding. Though the airport authorities warned Sanjay not to fly back to Delhi due to bad weather, he defied all rules and brought Azad and his bride back to the city. The plane, a day later, crashed on its way to Jaipur. On knowing it, Rajiv gave a piece of his mind to Azad at his wedding reception with guests around for allowing Sanjay to fly the plane the day before. The `album-book' of Chander, who has also written a book on Rajiv some time back, is his second tribute to the man. "I want to show it to Sonia Gandhi one day," is his next plan of action.

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