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   Several friends have been advising me... (July 2, 1990)

Several friends have been advising me what to wear when I go to Delhi to receive the Padma Shri from the President of India.

Jahangir Sabbavalla, the distinguished artist and a past receipient of the Padma Bhushan, told me: “Bevery careful about how you are dressed. They are more particular than at Willington Club.”

Mario Miranda, another distinguished artist, who received the Padma Shri two years ago, told me: “Get a Raymond suit. You can wear it at the Rashtrapati Bhavan ceremony and afterwards use it for cocktail parties at the Oberoi Hotel, where they specify, dress: lounge or national.

Nira Benegal, wife of film-maker Shyam Benegal, another gentleman honoured, said: “Oh, it’s a lovely ceremony, lovely, lovely. But you will have to be appropriatel dressed. Shyam wore a Russian astakhan and dark trousers.”

A secretary to the government of Maharastra, who shall remain unnamed and anonymous, especially in the present circumstances when so many secretaries are being transferred for the most trivial of indiscretions, told me: “It is up to you. You will have to decide on whether you want to dress like V.P. Singh or Rajiv Gandhi, depending on whether you are looking for short-term gains or long-term gains.”

R. K. Laxman, who is normally introduced to strangers as - who does not know R.K. Laxman, and who has also been rightly and justly and deservedly honoured by the President, warnded me: “Not only you but your wife will also have to be properly dressed. Her sari’s border should not be more than two inches.”

Kamal Mulla, whose husband has not received any honour yet, said: “I don’t know if Homi’s old Churidars will fit you. But if they do, you are welcome. He has given up wearing them.”

I.V. Mahhubani, the well-known letter-writer, who has always been encouraging and admiring, said: “Mr. Busybee, it does not matter what you wear, we are honoured. But try and not wear what you wear every day.”

Muzzafar Ali, the art film maker, said: “The ideal dress for such an occasion is a Lucknowi Sherwani, white Churidars and a red rose in the button-hole. The shoes should be mojdis. If you wear anything else, you will feel very out of place.

Kuldip Nayar, the newspaperman, said: “Whatever you wear, don’t go there dressed like Nihkil Chakravarty. Otherwise, even if you are accepting the award, they will not give it to you.”

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